Understanding Intent

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What Is Intent?

Demandbase Intent is a way of discovering which accounts are most interested in your products or services. Demandbase uses your account lists, keywords that you supply, and other data to identify interested accounts. Keywords are words or phrases that you expect interested accounts to research.

For example, if your company is an oil field supplier, and someone searches for oil, that’s a start, but obviously not promising because they may be searching for olive oil. If they search for oil field, that shows more potential, but they may be writing a term paper for school. If they search for oil field suppliers and also for Halliburton versus Schlumberger Production Optimization, then they may have earned your attention, if their company is the size you’re seeking and their interest is sustained.

Discover Accounts in Time to Influence Buyers

Demandbase is able to discover this intent way before a prospect fills out a form on your site or shows other obvious intent. The majority of vendor research takes place before they find your website and on other websites, so discovering their interest early on and outside your website is important. With this information, we can alert you to reach out to prospective buyers in time to influence the buying cycle, before a competitor does. Identifying accounts using certain keywords is one of the ways we do that. In addition to your account lists, it’s one of the ways you can identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

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Demandbase Is Probabilistic

Demandbase uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to identify companies that share your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). These technologies are pretty sophisticated, but luckily you don’t have to understand the inner workings too much. Basically, they enable Demandbase to identify surges in intent and trends that predict opportunities; they use probabilities. At the heart of both of these methods is the algorithm, which is simply a set of instructions a data scientist gives to the computer to gather and analyze data.

For example: If your computer detects people searching for oil field suppliers (and other terms you supply), the AI identifies the person and their company as having interest. When an algorithm gathers enough data, it can “learn” that these data are associated as a cluster, or that signs of user intent are building up over time. In addition, the algorithm might “learn” things you didn’t know about, for example maybe your most successful accounts are also searching for Halliburton versus Schlumberger Production Optimization, so now it has more to work with.

Building Blocks of ABM

Along with identifying your company goals and creating an initial target account list, setting up your Demandbase tenant to discover prospect intent is one of the foundations of your ABM strategy. 

The three building blocks for Intent are:

  • Which accounts are you targeting?
  • What keywords or topics show intent for your product? 
  • Which web pages are they reading?

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Create Keywords to Set Up Intent

To set up Intent, you must enter a set of keywords that your ICP would be interested in, and optionally, some websites they’re likely to visit. If you can supply a comprehensive list that represents your domain expertise, that’s the best practice, but you can also input at least five keywords and ask Demandbase to discover the rest. It’s also best if you can enter some important websites your ideal customer might visit, but, if not, Demandbase will start to keep track of those also. The more you can supply, the better.

Demandbase Uses Data and AI to Enhance Your Keyword Set

Even if you enter what you feel is a complete list based on your expertise, Demandbase enhances the list. In addition to the keywords that you supply, Demandbase Intent draws annually on 470 billion monthly interactions from across the web from B2B companies, 4 billion IP addresses, and 36 billion B2B site visits, and is constantly looking for similarities to accounts that turned into opportunities. The more relevant data that we have to work with, the better our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can analyze and learn from them to create better associations and predictions for prospect intent. Demandbase technology gathers intent data from the following sources:

  • Public business registries for basic firmographics: showing industry, revenue, number of employees. 
  • B2B content consumption: Demandbase uses its publisher/advertising network to observe what types of content company employees are reading. To ensure accurate intent data, instead of looking at potentially irrelevant pages, we focus on a massive network of global websites focused on B2B-relevant topics. 
  • B2B content production: Demandbase crawls the open web for content tied to key company decision makers and stakeholders — blog posts, interviews, bylines, forum posts, speaking slots and panel participation, etc.
  • Engagement on your website for direct intent signals.

With this data, Demandbase instantly maps global B2B interactions between accounts and your B2B products or services. When an account uses many of the keywords that you identify as a sign of interest in your product, AI driven logic helps you uncover accounts that are showing intent and determines how strong their interest is.

The Strength of an Account's Intent

Demandbase Intent measures the strength of intent by the number of people researching a keyword for accounts of similar size.

Important: This methodology and section may be updated as the team makes improvements to the model. 

