First-Party Intent Data: Your Most Valuable Resource You’re Not Using (Yet)

Posted by Andy Golden on July 1, 2019

Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should probably clarify what we mean by “first-party intent data.” Also known as engagement data, this is information collected about prospective buyers that indicates different levels of intent to buy (nobody strained any mental muscles there).

All jokes aside, this is one of the most important factors in developing an effective account-based marketing strategy. Tracking buyer intent gives B2B marketers valuable insight into which accounts are visiting their website and what content they are engaging with. Marketers use this information to discover potential new accounts to target as well as when to reach out to those prospective in-market buyers. 

In a perfect world, every prospective buyer would know exactly what their organization needs and reach out when they’re ready to purchase your solution. But unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and you need to rely on business intelligence to optimize your sales and marketing efforts. On average, only 3% of website visitors will convert via form fills, direct emails, etc. This results in a large percentage of potentially interested accounts leaving your website with no interaction and placing the burden in the hands of retargeting campaigns, or crossing your fingers they will fill out the form next time. Adding a chat feature can increase the interaction rates, but there is still a large percentage of visitors who will simply vanish – lost to the sea of competitors who are capitalizing on this data. 

Leveraging real-time buyer intent data allows sales and marketing teams to take a proactive approach by reaching out to interested accounts regardless of if they leave without saying hello. 

The easiest way to visualize this is with an example. 

Imagine this scenario:

Company X visits your website, views five pages about your products, then looks at a few case studies, and finally visits your pricing page. This anonymous visitor then leaves your site without contacting you.

It would be all too easy to just chalk that up as a loss and move on, but a good marketer knows that within this anonymous traffic there is valuable data to be gathered (as long as the proper technology is used). 

Based on the clickpath of the website visitor, we can assume that Company X is in the market for a solution like yours. Why? 

  1. The visitor read deeply into your product offerings. 
  2. They read case studies to visualize the benefits in the context of their organization. 
  3. They have already (at least on some level) considered purchasing your product by looking at the pricing page. 

Thus, it would be reasonable to assume this is a company you should reach out to. This might be a very simplified and specific example, but you see the point – what was once an anonymous website visitor is now a wealth of intent data that can be used for sales and marketing efforts. 

Ok, but how do I actually get this data? 

The good news is that you don’t have to look too hard to find it. You need only look to your most powerful sales and marketing engine – your website. Your website is a 24-hour sales rep for in-market buyers and also a fountain of information about your target accounts.

Platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are great at showing overall website traffic and page views while website visitor tracking technologies can take that information and identify specific accounts, providing you with both pieces of the puzzle needed to execute an effective marketing strategy. 

There are two main avenues to explore when talking about identifying anonymous website visitors – Cookies and IP address lookups. 

  • Cookies are small pieces of data a website stores on a visitor’s browser that can track a wide range of behaviors. 
  • IP address lookup (IP address intelligence) - this technology identifies the IP address of every website visitor and provides information about the company. 

For the sake of brevity, I won’t dive into the pros and cons of each method in this post, but the main idea is to gather as much information as possible about the accounts showing interest in your solutions and enhance your account-based sales and marketing strategies. 

The first step in building an effective account-based strategy is identification, and first-party intent data is the key. If you aren’t already utilizing the gold mine of data you’re sitting on, I would highly suggest changing that. You undoubtedly spent a lot of time, energy, and money creating your website – if you want to get the most value out of it, implementing a strategy to leverage first-party intent data should be at the top of your to-do list. It will give you a much greater understanding of what your target accounts are interested in and enable you to identify net-new opportunities to nurture and move along the sales process.    

To find out more about how you can get the most out of your website traffic, download our guide on IP address intelligence