Question mark made of puzzle piecesThis blog entry provides some tips for using multiple instances of the Themes and Include Terms filters to perform more complex queries.

Layering Themes Filters

NetBase allows you to specify up to three instances of a Themes filter in an analysis. For this example, suppose we want to analyze a topic on Starbucks based on the following three themes:

  • A geolocation-based theme containing an Include Geos filter set to California.
  • A keyword-based theme containing an Include Terms filter set to “latte.”
  • An audience-based theme containing over 4,000 authors who have Tweeted the phrase “I love Starbucks.” See Using Audience Fingerprints for information on this recently released feature for analyzing an audience by exporting authors to a theme.

Let’s first look at what happens if you run an analysis with all three themes in the same Themes filter:


NetBase analyzes sound bites that match any one of the specified themes and returns mentions:

  • Whose author is located in California
  • OR that contain the term “latte”
  • OR whose author was captured in the audience-based-theme

In this case, the query returns over 200,000 mentions:


Suppose you then separate out each theme value into separate instances of the Themes filter:


NetBase now matches only sound bites that match all of the themes and returns mentions

  • Whose author is located in California
  • AND that contain the term “latte”
  • AND whose author was captured in our Starbucks Lovers audience-based-theme

In this case, the query returns a single sound bite.

Using this technique, you can build more complex queries containing a maximum of three Themes filters, each of which can specify a maximum of 60 themes. Remember that within a Themes filter, NetBase processes values using an OR relationship and across Themes filters, NetBase uses an AND relationship. The example below retrieves sound bites authored by a user in our Starbucks Lovers audience AND who is based in California OR Florida or Texas AND who mentions “latte” OR “mocha” or “Frappuccino.”


Layering Include Terms Filters

You typically use the Exclude Terms filter to omit irrelevant content. But did you know that you can also disambiguate with an Include Terms filter? You can use this technique to:

  • Disambiguate brands that are largely ambiguous except for their #hashtag or @mention variant
  • Disambiguate topics where a product’s name is unambiguous but its brand is ambiguous

For example, you might define the following primary and include terms to disambiguate the HBO series “Girls.”


The primary terms #girlshbo and @girlshbo repeated as include terms help to disambiguate the ambiguous primary term, “girls.” This method excludes mentions of “girls” that do not also contain “@girlshbo” or “@girlshbo.”

Similarly, the following topic definition disambiguates the brand “apple” by excluding all mentions of “apple” that do not also include “iPhone,” “iPad,” “iPod,” or “computers”:


NetBase allows you to add up to two instances of an Include Terms filter in a topic or an analysis—one to disambiguate and one to fine-tune your search. In the example below, the second Include Terms filter focuses in on only mentions containing the term “innovation.” This filter combination has the effect of only retrieving sound bites that:

  • Contain the primary term “Apple,” “iPad,” “iPod,” or “iPhone”
  • AND contain the include term “computers,” “iPad,” “iPhone,” or “iPod”
  • AND contain the include term “innovation”


When layering Include Terms filters to both disambiguate and fine-tune, remember that multiple values within an Include Terms filter indicate an OR relationship; multiple instances of an Include Terms filter indicate an AND relationship.

Want to see it in action yourself? Reach out and we’re happy to schedule a demo!

Image from Horia Varlan

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