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Common Use Cases for Intent Signals

Demandbase Intent does more than identify accounts as potential target accounts. Here are more use cases for Demandbase Intent as part of an ABM strategy:

  • Attract: Increase marketing productivity by focusing resources and budgets on target accounts showing high intent.
  • Attract: Create sub-audiences (segments) of target accounts showing similar intent for targeted campaigns.
  • Engage: Personalize ad and web experience based on intent.
  • Engage: Help sales have more productive and relevant conversations based on intent signals.
  • Convert: Increase sales productivity by sharing intent insights that help them prioritize their account engagements.
  • Convert: Identify accounts that become opportunities for conversion to the customer pipeline. 
  • Identify and Retain: Learn that your prospects or customers are researching your competitors, so that you can take action to attract, engage, or retain them.

Here’s an example of how Demandbase Intent helps to attract customers with their Advertising solution: By using dynamic advertising bidding, Demandbase puts ad budgets to optimal use by bidding higher CPMs for the high-intent individuals and retargeting users. It also captures those on the periphery, who may have a less significant role in a purchase decision, when the price is right. 

Intent Trending vs Surging

In addition to identifying individual events, Demandbase AI analyzes intent data to recognize surges in current intent and trends as an indicator of future opportunities. Here’s how Intent trends and surges look in respect to high, medium, and low scores:

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Types of Intent

Demandbase Intent

All Demandbase One users have access to Demandbase One Intent at no extra charge. It’s part of our basic ABM platform. Demandbase Intent gives you access to the extensive database that powers our AI to create better associations and predictions concerning your prospects’ intent.

Bombora

Using Bombora Intent in Demandbase requires a separate, paid license. The free edition in Demandbase was phased out. Contact Bombora if you’re interested in subscribing to a paid license. If you already have a Bombora license and don’t see the Bombora interface in Demandbase, reach out to your account team to get it turned on.

If you’re used to Bombora, you’ll need to adjust to Demandbase keywords. Keywords in Demandbase are similar to Bombora topics. However, Demandbase lists keywords as individual words, while Bombora rolls up multiple keywords into clustered topics.

Each approach has its own advantages. Bombora has the advantage of doing the hard work of figuring out what the many keywords are in a topic, but Demandbase Intent has the backing of more data and shows more detail. We offer both because more data is better. If you’re new to using Intent, we recommend starting with Demandbase Intent. The Demandbase version is based on more data and allows for more fine-tuned enablement of Intent signals, maximizing the relevancy of the signals that the ABM platform captures and reports on to you. Here’s a comparison of the two versions (based on October 2021 data):

Bombora Demandbase

Data is sourced from content co-ops
direct relationship with publisher required

Data is sourced from the bidstream;
source can be any site where ads are displayed 


20.1 billion
interactions per month
3,800 sites monitored
8,086 intent topics

Over 500 billion interactions per month
2,900,000 sites monitored
245,000+ intent topics

Updated weekly only

Weekly updates + real-time trending

No historical data

One year of historical data populated within 2-3 hours of adding new keywords

Only includes "surging" intent

Includes both "trending intent" and total intent strength (volume) for each keyword from each account

How Demandbase Intent Works

Identifying intent starts when you create keyword sets in the Demandbase ABM Platform. AI then expands that set to other keywords related to the terms you identified, leveraging a vocabulary of more than 180,000 keywords. AI looks for related keywords in an article to determine relevance — and also searches for combinations of keywords to ensure proper context. You also have the option to let Demandbase do more of the work by entering website pages that your ideal companies are likely to visit.

How It Works  Example

Demandbase scans millions of pages and hundreds of millions of cookies, to compute how many people are researching a given keyword from each account.

854 people researching account-based marketing

Demandbase analyzes the size of each account by number of employees.

10,350 employees

Based on similar size companies, Demandbase calculates how strong this signal is for the keyword for a given company size.

Medium Intent Signal

To get started with Demandbase Intent, create your keyword sets. See Set Up Demandbase Intent: Create Keyword Sets.

Important: You must assign Engagement Minutes values to the types of Intent Activities that your  Demandbase implementation uses. When Minutes for any Intent is at 0, that type of Intent doesn't get calculated in the ABM reporting. See Steps: Assign Engagement Minutes to Intent Activities.

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