- Zignal University
- The plethora of metrics
- Live media tracking
- Train your team before extensive use
- Despite ease of use, UI is disjointed
- Media reporting tends to overlook smaller outlets
Zignal Labs was created as a marketing and public relations intelligence tool that intends to augment analysis with data. Zignal has been developed into a fully-stacked platform for C-level executives in several fields. Advocacy organizations, political campaigns, and elected officials, in particular, can utilize the Zignal Labs platform for media tracking and any social media listening efforts. The only catch? It can be challenging to figure out.
Paul Ryan uses it
Is that a selling point? It could be; however, the truth is that some of the most recognizable brands use Zignal Labs–and individuals–in the United States (i.e., Uber, Airbnb, and, you guessed it, the Speaker of the House). Though name dropping isn’t the most reliable way to sell a product, Zignal has built themselves as an aggressive player in the space.
Users of the Zignal Labs platform can program the interface to report on media clips from most news organizations via its ‘newsroom’ feature while establishing a granular look into your brand’s circulation on social media outlets. Metrics, once programmed, can track total mentions, impressions, influencers, competitor mentions, and keyword mentions across multiple social media channels. Additionally, overall sentiment for your brand’s social presence is tracked and scored in several real-time visualizations. The data behind these metrics can also help with issue tracking, political affiliation tracking, voter micro-targeting, direct messaging, and audience demographic and geographic identification.
All trending keywords are populated into a real-time word cloud that continually updates every few seconds. This feature can prove useful for media tracking and social listening efforts while also giving your team’s keyword researchers new leads constantly.
Don’t use for small-scale efforts
Data is essential for any campaign–regardless of size, political ideology, and location. That’s why we caution you to reconsider using a platform like Zignal for a local or small-scale effort. With smart integrations and media partnerships with companies like LexisNexis, the Financial Times, and Critical Mention, you’d expect to get a rundown of every single mention of your candidate or cause in your newsroom dashboard. Well, the truth to this, sadly, isn’t pretty.
It’s certainly true that national and statewide campaigns and larger-scale media dives can merit results; however, local news outlets–like the community newspaper writing an endorsement editorial for a rural county sheriff in Kansas, for example–fail to get picked up in newsroom listing and crawls. At this point, smaller campaigns could benefit more with the media clips produced by Google Alerts.
The data API
Zignal Labs provides its users with the Zignal Data API. Developers can utilize the companies closed API to get the full power of their data via sources from the company’s enterprise platform. This API, once deployed, provides access to thousands of records, including data, metadata, and analytics sourced from digital and social media, historics, news clippings, broadcast outlets, and other repositories.
As with any new tool, a knowledge gap can exist in the worst ways. Spending large chunks of your budget on an expensive platform (more below) just to find out that your team doesn’t know how to use it, or they’re overwhelmed, deteriorates the impending benefits of it.
One of the commonly held sentiments among users is that the platform is daunting to use for the first time and requires extra training. Luckily, the company recognized this and developed Zignal University. This service is a user-focus series of training modules and tutorials that educate new users on a foreign platform like Zignal Labs.
The UI is so-so
Ease of use is one of the many “pro-points” when users describe their experiences with the Zignal Labs platform’s user interface. Clearly, it’s clean and crisp with a well-put-together dashboard configuration that reduces navigation times and confusion. However, even the “cleanest” dashboards can’t guarantee a successful user experience.
First and foremost, the word that could be best used to describe Zignal UX is “disjointed.” While the navigation of the platform can be accomplished with ease, knowing where to start can become a chore. This is especially the case for the new user; however, the real element of disjointedness the UX possesses transpires in the lack of seamlessness and intuitiveness in switching between panels and tools. Plus, the existing toolbars and webpage projection don’t account for mobile phone navigation with no accommodation to responsiveness and thumb-tapping.
What concerns us most is the lack of pricing transparency. The passive platform shopper can’t access necessary rates or pricing models unless they inquire to the company and complete a platform demo. Indeed, this isn’t the worst idea in the world. Informed buyers are better for business on Zignal’s part; however, no publicly-visible pricing information still could prove problematic and could negatively impact a purchasing decision.
Zignal Labs is a tool that can augment your media tracking and social listening efforts. From its technology integrations with top publishers and public relations platforms to the granular views of data produced through real-time visualizations, the platform is a tool that can go a long way when paired with other services. If you choose to proceed with a sales contract with Zignal, be sure to run the platform with a social media management tool, like Sprout Social, and any other data management and analytics (maybe Google Analytics?) platforms to get a full understanding of your digital presence and its impact.
This platform, however, should be a hard pass for any campaign or organization that operates on a smaller scale, compared to other campaigns and efforts using the tool. Statewide and national campaigns, including elected officials with significant constituencies and a massive digital following, could benefit. Zignal, though, often overlooks coverage for smaller media outlets and could be a costly tool to deploy in any organization tight on funds.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.