5 Types of Intent Data to Drive Demand Generation

5 Types of Intent Data

Every B2B marketer should be leveraging intent data, with 99% of B2B marketers already doing so in some way. But while many believe intent data is simply one signal to keep an eye on, it’s in fact an umbrella term for multiple different behavioral patterns and signals – all of which, in an ideal world, B2B marketers should be keeping a close eye on.

So what actually is intent data, and what information should you be tapping into in order to drive demand generation, gain a competitive edge and win over potential customers?

Reading time: 6 minutes

Inside Intent Data: Unlocking Demand Generation Results

What is intent data?

Intent data is a type of data that captures user intent signals. It helps companies understand what their target users are looking for and how close they are to making a purchase. It’s collected through various sources such as search engine queries, web visits and social media activity. By analyzing these signals, companies can more accurately predict user intent and tailor their marketing strategies to better meet their needs.

Companies can also use intent data to create more personalized and engaging experiences for their customers. For example, they can offer more relevant products and services to their customers based on their previously expressed intent signals. Intent data can also provide valuable insights into customer behavior that can be used to create more effective marketing campaigns and improve overall customer experience.

3 ways you can collect intent data

If you’re looking to build up your intent data pot, there are three ways you can do this:

First-party intent data

First-party intent data is the data gathered directly from a company’s customers, and is the most reliable source of data as it is collected directly from the customer’s interactions with the company’s website, products and services. First-party intent data is gathered through tracking tools such as cookies and analytics, surveys and other customer feedback and allows marketers to gain better insights into their customer’s behaviors, preferences and interests.

Second-party intent data

Second-party intent data is data collected and shared between two companies. This data-sharing may be between businesses that already have an established relationship, or organizations that are looking to build a new relationship. Second-party intent data can provide insights into customer behavior across multiple businesses and can be used to identify trends, target audiences and personalize marketing messages.

Third-party intent data

Third-party intent data is data collected from third-party sources across the internet about a customer’s online behavior, such as their searches, web visits, purchases, and more. This third-party data is typically mined via reverse IP look, bidstream data and media exchange/publishing members, collected from sources such as websites, surveys, and social media, and then compiled into a database.

5 types of intent signals you need to focus on

Here are the 5 types of intent signals that you need to be focusing on if you want your campaigns to bring back greater results.

1. Search intent

What is it?

Keywords and queries – this includes online searches on and off your website.

Why it matters

It can take an average of 12 searches before a B2B buyer engages with a brand, according to Google. This means that every search query counts, and digital signals can be mapped to see how users go from casual research to engagement.

How to use it

By analyzing the trail of micro signals left behind by prospects, marketers can map the buyer journey from the earliest stages, and create relevant content to intercept the research process. But there are different types of search intent to look into if you want to get a full picture of what makes your buyers tick.

  • Informational queries

These are broad searches that cover a range of topics. For instance, wide-ranging key phrases such as “cloud computing” or “how to use collaboration tools”. These make up a large percentage of internet searches and often include generic keywords. For marketers, they provide a view of popular topics and trends.

  • Navigational queries

These are searches relating to a specific brand or website, such as “LinkedIn job search app” or “Inbox Insight content marketing”. They often include semi-generic keywords but are specific to a certain company, providing value to them in terms of measuring things like brand awareness.

  • Internal queries

Internal search queries are the ones that happen within your own site, entered through your main website or blog search bar. The types of keywords used by visitors not only indicate what people are interested in, but it lets you know what content you’re missing. If there are hundreds of searches for a certain topic and users are met with zero results, this is an opportunity to raise your content game.

  • Transactional queries

Searches with the words “best”, “which” and “cheap” are great examples of this type of query. It means the buyer has established the right solution and is narrowing down their options. These are prospects in the consideration phase, and optimizing product pages or creating informational blogs with product information can be a great way to leverage this type of intent data.

2. Browsing intent

What is it?

Cookies and browsing history – this is to track content consumption across devices and browsers.

Why it matters

It tells you exactly what your buyers are taking an interest in, delving further into their research. Going beyond just online searches, it looks at what has captured their attention.

How to use it

This type of intent data can be garnered internally, as well as on external sites. By looking at your own website pages and email workflows, you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. This not only helps you improve your strategy and focus time and resource on the right areas, but it also helps you understand buyer intent.

Externally, you can look at B2B content sites and other online resources that are relevant to your industry. The browsing data from these sites helps you take advantage of platforms where audiences are ready to hear about your products or services.

3. Action intent

What is it?

Interactions and downloads – this captures prospect behavior flow and digital footprints. It looks at what touchpoints they connect on, what channels they favor, and in what order they interact.

Why it matters

The gold dust of intent data – intent data based on actions allows marketers to customize the experience based entirely on an individual’s behavior. It maps their movements, sees exactly what the user is engaging with (rather than predicting it), enabling you to personalize the experience and confirm their engagement in a particular channel, topic or solution. And by tapping into this type of intent data, you can better understand the mindset of your audience, giving you cues to when they are ready to hear from you.

How to use it

By tracking how a user moves around your digital channels, you can deepen the connection with prospects and leads. By this point, they have already shown an interest in your brand, so it becomes about getting to know them through user-driven actions, and creating content to nurture them through a non-linear funnel.

4. Firmographic intent

What is it?

Similar to demographics, but for companies (not people), and used regularly in the account-based marketing (ABM) approach.

Why it matters

Firmographic data enables you to assess a company’s suitability for your product and target them based on their fit. While firmographic data doesn’t show an individual buyer’s intent to purchase your product, the profile of the organization might be the same as the majority of your buyers – highlighting that their company is likely to be in a similar position to your customers and interested in your product or service.

How to use it

Firmographic intent data enables you to run account-based marketing activities, segmenting your audience based on their suitability and changing your approach depending on how well they fit your buyer criteria. Firmographic data can also be used to work alongside second or third-party intent data sources to find and reach a new audience at scale.

5. Predictive intent

What is it?

Lookalike modeling – detecting patterns and trends to predict the behavior of similar accounts and audiences.

Why it matters

This type of intent data draws on what you already know and turns it into useful predictions for prospective buyers. While other types of intent data are based on historic and real-time information, this is about recognizing patterns and trends and using it to your advantage in the future.

How to use it

By leveraging lookalike modeling within your demand generation strategy, you can ensure a higher rate of success by utilizing an audience that ‘looks like’ your most successful segments of data. For example, if the IT Manager at Company X engaged with your latest eBook, the IT Manager at Company Y will presumably also engage with it – enabling you to predict the type of audience who will be interested.

Similarly, you can get more granular and use predictive intent data to segment your content strategy and target specific whitepapers and reports at audiences who have previously engaged with a similar type of content. Not all professionals of the same job title will be interested in the same topics, so by looking at your prospective buyers’ content consumption, you can be more specific and re-target with content topics they have previously engaged with, predicting that they will continue to be interested in this area.

Inside Intent Data: Unlocking Demand Generation Results
Want access to the latest B2B insights?

Our InboxInsider provides a monthly round-up of the latest whitepapers and reports, trending intent tags, best-performing subject lines, and more.

Latest blogs

Latest blog posts