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TRAC Use Case: Brand Tracking
TRAC Use Case: Brand Tracking

Learn how to set up a brand search in TRAC and gather meaningful insights around how your brand is perceived online.

Anna Cieslukowski avatar
Written by Anna Cieslukowski
Updated over a week ago

Brand tracking is one of the most common uses of Pulsar TRAC and these searches are amongst the easiest searches to set up, so long as the brand name is unique! (shout out to Apple, Next and Boots for keeping us on our toes!) Don't worry though, this guide will provide some advice for setting up the best and sharpest brand search within the tool. We'll also throw in some recommendations for data analysis and all of your reporting needs. Enjoy and let's track that brand...

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to set up a brand tracker search in TRAC

  • Understand sentiment and seasonality around a brand

  • Identify the best filters and reports for tracking brands in TRAC

  • Explore the benefits of using custom dashboards for brand tracking

Step 1: What are we searching?

What is a brand search?

A brand search in TRAC allows you to see all conversation surrounding your brand online, whether you’ve been actively tagged in the content or not. Here are some examples of insights you can gain from setting up a brand tracker search in TRAC:

  • Understanding sentiment around your brand as a whole and tracking how it changes over time

  • Understanding specific aspects of your brand mentions, such as products, news stories, campaigns and more

  • Identifying emerging trends and topics related to your brand

  • Segmenting the audience of who talks about your brand online and understanding what resonates with each segment

  • Alerting you on any crisis relating to your brand

You will need to set up a topics search within Pulsar TRAC to start your brand search.

Think carefully about which data sources you'd like to monitor, but keep open minded that your brand may be mentioned on corners of the internet you weren't aware of (which is an insight in itself!), so it may be worth selecting data sources you wouldn't typically.

💡 Top Tip: Pulsar TRAC is capable of capturing data from online new sources and media monitoring too like print news, podcasts, radio and TV. Great to capture all mentions of your brand in one place. Speak to your Account Manager about the licenses you need to include these data sources.

Step 2: Entering Our Keywords

The first thing you’ll want to do when setting up a brand tracker in TRAC is to consider the uniqueness of your brand’s name, as this will affect the volume and cleanliness of data we collect.

Let’s use Nike as an example—the majority of the conversation online using the word Nike is talking about the brand, so we could set up our search to include all iterations of the brand name, including hashtags and @handles like this:

nike OR nike OR #nike OR @nike OR @nikesupport OR @nikeUS OR #justdoit

This approach wouldn’t work for a company like Apple, though, as the word Apple is used in many different contexts. In that case, you would want to add specificity to your brand name using AND statements. So think about your products, associated terms or notable names like this:

(apple OR #apple OR @apple) AND (IOS OR ipad OR “steve jobs” OR iphone OR imac OR airpods)

However, do consider not everyone who posts about their iPad online will be referencing the brand name too, especially if the products are standalone and well known. For example, they might not say “Apple iPad” or an “iPad by Apple”. So think about what is important to you and how best to structure your keywords.

You may also want to consider using an AND NOT operator to keep noisy irrelevant data at bay like this:

((apple OR #apple OR @apple) AND (IOS OR ipad OR “steve jobs” OR iphone OR imac OR airpods)) AND NOT ("apple pie" OR "apple juice" OR "big apple" OR "apple tree" OR "apple crumble" OR "apple flavour")

Step 3: Refine Your Query with Operators

It is important to include the social handles, hashtags and plain text iterations of your brand name, as your customers will not always tag you directly in their posts.

Additionally, consider some of our Boolean operators which can add extra dimensions to your brand search:

  • IN_URL: This will collect Tweets with a link whose url contains the keywords specified. For example 'IN_URL ipad' would capture any tweets that are sharing a link to a website URL that includes a mention of iPad. This will help you to capture indirect mentions of your brand or products. The user doesn't need to mention the brand name or product in the text of their tweet, but it will be found based on the URL share! Smart huh?

  • BY_TWITTER: This will collect all Tweets from a specified X user, regardless of it they meet the other keywords. This is a great way to capture all owned posts within your brand search too. For example 'BY_TWITTER @apple' which bring in any content posted by the @Apple X user into the search results.

Here’s an example of boolean utilising the IN_URL and BY_TWITTER operators:

((apple OR #apple OR @apple) AND (IOS OR ipad OR “steve jobs” OR iphone OR imac OR airpods)) AND NOT ("apple pie" OR "apple juice" OR "big apple" OR "apple tree" OR "apple crumble" OR "apple flavour") OR IN_URL (ipad OR iphone OR immac OR airpods) OR BY_TWITTER @apple

If your brand is very well known, your search could capture a huge number of results, so do consider refining by LOCATION or LANG operators too. More on boolean operators here:

🚨 Important: It's vital to monitor your data usage in order to ensure you are staying within your team's monthly allowance. The following article provides a tutorial on how to manage your Data Usage.

