CEO, Zignal Labs
Political number cruncher
Industry: Data services
Key previous position: Romney field director
Notable fact: Veteran of three presidential campaigns
The old New Yorker cartoon says that on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Perhaps that may still be true.
But thanks to Josh Ginsberg, there are few insights that can’t be gleaned from the increasingly noisy online world.
Through AI analytics, his company, Zignal Labs, is able to present clients with a real-time picture of how their brand—whether it’s a political campaign or a Fortune 1000 company—is performing and interacting in the digital space. Processing billions of social-media posts, traditional media stories, and other forms of media that bubble up online, Zignal Labs products help identify how a narrative transforms and grows.
Ginsberg is a veteran of politics, including the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, and it was on the trail where the idea for Zignal Labs was born. While working in the media war room of one campaign, where young staffers were mostly glued to their Google Alerts and TweetDecks, Ginsberg realized that there had to be a better way to monitor the impressions the campaign was making. Even with several aides tasked to collect press hits and mentions, the process was inefficient and ineffective at precisely detailing which way public opinion was blowing. Ginsberg saw that the modern campaign needed up-to-the-second data to inform decisions.
Since it launched in 2011, Zignal Labs has grown beyond politics to be adopted by businesses large and small. Its platform has even helped one nonprofit to fine-tune public-health messaging to young adults about the opioid crisis.
Key to its success, Ginsberg said, is the ability to analyze the veracity of the online conversation. With several high-profile examples of misinformation campaigns over the past few years, especially in the political realm, there is a growing need to understand how messaging is being driven, whether through coordinated campaigns by humans or automation like bots.
“Anybody can be an influencer, and anybody can amplify a story. And how those things take hold is vital to understand,” Ginsberg said. “Trust comes at a premium nowadays.”