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TRAC 101: From Search Set Up to Analysis and Reporting
TRAC 101: From Search Set Up to Analysis and Reporting

This guide will give you a walk through of how to navigate TRAC and its features to help you get started using the platform.

Ashvin Jalabhay avatar
Written by Ashvin Jalabhay
Updated over a week ago

TRAC is our social listening tool, it allows you to define, capture and analyse online conversations and audiences from 29 different data sources, with over 50 different real-time and interactive data visualisations. The tool can detect 22 languages, supports over 150 locations, and applies a selection of advanced intelligence analysis to your datasets to help you discover meaningful insights in your data.

We've broken down this walkthrough into 5 key stages for approaching TRAC:

  1. Creating your search πŸ“

  2. Loading in your data πŸ“‘

  3. Reviewing your data πŸ”Ž

  4. Reporting πŸ›«

  5. Managing your search βš™οΈ

Use the contents links on the right hand side of this article to navigate your way through. It will tell you everything you need to know to confidently navigate the platform and teach your self how to use Pulsar TRAC.

Lets Go GIFs |

Creating your Search πŸ“

All Searches Landing Page

The "All Searches" page is now the landing page for TRAC. This will act as a central hub, offering an easier way to visualise and organise your searches. You can see at a glance who created a search, when and which data sources are included. You can organise your list of searches alphabetically, by creation date or even velocity (how quickly the search has grown in the last hour).

For more information on the new All Searches landing page, please click the below:

Search setup

To get started using Pulsar TRAC, you will need to create a search.

A search is created by clicking the green "New Search" button on the All Searches page.

You can also create a new search if you are already in an existing search by clicking on the New Search button in the bottom left corner:

🚨 Important: Searches can only be created by users with Admin or Super admin permissions, so if you do not see this icon, you do not have these permissions.

Types of Searches

Pulsar TRAC gives you the option to create a Topic search, Panel search, or Content search.

  • Topic Search: Allows you to track a set of keywords, hashtags, and phrases.

  • Panel search: Enables you to monitor authors or communities of users to understand their conversations on various social channels like X, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit.

  • Content search: Allows you to track URLs to see how many times a particular piece of content has been shared across data sources and what people are saying about it.

Once you've selected your search type you will be need to type in a search title and then select the data sources you wish to capture results from.

Then you'll need to select from our two methods of entering your keywords.


Boolean is a simple language of ORs, ANDs, AND NOTs and other operators to control what results you'd like the platform to capture. It is best used when your search is more complex and requires many combinations of keywords.

Here's an example of simple boolean, whereby we are trying to find content that mentions of certain types of fruit juice:

(apple OR orange OR mango OR cranberry) AND juice

Here's what it would look like in the platform:

The following links give more information on how to use Boolean, our operators and examples of how they work:


Though the wizard method follows the exact same principles of boolean, it is designed to provide a simpler way to input your keywords and combinations of keywords into the platform. For example, rather than typing AND you should use a comma instead and press enter after each combination.

Here's an example of typing in keywords using the wizard, whereby we are trying to find content that mentions of certain types of fruit juice:

apple, juice

orange, juice

mango, juice

cranberry, juice

Here's what it would look like in the platform:

While Topic and Content searches can be created using the Boolean or Wizard, Panel searches must be created using the Wizard.

For a detailed walkthrough of setting up a search, click into these:

Loading in your Data πŸ“‘

Data Sources

Once you've created your search, you'll need to load in your data. Selecting real-time data collection and/or ordering in historical data too.

Different data sources have different historical data capabilities and some don't provide historical data at all, such as Instagram and Search data. To see our full breakdown of data sources and what is possible, click below.

Real-Time Data

Real-time data is results that are collected as they are posted online from the moment you click the green 'start' button until the search is stopped either manually or as scheduled by the user. Results are collected at regular intervals throughout the day, though the time frame of these intervals varies depending on the data source. For example, real-time X data arrives into TRAC every 60-90 seconds.

Historical Data

Historical data means ordering in data from a previous time period. Pulsar automatically generates a preview for the data sources selected showing an estimate of how much historical data will be pulled in the time frame specified.

The time period for which data can be collected varies depending on the data source.

See the following page for details on the maximum length of period you can collect historical data for each data source:

🚨 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.

First-Party Data

Using First-Party Data as a data source allows you to upload your own business data to Pulsar TRAC. A search can contain a combination of First-Party Data and other data sources. You will be able to analyse this data as you would with any other data source. In order to add First-Party Data, you must upload a CSV file and map the data to our platform-specific fields.