Step 4: Analysing and Extracting Insights

Once your data has loaded in, it's time to analyse and extract insights from the platform.

We often find that measuring and monitoring reputation is central to brand analysis, so dig into our sentiment and emotional analysis and lean on our KPI alerts to let you know if a crisis is brewing. It may also be beneficial to explore the different ways your brand is being talked about, our Narratives feature will aid your understanding of this.

Which charts are most helpful?

Now that your data is pulled into the platform, let's take a look at some of the best visuals to pull insights.

Sentiment + Emotional Analysis

How is your brand perceived online? Keeping an eye on your brand's reputation is key and there are many different visuals within the platform that can make this easy for you to do. Sentiment analyses whether a piece of content is positive, negative or neutral in the language that it uses. You can see sentiment over time, overlaid onto most commonly used keywords/topics/hashtags or you can create a sentiment share of voice chart within dashboards.

You can also delve further by utilising emotional analysis. This goes into detail to analyse the language being used around your brand to uncover if it is showcasing anger, disgust, fear, sadness or joy. This nuance can help you to establish a communication strategy depending on the emotion driving negativity. For example, if fear is spiking, responding with clear information and reassurance is the best tone to take.

Content Insights > Timeline > Sentiment/Emotions Over Time

Content Insights > Keywords > Keywords Sentiment Word Cloud

💡 Top Tip: You can remove terms from your word clouds by using the 'bullet point' icon found in the top right corner of the visual.


The Narratives tab enables you to identify that not everyone is talking about your brand in the same way. It helps you to piece together that different areas of your brand conversation are driven by certain audiences and individuals on specific channels. It also helps you to understand if the narrative was a one off spike or a constant and growing conversation related to your brand. How diverse is your brand conversation? Is there a narrative you weren't aware of?


Find out which users are driving your brand conversation. Is this dominated by your owned brand accounts, consumers or journalists?

Audience Insights > Influencers

💡 Top Tip: We recommend that you use the Visibility metric when filtering for Influencers. It is a well rounded metric for finding people who are impacting the conversation and not just creating a high volume of content.

Search Data

Search data is a great addition to any search, but particularly for a brand search. The chart helps you to identify which questions are most commonly associated to your brand? What information are people trying to find our via Google, that you could create a new campaign or content strategy on?

Content Insights > Search

What type of reporting output is best?

KPI Alerts

Set up alerts for volume changes, specific keywords spikes or sentiment shifts to stay informed of important developments around your brand.

Decide how sensitive you want your alert to be by selecting either a percentage or total number of posts to trigger the alert. If you are keeping a close eye on certain crucial topics for crisis comms management, go sensitive and set by the hour.

Reports > KPI Alerts


The dashboard functionality in Pulsar TRAC allows you to house all of your meaningful reports in one place. In the case of brand tracking, we'd recommend creating dashboards from scratch so that you can totally customise exactly what is included in the report. You may need to create several so that each one can be focused on measuring different elements of your brand. Consider the following:

  • Reputation report, include all of our sentiment and emotional analysis charts as well as creating your own custom charts measuring certain topics you wish to keep a close eye on.

  • Customer Service Report, create custom charts to measure mentions of your website, customer service, delivery, returns etc.

  • Product focused report, hone in on mentions of your specific products. What are people rating and recommending or what feedback are they giving?

  • Competitor comparison report, though your brand search is purely tracking mentions of your own brand, people may be naturally comparing you and mentioning competitors within the conversation. Create a share of voice chart to measure competitor mentions:

To create a custom chart to measure mentions of your competitors within your brand search, you’ll want to click 'Add Chart' in a new or existing dashboard and select Custom Charts.

A screenshot of a chart

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Click on 'Create from Scratch':

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Then, select the pie chart option in the top right corner:

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Then, create segments that reflect each competitor, click on the turquoise filter icon and add the competitor's keywords into the filter and click save:

This will produce a share of voice style pie chart measuring mentions of your competitors within your brand search. You can even get fancy and layer on filters to this SOV graph, finding out things such as which competitor gets the most negative/positive sentiment.

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Use the same steps as above to create any custom charts and don't forget that once your dashboard is complete with all of the charts you need, you can schedule your report to send on a regular cadence. Easy! The steps for setting this up can be found here:

For a reputation focused report, we'd recommend including the following standard charts which all include an element of sentiment or emotional analysis:

Sentiment Over Time

Emotions Over Time

Keyword/Topic Sentiment Word Cloud

Keyword/Topic Emotion Word Cloud

Location Country/City Breakdown

Step 5: Take Action and Explore

Armed with the insights gained from your brand search in TRAC, you can now take actionable steps to reporting back on your brand mentions online. Utilise the data found to inform brand communication, content and campaign strategy, understanding your brand's audience, act on customer feedback and create meaningful reports the whole business can benefit from.,,,

We hope you enjoyed reading this article! 📚

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team via live chat. 🚀

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