Now, another breed of “intent data” has emerged. External data providers like Bombora, The Big Willow, IDG and TechTarget are aggregating information about web visitors on B2B publisher networks to help businesses figure out when certain prospects might be in the market for their product. This kind of insight presents an exciting new frontier for data-driven marketing.
Intent data defined
As with any new data source, it’s helpful to have a clear understanding of what it includes and how it can be applied. Intent data generally falls in one of two main categories, which each best serves a different purpose:
Internal Intent Data (also referred to as first-party data) is the activity a company captures on its own website or through application logs. This kind of information usually contains highly predictive buying signals because the content is so relevant to the purchase decision — i.e. exactly what pages a prospect touched, which links they clicked on, and how long they spent on each page.
External Intent Data (also referred to as third-party data) is collected by publisher networks either at the IP level, or through user registration and shared cookies. These sites track the articles a user reads, content they download, their site searches, and potentially even comments they leave. For example, data might show that people from the ibm.com domain are viewing more articles than normal about “help desk software,” which could provide a hint about IBM’s software needs.
Sound a bit creepy? To some people, it is. There’s a reason that Google doesn’t open up its search database and LinkedIn won’t sell its social graph — that kind of personal data is super sensitive and core to their businesses. But many publishers are pushing the boundaries of privacy and finding new ways to monetise their traffic. Several have loosened their terms of service to gain the leeway to track individual actions and tell outsiders what an IP address or even a registered user is doing. This is something consumers should keep in mind if they don’t want their behaviour to be monitored across the web.
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