Tell me all about b2b intent data in less than 5 minutes

Posted on: August 5, 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Category: B2B data


Tell me all about B2B intent data in less than 5 minutes

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5 minutes!

As the clocks ticking, I won’t stand on ceremony.

Let’s do this!

First- and third-party data

To some extent we have always had B2B intent data. It’s those actions and milestones that you use to qualify a lead.

But, until fairly recently, we only had access to first-party intent data. This is insight gleaned from customer behaviour on our own website and apps.

And that is far from a complete picture.

  • The decision-making process that forms a buyer’s journey kicks-off well before they ever land on your website.

  • And you really need to know what’s going on in between those visits to your site once you have identified a potential buyer.

For this you are going to need third-party intent data.

1 minute gone


Third-party intent data is often torturously defined along the lines of:

Data generated by business users’ online content-consumption activities, that is aggregated and modelled to provide insight into which organisations are in-market and to what extent.

As we are not blessed chronologically right now let’s just say:

Intent data provides a bird’s eye view into the accounts most likely to engage and convert based on content marketing or an approach from a brand.

And – just in case you can’t fathom the headline benefits here, we’ll quickly spell it out.

Using B2B intent data drives efficiencies into demand generation. It narrows down the potential contacts into a concentrated pool of pre-qualified prospects.

And now let’s dig a little deeper.

That’s 2 minutes.

Three ways B2B intent data gives you more bang for your buck

Intent data allows you to build more effective prospecting campaigns based on insight. You can:

1. Optimise spend by reaching out to only the accounts most likely to engage right now.

2. Deploy messaging that is precisely based on the products and services each prospect is interested in.

3. Convert top prospects before the competition does.

Sources of third-party B2B intent data

We now know what B2B intent data is and what it does. But how is it collected and what differences are there in each source?

1. Co-op data is gathered from a collection of online sources, including publishers, research firms, tech vendors, agencies and event firms.

Typically, it measures intent using topics.

2. Bidstream data is gathered through biddable online advertising inventory.

Here intent is usually measured using keywords.

3. Publisher data is collected just from a publisher’s own web properties.

High quality data is counterbalanced by the lack of coverage compared to bidstream and co-op.

3 minutes have passed.

Topics vs keywords

It’s important to understand how your data is collected – and critical here is the distinction between topics and keywords.

The simple explanation runs:

Keywords consider the presence of a word to evaluate intent

Topics consider the context of content to make evaluations.

So, if your business is interested in prospects researching ‘Social Media’ a keyword approach may only consider content that contains this word. But a topic will use natural language processing models to predict the topic analysing the context and content of a web page.

You have just one minute left.

B2B intent data and ABM

Intent data makes a rather elegant partner with account-based marketing strategies.

ABM success ultimately rests on understanding which accounts to prioritise right now – and which to leave simmering. Intent data reveals vital information about exactly which accounts are actively researching areas that suggest buying intent. 

In a sense, with intent data you can improve your win rate by knowing exactly which accounts are more likely to purchase this quarter.

B2B intent data and recency

We’ve commented before on how rapidly contact data expires.

Basically, your contact data has a half-life of about 18 months – this is the point where more is no longer valid than is.

Intent data’s focus on acquiring only contact data for those who are in market right now makes it the perfect partner for the built-in obsolescence of contact data.

Talking of expiration – there goes the bell!

It’s time up!

But I think we’ve covered all the major bases.

I’ll leave you with this:

We’ve said for years that the best way to do marketing is to listen to your customers.

Intent data lets us listen to conversations that we are not even part of yet.

But we will be.

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