See the following pages for more details on First-Party Data including instructions on how to upload your data:

Reviewing your Data πŸ”Ž

Metrics + Data Analysis

The data in your search is analysed in many different ways to help you uncover meaningful insights. The first thing to understand is the key performance metrics you'll see in the platform which help to measure your results. Here is a run down:

Volume: Number of posts, results, or pieces of content that your search has gathered.

Further details about the Volume metric can be found here:

Engagements: A reaction to a post, a share, or a comment. This varies depending on the social channel. There are two types of engagement data that we receive from various social channels:

  • Actual piece of content (retweets, comments, etc.)

  • A count or number (comment counts, like counts, share counts, etc.)

For more information on Engagements see the following page:

Social Impressions: Number of times a post has been displayed in a timeline, regardless of whether the post is clicked on or not. TRAC measures two types of impressions:

  • Potential Estimated Impressions (PEI): The potential amount of times a post has appeared in a timeline. This gives you an indication of how large the potential audience may be.

  • Actual Estimated Impressions (AEI): Uses channel-specific benchmarks and is calculated as a percentage of PEI. This attempts to predict the actual times a piece of content was delivered to a timeline. This percentage is dependent on the average impressions each channel generates.

For details on the Impressions metrics, see the following page:

Visibility: A score assigned to each post designed to measure the impact of a piece of content. The Visibility score is calculated by taking into account the following

  • Type of media and the quality and richness of the content posted

  • Channel the post is published on

  • Size of the audience of the author

  • Engagement generated by the post

See the following page for more details on Visibility and how it is calculated:

Media Reach: Media Reach is an important metric that helps to measure the size of the potential audience of a piece of content. We call this Potential Media Reach. On Pulsar, this metric applies to media monitoring data sources like Online News, Print and Broadcast content, and is used to provide an estimate of the number of people who have read or viewed a piece of media. In a similar fashion to how Social Impressions on social media help measure the effectiveness of an Ad Campaign, measuring your Media Reach provides great insight into your PR Performance.

See the following page for more details on Media Reach here:

Velocity: Velocity is the speed at which conversations happen around a specific topic. It looks at the rate at which data has been collected in your search, per hour, giving you an additional lens to understand the scale of the conversation, not only in its totality, but spread over a period of time. The metric is accompanied with a previous time period comparison, so you can understand if velocity is trending upwards or downwards, which can be either a good thing, or a bad thing.

See the following page for more details on Velocity here:

Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE): AVE stands for Advertising Value Equivalency and is used to reveal the monetary value of unpaid content. Through a variety of metrics and calculations, AVE estimates the cost it would have been to advertise a particular article, piece of content, or interview, had it been paid for. These metrics and calculations take into account the size and reach of an article as well as the prominence of the publication. Understanding AVE is essential in obtaining a valuable evaluation of the effectiveness of public relations outreach and media relations programmes.

See the following page for more details on AVE here:

Social Shares: Social shares are the number of times that a news or blog article has been shared on social platforms. This metric can help you measure the popularity of content and allows you to have a better sense of how media coverage around a specific topic is being received and shared on social media. On Pulsar Social Shares is a metric we get from Facebook, so it represents the number of times a URL has been shared or liked on Facebook. We also factor in this metric when calculating Media Reach and Visibility, as it's a strong indicator of how many people have read and been impacted by a piece of content.

See the following page for more details on Social Shares here:

Advanced Data Analysis Modules: Pulsar TRAC analyses your data in many different ways, applying language and location detection, sentiment, keywords and topic analysis, as well as more advanced AI analysis such as emotions, entities, credibility, demographics etc. Find out more on our incredible analysis here:

Navigating TRAC - Overview


The snapshot is the first tab you will land on once your data is loaded in and you are ready to start analysing your results. The snapshot is a selection of visuals and analysis all found in one scrollable page to provide an overview of your results.

Don't forget you can change the time frame you are focused on (defaults to last 30 days) and apply a filter if you'd like the snapshot to be focused on a particular element of your search results.


Narratives is data analysis approach that acknowledges that conversations and views about a specific topic are not homogenous, and that different people in that same conversation will almost always discuss the same topic differently. This teaches us to think about these conversations in terms of clearly defined clusters of conversations i.e. narratives!

Narrative analysis leverages our existing conversation clustering, popularly known on TRAC as segments. Firstly, we analyse the dataset to extract the top 5 themes that are dominant in the search, as shown below, providing you with a succinct summary of the entire conversation, at any given time.

For more information on narratives and how it can be utilised to analyse your data set, click here:

Audience Insights

The Audience Insights section helps you to understand more about the audience having the conversation. Dig deeper into the demographics, communities, influencers and audience networks behind your results below.


The demographics tab, shown above, provides valuable insights into the audience behind the online conversation that you are analysing. We break this down into the active audience summary, locations and languages used, as well as providing insights via biographic data, which is how the audience describe themselves in their profile bios. We break biographic data down by most used bio keywords, emojis, gender or location.

