Intent Data: What It Is and Why You Need It

Posted March 24, 2022

Intent Data: What It Is and Why You Need It

Posted March 24, 2022

We all need information to get our jobs done. Every obstacle is met with a question: what is the next step, how do we accomplish this, why does this affect the results, as examples.

I think about my own journey in the B2B industry, just beginning 2 years ago. Each obstacle was met research and learning. And how did this learning come about? Through the consumption of information from thought-leaders, industry experts and you guessed it, vendors educating me through their content.

B2B Marketers know we are users, we are in the system and have identified one of the keyways to benefit from the learnings they provide to newcomers like myself. Turning our searching, into actionable data, that has mapped out who I am and if I am ready to journey further down their buyer’s journey. It’s called intent data.

What is intent data?

Intent data is the information users generate as they engage in online activities. As they conduct online research related to your product or service, users may visit web pages, read blog posts, download whitepapers, attend webinars, and/or engage in social media conversations. The more time they invest in engaging, reading, and viewing content around the specific topic, the higher their intent. In general, high intent means they’re more likely to make a purchase (from you or a competitor).

Let’s say someone is looking for a new SEO tool. If they read an article about improving SEO, they give off a relatively weak intent signal. However, if another user registers for a free trial of an SEO tool, that person’s intent would be much stronger. 

Of course, many more people will read articles than start trials. So you’ll have to weigh your options: do you want a small number of leads who show strong intent, or do you want a higher volume of leads who have weaker intent signals.

Why you need intent data

At a certain point, B2B marketers tend to reach a point of diminishing returns with their marketing strategies. Often, this is a result of spreading their investment too thin. They try to reach everyone, hoping that a handful of those people will want what they’re offering. But this also means that a large portion of the audience doesn’t want what they’re selling.

Intent data can solve this problem. By filtering your audience based on intent, you’ll know that everyone you’re talking to has shown some level of interest in your topic.

How to use intent data

Think of intent data as an additional element you can use to filter your audience.

In B2B marketing, we already segment our audiences based on firmographics (company size, revenue, industry, and location) and demographics (job title, level, and function). Intent data is the next step.

You’ll still build your audiences in the way you always have – selecting the firmographic and demographic (and technographic) elements that define your audience. However, after you have that list, you’ll select intent topics the correspond with what you’re marketing. This will make your list far more targeted. 

How to find quality intent data 

When looking at intent data, it is important to be able to evaluate the usefulness of the information. Important factors to look at include:

  • Relevance – How close does the intent data align to a likelihood to purchase? The more relevant, the more valuable the insight.
  • Recency – How old is the data and how frequently is it updated? The newest data is most accurate.
  • Scale – How many data points is the data based on? And how many companies are covered? Scale can be good, but only if the data is also relevant and recent.
  • Stage – What stage in the purchase journey is the intent data signaling? Is that the stage you’re targeting?

Summary

Intent data shows us that each prospect is in a different place in the buying journey. While we would love for every prospect that pops up to be well versed in our product (and ready to buy) that is not always the case. 

Intent data allows us to serve up messages and content based on where the prospect is, not where we want them to be. 

To learn more about building an audience with intent data, read 4 Steps to Building Your Optimal Audience.

Or, if you’re looking for a tool to help you use intent data, we recommend exploring Anteriad Marketing Cloud. It’s what we use at Anteriad/Anteriad to build our audiences, track our campaigns, and measure our results.

Tricia Wiles Ruiz | Creative Content Manager
Anteriad, Powered by Anteriad
truiz@trueinfluence.com