Every year we test the query writing skills of social intelligence professionals globally in the Social Listening Query Writing Competition.

See the 2024 winners or register for future competitions.

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Why do we care about query writing?

Query writing is one of the most important skills a social listening professional can have. It sets the quality and relevancy of the project and can greatly affect its outcome. Currently though, there is little education or community support beyond each technology platform for those looking to learn this critical skill.

BUT we know there are a lot of talented query writers out there who can share their skills. That’s why we challenge you to enter the social listening query writing competition. 

Show off your boolean prowess and be in with a chance of winning $500.

Competition Rules

The Social Listening Query Writing competition is open to individuals who work as freelancers, and those who work in brands, organisations, and agencies. We do not accept entries from individuals working with or affiliated with technology vendors. During the application process, applicants who do not fit the criteria will be eliminated from the competition.

Everyone meeting the competition criteria will be invited to participate. All entrants will initially be reviewed to ensure they meet the competition terms and conditions. Your place in the competition is not guaranteed until we confirm you meet the competition criteria. All entrants will receive an email on April 29th to confirm their participation.

Entrants will compete in two categories - Brand and Agency. The winner of each category will win $500.

To compete, all individuals must agree to the competition rules and agree to submit a final query and summary of their logic in writing the query for judging.

The competition will run from May 1st to May 26th. Before 23:59 BST on May 26th entrants will be required to submit their query and summary of logic behind how they built the query.

All competitors will be required to write a boolean query on a set brief.

All competitors will be required to write their boolean query using the YouScan platform. Competitors will be given access to YouScan for the duration of the competition and be provided with initial training on how the platform's Boolean logic works.

All competitions agree to writing their query alone. No assistance should be provided from wider team. Competitors can ask for assistance from The SI Lab, Listen + Learn Research, and YouScan teams but we will not write the query for you. This is an individual competition.

All competitors must be free to attend a competition kick-off call on Wednesday 1st May at 16:30 BST / 11:30 EDT. During the call, the competition brief will be shared and participants will be given training on the YouScan platform and how their Boolean Logic works. 

All submitted queries will be judged using a set framework on relevancy vs breadth. Boolean logic will be assessed for relevance using the YouScan platform - if a boolean query does not work it will be eliminated from judging. Entries will also be judged on the logic behind the approach to writing the query. 

Confirmed competition entrants will be invited to join a community forum group for Query Writing. Regular updates and conversations about query writing will be shared in this group. Access to the group will continue after the competition period ends. Continued access is dependent upon complying with the forum rules of conduct. 

By entering the Social Listening Query Writing competition you agree to be contacted by The Social Intelligence Lab and registered to our newsletter. You also agree for your details to be shared with the competition partners to deliver the competition.  

Winning Boolean queries will be published on The Social Intelligence Lab blog.

Winning participants will be required to provide a short interview with The Social Intelligence Lab team for publication on the blog. Winning participants will also be profiled on the query writing microsite, in other articles, across social media, and in a winners webinar series.

All competitors must meet the YouScan terms of service. YouScan ToS 15.4.

Meet the winners

Claire Harter
Director of Strategy & Insights
Carbon Made
Jen O'Driscoll
Senior Data Analyst
Social Element
query screen

What are the judging criteria?

Entries will be judged according to relevancy and breadth.

  • Relevancy rate: the percentage of comments stemming from your query that matches the criteria set out in the research question.
  • Breadth: the total number of comments, calculated as the total number of comments returned from the query over the last month x the relevancy rate.
  • Structure of your query: how well the query has been structured to answer the question set in the brief.
  • Logic behind your structure: you'll be required to submit a written log of why you've approached the query the way you have.

Scores will be awarded for each category.

If more than one competitor achieves the same score a winner from this group will be chosen at random.