To find out more about the demographics section, please click the button below:


Communities are different groups within your audience that discuss the same topic but in their own unique ways. By segmenting your audience based on these communities, you can better understand and cater to the different interest profiles (e.g. football mums, tech journalists) of the people engaging with your content. The Audiense integration can be done here to further segment your audiences.

To find out more about the communities section, please click the button below:


The influencers section shows you which authors have the most influence in your search. This allows you to better understand more about the creators and publications who are driving the online conversation you're analysing. It's important to note that 'influence' can be defined in multiple ways; this is why we've given you the option to switch between different metrics when measuring influence within the realms of an online conversation.

To find out more about the influencers section, please click the button below:


The network tab within TRAC contains our "influencer network graph". This is a powerful visual that allows you to map the way people engage with each other across any data source that has an engagement relationship between two or multiple authors.

To find out more about the network tab, please click the button below:

Content Insights

The Content Insights section digs deeper in your results to better understand the content, keywords, topics, hashtags, topics, entities, search data, location and sites. Within each tab, there are a few types of graphs to enable you to visualise your data in a way that best fits your needs!


The timeline tab shows you the volume of conversation over time as well as how the content in your search has performed over time in terms of other metrics like impressions, media reach, visibility or AVE. If you keep scrolling down in this tab, you can see the sentiment and emotion analysis of the posts, top data sources over time (where the conversation is happening) and any misinformation analysis of news content over time.

For more details on the timeline section and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


Content provides you with a visual representation of the top content within your search, which can be sorted based on several different metrics. This visual is useful for monitoring online presence and gaining insights into the performance of your social media content. By analysing the top-performing content based on different metrics - Engagements, Media Reach, Likes, Visibility, AVE - you can better understand and mould your social media strategy to better engage with your audience and increase your online visibility.

For more details on the content and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


Hashtags are much like Keywords, but add a more structured aspect to the organic and unstructured conversations we engage in on social media. The Hashtags page allows you to identify patterns in the data and posts related to a specific theme. Being able to visualise hashtags separately from keywords is helpful given that hashtags are often more succinct. This provides you with another lens to understand conversation, sentiment, and emotion.

This section breaks down the data into easy to read visuals, such as treemaps, segments, word streams, word clouds and bundles.

For more details on the hashtags page and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


The Keywords section lists the most commonly occurring words in your results. You'll be able to easily see which of these keywords are used more often than others, as well as what data source these words come from, the sentiment behind these words, and much more. There are a few types of graphs you can toggle through to visualise your data in a way that best fits your needs!

For more details on the keywords page and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


Topics provide a more in-depth look into the conversations around your search. Unlike Keywords, which analyse single words only, Topics takes things a step further by analysing how these commonly used words relate to each other and providing a visual of these reoccurring phrases and themes.

The Topics is grouped into the following visuals: Treemap, word clouds, segments, word stream and bundle.

For more details on the Topics page and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


The Entities tab identifies and classifies named entities referenced in tweets, posts on Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, news articles, and even broadcast or podcast transcripts. Entity classification also addresses disambiguation, so helps distinguish entities with similar names.

For more details on the entities page and the many ways you can use this to visualise your data, please see the following page:


The first visualisation here you'll likely encounter is the "Search Questions" diagram. This visualisation provides insight on the most commonly asked questions on Google from the keywords that you are tracking.

Underneath the Search Questions diagram, we have the "Search Comparisons", "Search Connections", and "Related Searches' diagrams.

Underneath the Search Questions diagram, we have the "Search Comparisons", "Search Connections", and "Related Searches' diagrams.

To find out more about the search tab, please click into the below article:


The Sites chart displays the top domains where the data for a search is coming from. You can view this from a Volume, Media Reach, Impressions, Visibility, AVE or Credibility viewpoint.

More details on the sites section can be found here:


The Locations tab helps you understand the geographical location of the authors of the posts in your dataset. You can scroll down to the different charts which will show you three different views on this page: Country, City, and Geo- Coordinates. While on the Country or City view, you will be able to see the overall Sentiment of posts from that area.

For more details on how the location for each data source is analysed and other information relating to the Locations dashboards, see the following pages:


You can apply filters at any time to your search to narrow down your results you are viewing. You can find it by clicking on the filter button in the top right-hand corner of the platform.

There lots of different ways you can filter your results. Don't forget that you can select multiple at a time to layer different criteria:

  • Keywords: Allows you to specify a date range or keywords. Only posts that fall within the date range and/or contain the specified keywords will be shown.

    See the following page for more details on the syntax used in the Keywords filter:

  • Target: Gives you the options to filter by post type, media type, sentiment, data source, domains, and/or tags.

