Smart Topic detection: Automatically identify patterns in your collected feedback

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Productboard's smart topic detection leverages machine learning to provide you with a better understanding of common patterns in your collected feedback. This feature helps you categorize feedback for more efficient note exploration so that you don’t have to read the notes one by one in order to extract valuable insights.

Note: You need 1000 notes with English text in your workspace for Smart Topic detection to work. 

In this article:

Relevant to both new and legacy boards

Spaces eligible to use topics

To unlock smart topic detection, your workspace must contain at least 1000 notes in English with some textual feedback.

To gather more feedback in the Productboard workspace, you can:

  1. Import your historical feedback
  2. Set up customer feedback integrations

How are topics detected in notes?

Topics are automatically distilled from the content of notes. Each note can have multiple topics assigned.

Topics are indicated in the note detail, which helps you easily understand what a certain note is about.


Using topics filter for efficient note exploration

In the filter dropdown (filters.svg), you can see a list of all the topics detected in your workspace, sorted by the total number of notes containing that topic.

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Once you select one or more topics to filter, they’re moved to the top of the filter list.

You can combine this topic filter, with other filters to define Insights boards you can easily share or return to later.

Manage and customize topics in your workspace

Topics are automatically generated using machine learning. However, any maker can configure them further. This includes renaming topics, hiding irrelevant topics, or adjusting the keywords associated with each topic.

You can do these actions from a topic detail or management sidebars.

Topic management

To manage your topics:

  1. Navigate to the Data section in your main navigation menu and click on the Topics options.

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  2. See the list of all available topics with their total note count.

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To view the topic management sidebar:

  1. Open a note with a topic.
  2. Click on the Settings-1.svg topic management icon on the right side of the detected topic.
  3. See the list of all available topics with their total note count.

Topic detail sidebar

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To view the Topic detail sidebar view:

  1. Click on a topic name in the note detail or topic management sidebar.
  2. Review the details of the topic.

If you use the Productboard AI add-on, Productboard automatically generates a summary for each detected topic to provide a high-level overview of all associated feedback notes. Summaries can help you with the initial setup and refinement of topics so that your product teams get the most out of them.

Here are some examples of where summaries can assist you:

  • Better understand what the detected topics are about and decide whether the topic is relevant to your product domain, you should create an insights automation or an insights board.
  • Help you decide if you should customize the topic (see below).
  • Help you decide whether you should hide it from the workspace (see below).

Customize topics

Customize the keywords associated with each topic to ensure they reflect the language used by colleagues and customers when discussing it. This will help improve Productboard’s ability to effectively auto-categorize relevant notes.


To customize a topic:

  1. Click Customize
  2. Add or remove keywords
  3. Click Save


In this example, Roadmaps is used as a primary keyword and must be present in all notes linked to the topic. Share, Permissions, and Sharing are used as secondary keywords and serve to narrow the topic further.

There is AND logic between primary and secondary keywords, meaning that if you include one primary and one secondary keyword, both must be present in the note to match the topic. If you include more primary or secondary keywords, there is OR logic, and at least one keyword from each group must be present in the note. In other words, the more secondary keywords you add, the more notes will potentially match the topic definition.

Renaming a topic

To rename a topic:

  • Open the topic detail view.
  • Click on the topic name and type your new name.

Renaming a topic does not impact how notes are categorized — only keywords affect that.

Hiding topics

If there is a topic that you don’t want to see in your workspace, you can hide it. The topic will be removed from filters, note detail, trending topics widget, and insights automation. You can still find the topic in the topic management sidebar.

Explore emerging and trending topics

In insights trends, the trending topics widget gives you a unique opportunity to quickly learn what topics are the most common for any subset of feedback, such as feedback related to a certain segment, company, or product.


To review trending topics:

  1. Filter notes you want to explore
  2. Go to Trends
  3. See results in the trending topics widget

Topics are sorted by the note count which represents the number of related notes within the filtered subset. Trends calculate the percentage change, which quantifies the change from one timeframe to another and expresses the change as an increase or decrease, i.e. (𝑉2−𝑉1)/|𝑉1|×100. 
For more information about insights trends, see the article Identify trends in collected feedback

Define automation rules with topics

Do your identified topics correspond with your product domains or initiatives you work on? You can use topics to define insights automation rules to auto-assign and auto-tag notes. This will help you automatically route the feedback to the right PMs and reduce the manual triaging steps.


To create an automation rule with a topic:

  1. In Productboard, you'll need admin rights for your workspace.
  2. Click the workspace name in the top left corner and click Insights automation.
  3. Click on the New rule button.
  4. In the IF statement, select Topic as a condition, choose ANY/NONE logic, and pick the topics you want to use.
  5. Once ready, click the Create automation button to save and activate the rule.

For more information about Insights automation, see the article Use Insights Automation to create rules to route and categorize notes efficiently.

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