While intent data can be worth its weight in digital gold, intent data providers are not all equal (and neither is the data they provide.) But when you find a high-quality provider with top data collection models, your company can benefit from improved customer experiences, employee integrity, accurate prediction models, and many other powerful insights. In this article, we’re talking about all things intent data.
Want to jump to the good stuff?
- What is intent data?
- Why use intent date?
- Who uses intent data?
- Assessing intent data quality
- Top intent data providers
What is Intent Data?
Forget guessing your customer’s next move; intent data providers give us the future of behavior analytics through intent data.
Whether or not they mean to, users leave behind a digital trail of breadcrumbs that tell a story about their intent. Here’s are some of the common places they’re leaving crumbs:
- Engaging with your website
- Filling out digital forms and applications
- Scrolling through social media
- Using search engines
- Clicking through ads
- Making online purchases
- Opting in to email newsletters
The data they leave behind gives us clues for which content they’re most interested in, what they’re looking to purchase, who are in their network (and what their network cares about), and first-party personal information like email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, their age, gender, etc.
It’s important to note that not all intent data is created equal, but we’ll get more into that in a minute. Currently, there are three main types of intent data — first, second, and third-party.
First-party intent data is highly relevant user information ethically consented to, collected, and owned by your company. Second-party intent data, as the name suggests, is data collected by a secondary company and then sold to or shared with a company outside of your industry. Third-party intent data, also as the name suggests, is data collected by third-party companies and then sold off to anyone who wants it. Purchasers of third-party data don’t own the information, and it’s under a lot of scrutinies for breaching user privacy. (Long story short; it’s not the most reliable source of data.)
Why Use Intent Data?
Intent data has been around for several years, making its way into data science, sales, marketing, and retail. As with all effective strategies for growth, the leaders of the industry want it, and it’s made its way to the top of most priority lists. The insurance industry was slow to adopt it, but now, the top insurers are prioritizing their investment in it.
So why use it?
For starters, it’s worth its weight in digital gold. Intuitive intent data can help predict the intent quality of a customer. If we know that high intent buyers are 2x more likely to buy and are far more valuable than window shoppers who are 4x less likely to buy, wouldn’t we want to allocate our marketing dollars to the high intent buyer? Of course, we would and that’s what intent data can help do.
When intent data stands alone it can give you a pretty clear picture of who the user is. But when it’s combined with AI, behavioral intelligence, and machine learning — now, that’s when the data gets powerful.
Intent data providers who utilize AI and machine learning can help predict fraud, create dynamic customer experiences, assess risk-scoring, create a good kind of friction, give raw behavioral data, deterministic signaling… and the list goes on.
Who Uses Intent Data Providers?
You’ve likely heard of intent data in the context of B2B marketing, sales, and customer experience teams. It started out most popular in these industries because they’ve always relied on customer-centric information to move the needle forward. And when they need data, they need it fast.
But in the wake of 2020, intent data providers started making their way into larger industries. Here are three industries we see a rise of intent-data use in:
Insurers are predicting fraud, creating personalized digital experiences, providing straight-through underwriting, and optimizing agent performance with behavioral intent data.
Bankers understand their user’s motives, predict their intent, improve online experiences, and reduce risk and fraud with intent data.
Telecom agencies are using intent data to understand customer intent, predict the long-term value, and reduce their risk and church rates.
Assessing Intent Data Quality
Similar to how not all intent data providers are created equal, not all intent data is either. While this list is not the end-all, here are some clear markers of high-quality intent data to look for in a provider.
- Timely – Hindsight is not helpful in the fast-paced digital age. Sure, you can use historical data points for analytics, but why would you want to waste time doing that when machine learning can do it for you? Quality intent data is timely and offered in real-time.
- Intuitive – Here, we mean intuitive for both you and your customer. Data collection software should be lightweight and easy to teach your internal teams to use. It also should create dynamic, intuitive experiences while your customer is engaging with your online content. For instance, if they’re showing signs of confusion on a web page, a chat box could pop up offering assistance.
- Collaborative – Your intent data provider should be able to integrate into your apps and platforms for seamless data collection. They should also have the ability to build out systems and predictive models specialized for your company.
- Detailed – Consumers are smarter than ever, and your data needs to be too. A quality data intent provider collects rich information with thousands of data points. Be wary of clickstream solutions that lack proprietary behavioral intent datasets.
- Accurate – This should go without saying, right? Your intent data should be accurate, not only in the data collection but also with its predictive models and scoring.
- First-Party – First-party intent data is always the best way to go. It means your data is tailored to your company, highly relevant, ethically collected, and owned by you alone.
Need help finding a great intent data provider? In this next section, we’ve listed five of our favorites.
Top 5 Intent Data Providers
ZoomInfo collects user traffic from various intent data sources online, analyzes the top topic content consumption, and then maps out the user trail. They send an intent signal suggesting above-average topics for their companies to utilize. Companies can choose to receive data on a weekly basis, monthly, or as it’s happening.
Pros: ZoomInfo is trusted by large corporations like Google and Amazon.
Cons: This data is third-party intent data, meaning companies can’t own it, and anyone can buy it (including your competitors.)
Best-Fit Industry: Marketing and Sales
Demandbase focuses on account-based experiences with advertising, sales intelligence, and data. They collect data using artificial intelligence. Demandbase reports intent, firmographics, technographics, potential contacts, and level of engagement to tighten up marketing campaigns.
Pros: They offer cloud data with high security.
Cons: They advertise offering low-friction experiences. For companies who need to safeguard against risk and fraud, low friction isn’t always a positive outcome.
Best-Fit Industry: B2B Marketers
Bombora tracks a potential buyer’s activity on over 4,000 websites to help marketers predict what they’re looking for. The data they collect is purely consent-based, so it’s considered privacy-compliant intent data.
Pros: Their data is directly collected with consent, and it integrates with software you’re likely already using.
Cons: Bombora relies on third-party cookie data, so it’s never first-intent data you can own.
Best-Fit Industry: Marketing and Technology
IntentData provides contact-level buyer intent data, including a user’s name, email address, phone number, social accounts, company information, what actions they took, and a few more.
Pros: Intent Data gives a rich user profile. As they put it, you can “contact the right people at the right time.”
Cons: This software has a limited focus, so customers need to round out their data collection with additional software. It’s also not considered first-party data.
Best-Fit Industry: Marketers
ForMotiv captures first-party intent data combined with cutting-edge real-time digital behavior science to create intuitive online experiences. Its proprietary behavioral intent dataset has over ten times more data than existing clickstream data solutions to provide its clients with the most accurate data. With ForMotiv’s software installed on their website, clients have access to billions of data points, seeing at least 92% accuracy with their predictive models.
Pros: ForMotiv is the only real-time, first-party behavioral data provider in existence. It’s also one of the only intent data providers tailored to insurance and financial institutions.
Cons: It’s not cheap, though the ROI far outweighs the cost.
Best-Fit Industries: Insurance, Banking, and Telecom
Want to see how it works? Schedule a call and we’ll walk you through a demo and some relevant use cases. You won’t regret it.