  • Demographics: Allows you to filter by gender (male, female, or unknown), bio (if X has been chosen), cities, countries, and/or languages.

  • Authors: Lets you filter for specific single authors or communities of authors. Communities of authors are detected after segmenting an audience from the audience tab.

  • Analysis: allows you to filter through your data via our AI modules from the following: Emotions, credibility, image tags, image text, and entities.

  • Metrics: Used to narrow down results to view all posts in the dataset based on the following key metrics: followers of the user who has posted and/or likes, engagements, visibility, impressions, AVE, credibility, and the duration of each individual post.

    You can save your filters at any time to easily come back to them later. Simply curate your filter criteria and hit 'save filter' in the bottom left corner of the filter box.

  • Saved Filters: Allows you to access all of your saved filters. Saved filters are created in three different ways: Regular filters (ones you've created and saved), custom charts (filters from any custom charts you've built) and Audiense reports (filters created from Communities segmentation).


The Feed section shows all of the results you have in your dataset and allows you to manage the data that is feeding your data visualisations.


By clicking on the results tab you can see every single piece of data captured in your search, and you can sort these results based on published date, visibility, engagements, impressions, or likes.

πŸ’‘ Top Tip: You can filter this view to find specific results.

You'll also have the option to tag posts and override locations, language, or sentiment.

To create/add a tag, click into a post, and then in the right hand corner you'll see the Tags button. Click on this and you can tag the post with one that exists, or create a new one by typing it out in the search bar.

To override location, language, or sentiment, simply click into a post, hover over the three boxes for these and you can edit them to the correct one.

For more info on the Feed tab, click into the article below:

Exporting Results

You have the option to export your data in multiple forms to suit your workflow and give you more flexibility around your reporting.

Download options for visualisations

  • PNG image with a transparent background

  • XLS export (Raw Data)

  • Scalable Vector Graphic Image (SVG) is available for Chrome, IE, or Firefox users.

More details on the export options available can be found here:


The trash tab houses any results you have deleted from your results. Sometimes you may receive results that you do not want to include in your report. In this case, you can simply and quickly delete these posts from the Results page.

Depending on the number of posts you have selected to delete, the Results page may take a few minutes to update and reflect your changes. Visualisations in the dashboard (eg. graphs shown in the Content tab) may also need a few minutes to update.

For more information on deleting posts, including how to recover deleted posts and view a history of deleted results, please see the following page:


The Rejected tab shows you posts which have been rejected automatically by the platform. This would typically be because they are duplicates or do not meet your search set up criteria.

🚨 Important: If a location is unknown and you have a location specified in your search set up, posts will automatically be rejected.

Reporting πŸ›«


Dashboards are used to organise charts into a single customised view, which you can then schedule as automatic reports. To build these out, you can use our pre-made dashboard templates or you can totally customise from scratch to include Pulsar's standard charts or create your own visuals.

Existing Dashboards:

Create Dashboard:

The following page give more information on creating dashboards and automated reporting:

KPI Alerts

KPI Alerts are super useful to keep a pulse on important aspects of the online conversations you are tracking. KPI Alerts are used to notify users when sentiment, visibility or volume increases/decreases in your search based on a rule that you set up. You can access KPI Alerts from the Reports menu, on the left hand navigation bar of your search.

For more information on creating KPI alert, please click on the below article:

Email Digests

An email digest can be useful if you need to keep an eye on the content being captured within the platform, but prefer to receive this in email format. The templated email with provide you with an overview of key metrics and the top 50 results (ranked by your chosen metric) within a specific timeframe.

For more information on creating email digests, please click on the below article:

Managing your Search βš™οΈ

You are able to manage your current search by navigating to the Search Management page using the following icon:

The following tabs can be found in Search Management:

  • Status: You can view how long a search has been running as well as stop or resume collecting data for the search. You will also be able to order or preview historical data here.

  • Summary: Shows a full overview of the search as created in the search setup as well as any changes made by Pulsar users in your team. Allows you to review and edit the search query. Any changes made to the search Summary will only be reflected in real-time, i.e. from the point the changes were made.

  • Tags: In this section, you can create your own taxonomies which can be used to tag and group your results. You can also edit or delete tags within this section.

  • Exports: Shows you the status of all exports made on this search. You will also have the option to download or delete these exports

  • Graphs: If you are making a Gephi export for your Influencers Network graph you can download the export from the Graphs page. You can also delete the Gephi exports from this page.

  • Analysis: Allows you to view the progress of any current ongoing analysis on your data set.

🚨 Important: Please note that these actions will only be available for Super admin users.

For more details on how to edit your search in the summary tab:

We hope you enjoyed reading this article! πŸ“š

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. πŸš€

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