Did you know that 90% of B2B buyers begin the buying journey by visiting a search engine first. Plus, an impressive 68% notice ads from the provider they eventually select, with 37% positively influenced. As such, it’s easy to be swayed by the potential of paid advertising. However, without initially understanding buyer intent, budget and opportunity can be easily squandered. Intent data has the power therefore to transform a paid advertising strategy.
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Ask a PPC specialist what are the key considerations to a successful paid advertising strategy, outside of budget, and they will say there are four things you need to know:
- Your audience
- Their interests and pain points
- What technology they use
- Where they are in the buying journey
It’s also important to test and track different ad copy, so you know which ones your audience engages with most. While these points might seem fairly obvious, what’s less obvious is how you go about finding that information efficiently and accurately.
The last thing you want is to waste ad budget targeting the wrong audiences (or indeed the right audiences at the wrong time) or developing ad copy and content which is of little interest to them. Here’s where intent data can help.
Get to know your audience
Intent Data enables you to see which companies are interested in keywords and topics that are specific to your business, indicating that they are actively looking for products or services like yours.
When it comes to paid media, timing, context and relevance. Intent data can in some instances, combine 3rd party intent data (generated from the online activity such as searches, views, clicks, shares, etc across various publications and websites) with your 1st party data (such as customer engagement with your ads, landing pages and other digital assets) to match target accounts against your ideal customer profiles, thereby narrowing your total addressable market down to your best-fit accounts.
Understand your audience’s interests and pain points
Promoting your brand, product or service via paid media should be about emphasising the benefits of your solution to the buyer, rather than focusing on the features you offer. Intent Data can reveal audience pain points and triggers that cause them to go to market. Platforms like Cyance will enable you to draw upon 3rd party data to research trending topics – within a particular business, account list, ICP/TAM criteria, industry or a combination thereof.
This allows you to understand the most popular business topics relevant to your business and those accounts within your audience segments which are trending with those topics. These valuable insights into both industry trends and prospect interests can inform the copy and content of your paid ads to ensure maximum relevance – so that you reach the right accounts at the right time with the right messages.
You can use this information to deliver highly relevant thought-leadership content on sales growth value propositions, such as ‘capital efficient sales growth’, via blog or video content.
What technology is your audience using?
Some platforms combine technographics and intent data to give you a true indication of not only what technology is already being used by certain businesses but if alternatives are being researched or additional solutions considered. All this allows you to target your campaigns with an accuracy that is hard to beat.
If ideal customer profiles or ICP accounts have technology installed that your platform connects with, is dependent upon or you have a sales battlecard against, then such insights can help you to segment them and accordingly deliver to target users highly-relevant content.
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Where are your audience in the buying journey?
It is vital to the success of any paid advertising strategy to understand when is the best time in the buying journey to engage with your audience. A survey by Google found that 71% of buyers begin their research with a generic query, looking for a product or a solution first, not for a brand or business in mind. Their customer journey tool also revealed that ‘generic paid search factors strongly toward the beginning part of the business/industrial path to purchase’.
Our research points to a golden window of opportunity early on in the buying journey when research is being undertaken. Prioritise best-fit accounts displaying early-stage, problem-solving research and develop highly relevant content which speaks to them. Next, move to solicit a response from your target accounts – encourage them to click on your ads and visit your landing page content. Once they do, involve your sales team and retarget them with consideration phase content like case studies and decision phase content like offers.
Of course, the buyer journey, particularly one that involves committee-based buying, is non linear. Paid campaigns must account for decision makers and influencers joining and leaving at all stages of the funnel. Marketing and sales partnership Is critical to engaging with the right people within the decision-making unit and can increase your probability to close by as much as 70%.
With the right intent data platform, you can find out where your best-fit accounts are in the buying journey, focus ad spend on those actively researching your solutions and know what messaging will resonate with them.
The power of intent data in ad campaigns
The right intent data platform doesn’t just give you the information you need to know for a successful paid advertising strategy, it also enables you to successfully execute it.
This means your platform should be able to segment companies by a set of common criteria – firmographic, technographic, intent, buying stage, interests, industry to name just a few – and push that segment into a relevant paid campaign.
Your intent data platform should integrate with your existing paid media channels to do the above automatically – adding and removing companies from the paid campaign as changes to their criteria or level of intent are detected by the platform.
What all of this boils down to is the ability to target and engage with context (so you reach the right audiences via the right technology), with timing (so you reach them at the right stage of the buying journey), and with relevance (so your content resonates with them)
Which in turn, leads to meaningful engagement, a greater rate of conversions and fantastic return on investment In fact, we have noticed that leads from LinkedIn campaigns are 525% more likely to turn into opportunities, with a 300% increase in leads with the right firmographic criteria, and a 2,600% ROI on PPC media spend.
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