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What is Intent Data and How It Identifies New Customers

When someone asks you what you hope people do when they visit your website, you probably say purchase your goods or services.   

But, what about the steps leading up to purchase?  

The common steps potential customers take before they commit to a purpose are valuable to track, analyze, and improve your strategy. This information you can leverage is called intent data.  

While intent data is commonly tracked and leveraged by B2B companies that have a longer purchase journey, it can be used by practically any company in any industry. Each industry will have unique trends and uses for intent data, and once you start looking at yours, you’ll probably uncover some valuable patterns.  

What does intent data look like?  

87% of prepurchase research happens online. That means you have access to much (but not all) of the intent data your customers are producing. Intent data identifies the potential clients and customers that are most actively researching your product or services, and therefore are most likely to eventually buy.   

  • Filling out a contact form  
  • Visiting a website  
  • Spending time on specific product pages  
  • Spending time on review pages  
  • Requesting updates  
  • Subscribing to a newsletter  
  • Reaction to a pop-up   
  • Downloading gated content  
  • Putting a product in a cart  

On top of those, there are niche-specific intent data for industries to identify. There could look like:  

  • Requesting a demo of a B2B software  
  • Checking the availability of a rental purchase on specific days  
  • Signing up for assistance in planning an activity for a corporate event  

There are tons of types of activity to look at that can give you insight into their interest level of buying into your brand. Each one tells a unique story and creates an opportunity for growth in your marketing strategy.   

How do you track intent data?  

Use Website Analytics  

Tracking page activity based on several engagement metrics can give you a good idea of how interested certain individuals are in your brand and products. You can look at:  

  • Time spent on page  
  • Pageviews  
  • Bounce rate  
  • Tracked actions on web pages like form submissions or cart additions  

This activity is free and available to anyone who has Google Analytics. For the basic actions like page traffic, long as you ask the questions, you can find the answers. Other actions will need to have goals set up (like form submissions, cart activity, or newsletter subscriptions) need to have goals set up and tracking before you can start gaining information. Learning more about this intent data, as well as the actions leading up to and after it, will help you tailor your outreach strategy that will entice instead of annoy.  

Use your third-party platforms  

Sime intent data doesn’t happen on your website. While you don’t have access to everything (think blogs you’re mentioned in, review platforms you don’t get access to) there are a few off-site platforms you can learn from.  

For example, if you run lead-capture social ads on Facebook and Instagram, that is a list of extremely valuable potential customers. You can leverage this list and reach out to them with targeted content.  

Use Third-party Tools  

Curser-tracking, heat maps, and other third-party website-tracking platforms can help you gain even more insight into your most valuable potential customers.  

While analytics can tell you time-on-page and page visits, these tracking platforms can tell you what information visitors paused on, how a potential customer reads your content and the most popular sections of pages.  

How can you use intent data to improve your strategy  

Get in front of the customers earlier  

Tracking and working with intent data allows your team to establish communication with customers that fit the profile of an interested potential buyer. This can look like having strategic popups on specific pages so they only show to those actively researching. Or, having a chatbot enact a quick and helpful message after a certain amount of time on a page.  

Understand the channels that are most valuable and build off of them.   

From social ads to SEO to print to email, to on-page tactics, you probably have a lot going on in your strategy. But do you know the ones that bring in the most full-fledged clients?   

Tracking and analyzing intent data allows you to rank your efforts and prioritize the channels that attract the most valuable potential clients.   

Identify an audience to focus on  

Intent data that brings in an email address or other specific information can be more useful than simply growing a list. This is an audience you can target with specific ads and email outreach tailored to their actions on your website. If they downloaded gated content on a certain topic, you know you can probably entice them with more info on the subject. This type of hyper-specialization is the kind of thing that attracts customers without annoying them.  

Do you understand your intent data? And more importantly, do you act on the results? This is a crucial practice for any business trying to cater to their most valuable potential customers. If you are ready to track and use your intent data, reach out to our team today. 

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