How to Optimize Digital Advertising through Intent Signals

The mantra of B2B marketers worldwide is “Intent Signal Data.” Gartner reported that by the end of 2022, 70% of B2B marketers will use third-party intent data to target prospects through digital advertising and stay ahead of competitive moves.

Let me illustrate this B2B trend with a typical story from B2C (which typically foreshadows what happens in B2B.) Most people prefer to do ample research before buying anything, be it the latest smartphone model or the recently launched shades hybrid car. We browse the product online; visit official brand websites and other channels to get to know the product before investing in it. After completing days of research, let’s say you finally select a particular smartphone to buy this fall. But something happens. 

When you searched the brand on one of the most popular eCommerce sites, reviewers’ negative remarks caught your attention. Many consumers had complained on the site that the smartphone showed problems after being used for one or two weeks. As a result of this information, you eventually change your decision and lock in on another mobile brand. 

Browsing history and final decision are certainly not linear in this case. A buyer may search for a brand for days, but invest in a different brand – a competitor’s. 

As with B2C, the B2B customer’s intention can be just as unpredictable, challenging marketers as they try to pump up business growth. 

Before taking a plunge into the martech goal of optimizing digital advertising thought intent signals, let’s cover some basics, what say? 

What are intent signals?

As a marketer, you may find yourself facing doubts like: 

  • Who are our potential customers? 
  • What do they want? 
  • Why do they want it? 
  • How do they react or behave? 
  • What will they do next? 

Intent signal data can be defined as information about users’ online behavior, and it answers many of these questions. Intent signal data brings you the most relevant, real and current insights around these important questions, making your job easier and more impactful.  

With this informed approach to audience monitoring, you rely on the technology to track millions of contacts, companies and domains, and thousands of keywords every day. You can keep track of visitors on your website and also other sites on the web. Sounds great, right! Once you target the right topics, companies and customers, you can pair them to relevant behavior and intent to purchase. 

What Makes Intent Signals Crucial to Digital Advertising? 

When you know what someone wants, you communicate better. People-based marketing strategies are gaining popularity as a means to drive business growth. The word “intent” refers to the buyer’s intention to purchase. For example, if your product is “baby foods,” you target the specific user base who will need or want that topic, like new parents. Single and athletic user bases will not come on your radar. 

Digital advertising refers to all kinds of communications that a company sends through online platforms for promotions, brand awareness and programmatic advertisements. It’s a targeted, data-driven marketing strategy for boosting traffic generation. The intent signal, that is, the information regarding customer behavior, helps marketers know the needs and wants of the targeted user base and implement relevant digital advertising strategies. 

Use Intent to Optimize B2B Demand Generation

Understanding buyer intent and accordingly designed digital advertising help marketing teams optimize for lead generation and conversion rates. 

Optimizing digital advertising through intent signals helps you: 

  • Boost sales outreach 
  • Design targeted communication 
  • Stay ahead of competition
  • Retarget respondents of prior campaigns 
  • Create personalized campaigns for specific needs
  • Grow customer loyalty with value-added content
  • Track real-time data and online activity 
  • Reach customer retention goals

4 Steps: Optimize Digital Advertising with Intent Signals

Marketers worldwide use innovative programmatic marketing and advertising techniques for higher generation and conversion rates. You can make your digital advertising effective by gathering and analyzing information for customer insights – that is, from intent data.

Continuing with the same example mentioned above, if your product is “baby food,” your targeted customer base will likely be of a certain age, gender and other such specific variables. If you gather and analyze the data, you can channel brand promotions and advertisements in specific ways on various online platforms like social media, apps and websites. 

The Process Break Down

The digital advertising optimization process breaks down into four basic steps: 

  • Gather customer insights
  • Analyze the data
  • Design your bids
  • Post-campaign analysis

Step 1: Gather customer insights

This is where the intent signals come to play. Who are your customers, and what do they want? The information can include gender, geolocation, age groups, browsing habits, etc. You identify and gather information about the “digital body language” of your prospects. 

Step 2:  Analyze the data

You’ve gathered the information, and now is the time to analyze. When is the best time to get your customer base online? Which devices are they using the most, phone or laptop? Which social media platforms do they use most and when? If the user clicks and then abandons the process, are there any remarketing campaigns or triggered emails? What is your landing page communicating? Is there any specific call to action? 

Step 3:  Design your ad bids

Once you know the demographics leading to maximum engagements, it’s time to optimize the ad spend. Bid higher for the most engaging time of the day/week, best performing keyword, leads closest to conversion, and publishers who fetch higher engagement rates. Tools like our DisplayBase make it possible to integrate intent data into programmatic advertising.

Step 4: Post-campaign analysis

Once the campaign is over, it’s time to analyze the reasons for success and failures. (Note: with a marketing cloud like this one, you have a good tool for reports and analytics.) Compare the engaged audience with the targeted audience and study the difference. This will help you to perform better in future campaigns. 

Key factors to note: 

  • Which strategies worked better and why
  • Note metrics like CTR, CPM, CPC, CPA
  • Are pages optimized for relevant screen size 
  • How fast your page loads in all devices 
  • Customer onboarding process 

Final Thoughts on Optimizing Display with Intent Data

Intent intelligence creates a win-win situation for both B2B marketers and customers. Marketers perform better when customer insights guide their work. Buyers are satisfied as they get personalized solutions and communications based on specific criteria. If you’d like to know more about digital advertising techniques, see these popular resources about that topic.

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