The Truths and Myths of B2B Intent Data

Over 90% of B2B marketers surveyed by Ascend2 reported seeing success from their use of Intent Data. Yet only 28% of Marketers say they have an Intent Data Strategy in place.

In our previous blog, we talked about the Value of Buyer Intent Data in 2022 and how savvy Sales Execs are leveraging Intent Data to engage more meaningfully with their target audience.

However, there still seems to be a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what exactly Intent Data is and what it can and can't do, so let’s break it down.

What is Intent Data?

Intent Data is a collection of data that relates to the online behaviours or actions of an individual or actions attributable to a company and it can be classified in 3 ways:

  • 1st Party Intent Data – Data that you own or collect directly.
  • 2nd Party Intent Data – Someone else’s 1st Party Intent Data.
  • 3rd Party Intent Data – Aggregated Intent Data from multiple 3rd parties.

1st Party Intent Data

1st Party Intent Data is data that is collected directly from a potential buyer and is owned by the organisation in question. For example, if someone visits your website or landing page and fills in a form, the data that you collect directly from this prospect is 1st Party Intent Data.

Similarly, if you identify which companies are visiting your website (by using Lead Onion’s Website Intent feature) the data collected here is 1st Party Intent Data and is one of the strongest signals of intent.

The strongest indicator of Intent is when a prospect visits your website. Ensure you never miss a sales opportunity by using Lead Onion to identify your website visitors.

2nd Party Intent Data

The rise of software review sites such as G2 and Trustpilot has made 2nd Party Intent Data much more accessible to B2B Marketers in 2022.

These review sites and other sites with high traffic volume have built a business model around the sale of their 1st Party Intent Data (i.e. their website traffic).

Marketers and indeed Sales Reps pay for access to this data to target companies who are actively researching products or services listed on these review sites.

This data is extremely valuable as generally companies are further down the buying process when they hit these review sites, so it gives vendors an opportunity to ensure they are in consideration as a vendor of choice.

The single biggest challenge businesses face when using 2nd Party Intent Data is how to make it actionable.

Lead Onion solves this by integrating 1st, 2nd and 3rd Party Intent Signals from 17 different sources to prioritise the hottest accounts. Lead Onion also provides accurate contact information for the buying committee so companies can reach the right person at the right time and uses machine learning algorithms to suggest your next hot prospect.

3rd Party Intent Data

Most marketers have experience with 1st Party Intent Data and will be confident in how to action and use that data in their marketing programme. When it comes to third party intent there is still a lot of confusion in the market, not helped by some vendors of 3rd Party Intent making unsubstantiated claims about what it is and how it can be interpreted.

Let’s first deal with some of the common misconceptions around 3rd Party Intent Data:

  • It can’t tell you who searched for a specific term on google.
  • It can’t tell you who is visiting your competitor’s website.
  • It can’t tell you who downloaded content from your competitor’s campaigns.

What is 3rd Party Intent Data?

3rd Party Intent Data is data derived from external sources and collected from buyers’ behaviours on sites that you do not own.

Types of 3rd Party Intent Data:

  • Social Data
  • Public Company Data
  • Publisher Data
  • Co-Op Data

Social Data

Users of social media leave little nuggets of information online in the interactions that they have on a daily basis. For example, they might share a piece of content from a specific competitor or comment on a post. This public data can be accessed by intent data vendors and interpreted to find useful signals of intent.

Public Company Data

Companies make announcements about their business operations daily. Some of these announcements such as recent investment rounds can indicate where a company is in its lifecycle and perhaps what products or services they may need. Valuable information for certain vendors.

Publisher Data

Data that is collected directly from a publisher’s own website. This data tends to be of a lower volume than Co-op Data and can cover niche sectors.

Co-Op Data

Data that is obtained from a wide range of publishers and usually is a very high volume of data. Typically, Co-Op Data uses a topic-based approach and articles are categorised using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to determine the relevance of the content being consumed. Marketers can access the data of those companies who are actively consuming content of interest.

What makes a good Intent Signal?

Not all intent data should be treated equally. As discussed above intent data comes from multiple different streams and it's important to distinguish what is an actual signal of Intent.

In the example of 1st Party Intent Data marketers are already savvy in how they handle the different types of data that they collect and can weed out poor quality leads or intent signals through traditional qualification methods.

In the case of 2nd Party Intent Data, a key thing here is the ability to distinguish between genuine research of a category or product on a review site versus an actual vendor visiting their own page or competitors pages.

One way Lead Onion enables its users to do this is by creating suppression lists to ignore companies that are clearly not an intent based lead.

With 3rd Party Intent data, it’s a little more complex and difficult to identify what makes a good intent signal.

Therefore, it becomes more important than ever to cross reference between 3rd party intent signals.

Most Intent Vendors are monoline providers, they supply one type of intent data – e.g. Co-Op Data or Public Company Data. This leads to a fragmented view of intent and no clear picture of the intent that an organisation is showing across the full funnel or across different channels.

The key to identifying true intent is to cross reference at the domain level the different 3rd Party Intent Signals that can be identified and to cross reference against 1st and 2nd Party Intent Signals.

This leads to a more holistic view of the prospective customer and in turn strengthens the 3rd Party Intent Signal.

With Lead Onion you get a holistic view of your prospect as we combine intent signals from over 17 different sources to prioritize your hottest leads with Surge.

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, download out FREE guide to B2B Buyer Intent here!

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