By Marketing on July 21st, 2021
Improve Your B2B Programmatic Advertising Using Intent Data
In the first part of our series on account-based marketing in 2021, we looked at five key trends in B2B marketing. One of the key points was that the pandemic accelerated the trend of moving business into the digital realm. A major advantage of moving more of your marketing into the digital realm is data. Data can give you immediate feedback on your marketing efforts and help you drive your strategies into more effective methods. Data can help you maximize the ROI on every dollar you spend online.
So, when it comes to account-based marketing, data matters a lot. One powerful data set that can make your ABM strategy more effective than ever, though, is intent data.
What is Intent Data?
Intent data is information collected from users' online browsing activities that indicates what products and services they are most interested in and likely to purchase. Intent data isn't anything new. B2B marketers were gathering intent data at trade show booths when they noted which customers asked questions about specific products or services. What's exciting for marketers today, though, is the sheer amount of intent data that's available online and the turnkey fashion with which marketers can apply intent data to improve advertising performance.
There are a lot of B2B marketers who are already putting intent data to work. An impressive 70% of B2B technology companies use intent data for prospecting purposes and 52% use it to target high-intent accounts. Even Google is using intent data by using their search algorithm to analyze a searcher's intent to deliver the most relevant results.
Let’s dive deeper into what intent data is and how marketers can obtain these powerful data sets. There are two types of intent-based data sets:
- First-party intent data: this is the intent data you collect from company-owned sources, like your company website or CRM software.
- Third-party intent data: this data comes from external marketing sources, which is often used for account-based marketing and to expand first-party retargeting and remarketing pools.
In the first blog of our series, we showcased the fundamental marketing programs B2B marketers must have in place prior to exploring new tactics and channels. One of the foundational pillars is the collection, segmentation, and effective use of first-party data. The “holy grail” of data sets for modern marketers, first-party data is data that only you own. It can unlock key insights you can harness to optimize your sales and marketing efforts. It’s also the most efficient way to upsell current customers and to convert prospects into paying customers because it allows marketers to re-engage with business decision makers who are already aware of the company’s products and services.
First-party intent data is commonly sourced from the following business assets:
- Behavioral traits, interests, and actions obtained from your owned and operated web properties (i.e., your website or mobile app)
- Intent-based data collected in your CRM system
- Data collected from your email subscription campaigns
- Information collected from your owned and operated social media channels
- Online or offline surveys, forms, and questionnaires
To increase the size and scale of the addressable market, B2B marketers need to leverage third-party intent data to reach net new prospects. Third-party intent data observes a web user’s behavior across a myriad of websites within a specific category (e.g., business websites, technology websites, etc.). These behaviors can indicate what products and services a business professional may be interested in.
Let’s use an example of online browsing and content consumption to clarify how third-party data is collected and how it can be leveraged by B2B marketers to improve campaign performance.
A Director of Human Resources is considering making a change to a new human capital management platform and payroll provider. She starts by conducting research on Google to identify alternative providers. Over a four week period, she visits HR technology websites, payroll provider websites, and she reads reviews from credible blogs. As she browses websites, she signs-up for email newsletters and downloads white papers and case studies after exchanging her contact information. As she browses and downloads relevant content, her behaviors may be categorized by third-party data providers as a business decision maker with a title of ‘Director of Human Resources’ who is in-market to purchase new HR and payroll technology. A B2B marketer who is trying to reach a professional who fits this persona may be interested in purchasing this intent-based data from a third-party provider to activate in a B2B ad campaign.
This information is valuable to marketing and sales leaders because it allows them to effectively target the best prospects and avoid wasting ad dollars on those who are not ready to buy.
Bombora, a leading provider of B2B intent data, generates intent data based on what content business professionals consume online. They then aggregate the data for sales and marketing teams. Businesses can use the third-party intent data to gain direct insights into which organizations are searching for the products and services they have to offer.
What Can B2B Intent Data Do for Your Account-based Marketing?
Intent data cuts out a huge part of the sales funnel process by bringing in the most qualified leads right from the start. When you understand user intent, you can hyper-focus your advertising budget to target the accounts that are showing an increased amount of interest in your product and service categories. Unlocking insights and activating intent data can also help you reach and engage prospects before your competition can.
Intent data optimizes advertising campaigns with messages that resonate with prospects in different stages of the sales funnel. This can dramatically improve your programmatic, paid search, and paid social ad campaigns. It can also be used to optimize your email marketing, content creation, and sales outreach. Intent data reduces wasteful spending on advertising to prospects who aren't interested in what you have to offer or who aren't quite ready to buy.
With intent data, you can create highly personalized and relevant content for prospective customers. Your account-based marketing becomes more targeted and accurate than ever. You can create content to target specific industries and grab attention by addressing specific pain points. By reaching out to customers early in the buying cycle and continuing to remarket to them throughout their buying journey, you'll keep your brand top of mind. That will help ensure your organization will be in consideration when they are ready to make a purchase decision, an achievement that reflects in your revenue and bottom line.
How to Use Intent Data in B2B Programmatic Ad Campaigns
If you want to use intent data moving forward to improve your B2B advertising performance, you have a couple of options. If you have sufficient internal resources, you can follow three basic steps to begin utilizing intent data. First, start by maximizing first-party intent-based data collection through your owned and operated web properties. Next, select a trustworthy B2B third-party data provider that can help you expand your marketing reach by engaging new prospects. Third, once you identify a preferred data partner, make sure that the intent-based data segments can be activated in your programmatic, paid search, and paid social media buying platforms. Once the data is distributed to your preferred media buying platforms, it comes down to your internal team to launch campaigns, analyze data, and to consistently optimize your targeting tactics to improve results.
If your organization lacks the resources to manage intent-based data campaigns internally, or if you are new to this concept and just getting started, it may make sense to partner with a specialized team of B2B advertising experts to fully manage all aspects of your campaigns while educating you along the way.
In our next article, we'll look at other programmatic B2B advertising strategies and tactics. This will include utilizing account-based targeting, job title targeting, firmographic data, technographic data, and alternative B2B third-party data sets. If you are interested in putting these powerful techniques to work, come back and read part three of this series to learn how to effectively utilize these tools to upsell current customers, increase lead gen, and acquire new customers.
Don't want to wait for the next article in our series? To learn more about B2B programmatic advertising, schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. We'll help you implement powerful B2B advertising strategies using account-based targeting, intent data, and so much more.
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