3 Intent Data Uses You May Not Know About
May 20, 2022
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that intent data has become the veritable belle of the marketing ball over the last few years. So much so, in fact, that it’s the fastest-growing data category across the B2B market, with 92% of companies reporting using intent data in some way.
Why is intent data so hot right now? It’s not like we haven’t seen new strategies and tools to enhance lead generation, speed the sales cycle, and increase overall conversion before.
For one thing, it’s pretty darn effective: 17% of B2B sales and marketing professionals report improving their lead conversion rate by 30% by using intent data. It’s also efficient: 57% say they can convert leads two times faster when those leads are acquired from intent data.
It’s not all wine and roses, though. 55% of sales and marketing teams can’t seem to agree on what even constitutes intent data!
But that’s a topic for another post. Suffice it to say, when used correctly, intent data enables you to uplevel your sales and marketing efforts by improving the timing, accuracy, and delivery of the messages you send to your prospects, allowing you to generate leads from targeted, in-market buyers.
What is Intent Data?
Simply put, intent data shows the probable intentions of buyers based on their past and current online behavior. Another way to think about it: When prospective customers actively search for your products and services, it signals intent.
Of course, not everyone who shows a bit of interest is ready to buy something at that exact moment. But when used properly, intent data can identify potential buyers—hopefully beating your competitors to it!
To get even further into the intent data weeds, the type of buyer behavior data pulled into an intent profile includes the following:
- IP address
- Browser information (language, operating system, browser type, etc.)
- Unique cookie IDs
- Referring page URLs
- Search terms
- Audience engagement insights, including:
- pages per visit
- scroll depth
- scroll velocity
- average session duration
You can use the unique data your company owns (first party), data you purchase from other aggregators of this kind of information (third party), or an amalgam of the two. As with any kind of data, quality is key: garbage in/garbage out is still a fundamental tenet when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and making decisions based on data.
Other Ways to Use Intent Data
It’s easy to see why B2B companies like working with intent data. It helps sales teams better qualify leads, for one. It also makes it easier for sales to convert leads, and it allows reps to focus on high-value, high-priority prospects. For marketers, intent data can give your business a competitive edge in customer retention, allowing you to study prospects evolving preferences.
Beyond powering your marketing funnel and accelerating your sales pipeline, however, what are some uses for intent data you may not know about?
1. Personalized Website Experiences
Modern website content management systems can use IP addresses and browser data to customize content (such as adjusting language preferences for location). IP data can also be used to support customization based on firmographic data (company, industry, size, etc.).
Beyond that, cookie-based tracking can support personalization down to the individual level. The more you know about a visitor, the more you can tailor their experience on your website to align with what your own research tells you is important to that persona.
First-party and the right kind of third-party intent data will allow you to personalize at a more granular level. With the ability to analyze your target audience’s external research activity alongside your own customers’ typical journey, B2B marketers can serve up the right messages and content to use at different funnel stages with specific audience segments, thereby organizing and influencing different paths to convert website visitors into buyers.
2. Fine-Tune Your Content Strategy
There are plenty of search engine optimization tools to help you find the keywords and trending topics you should be using to improve your organic search results. But intent data can provide you with an additional, richer layer of insight to inform your content marketing strategy.
If you know what content your potential customers are engaging with at each stage of their buyer’s journey on a regular basis, you can anticipate their content needs. With intent data, you can analyze what personas at different job functions and levels are interested in, searching for, and engaging with.
You’ll not only gain perspective on your ideal customers (in any number of vertical industries), but you’ll also get regular insight into their evolving challenges and pain points, and the solutions they’re seeking . This insight can help you develop impactful thought leadership content that truly speaks to your target audience.
3. Ad Retargeting
Retargeting primarily uses paid ads to target audiences who have visited your website or social media profiles. This allows you to reconnect with people who might be interested in your brand but haven’t taken any concrete steps to indicate their intent. Given the marketing rule of seven – which states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place – retargeting is a good strategy to keep potential customers moving down your sales funnel.
But intent data can be used to remarket to people who have never even visited your website or engaged with your content on any platform. You can use third-party data for ad retargeting to prospects who have taken some kind of online action indicating they’re researching and interested in buying your company’s products and services, for example by visiting a competitor’s website.
Leveraging intent data this way can help you identify the specific needs your customers may be looking to solve via competitive solutions and use that insight to engage with your clients and intercept churn.
From there, you can use retargeting to show your customers all that your company has to offer, potentially moving beyond your relationship with them as merely a vendor, on the road to becoming a valued and trusted partner.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that aspirational: You can also use ad retargeting to showcase your top-selling products, to promote new products or services, or even as part of a brand awareness campaign.
How to Choose an Intent Data Partner
To make intent marketing work, businesses need to get their information from qualified sources.
Optimizing intent data for marketing isn’t easy. In addition to building systems that process multiple first-, second-, or third-party data sources and ensure data quality from each provenance, businesses also need to develop strategies for timely and impactful use of that data in any type of customer outreach.
These obstacles are just the beginning. The complete list of intent data challenges can be found in our latest Benchmark Report. And if you’re looking for a turnkey solution for your B2B data needs, contact us today.