We all know there is no shortage of data for marketers. Data provides realms of useful insights around customer behavior and habits. But what should be a focus, and how do marketers uncover the gold nuggets?

To begin, look within…

Not all data is created equal. Internal and external, each source has its benefits. But it’s a brand’s intent data that is a marketer’s best bet. Intent data focuses on the signals that indicate a person is in-market for your product. Think about Google: they have a magic box that everyone in the world goes to and types in exactly what they intend to buy, where they intend to travel, etc. That’s a powerful kind of data – it provides insight into how people are thinking, and how what they’re thinking about is connected.

What lots of marketers don’t realize is that every business has an intent data set generated by visitors’ behavior on your site or mobile app- aka their first party data.

Now, I know marketers have always had access to first party data, but it wasn’t until we saw a rise in online marketing that it became all the rage. It’s now more important than ever. Why? Because it’s completely unique to a brand, and provides the strongest performance as the only data source that reflects a strong indication of customer intent.

Unlike third party data, which provides users who ‘might be interested’ in a product or service, first party data shows exactly what a potential customer is interested in. It can also show how interested they are – did they look at that shirt for three seconds or two minutes? Did they look at it in four different colors?

These insights help brands determine what the customer is looking for and then serve relevant, personalized content at scale. Let’s say you’re serving an ad to a customer who just bought a new pair of dress shoes – it may be more successful for you to show this customer an ad for dress socks over a generic brand advertisement, because it will resonate with the complimentary purchase they just made. Intent data is powerful because it can be collected and acted upon in real-time.

How is intent data collected?

Retargeting was one of the first channels to leverage intent data and has really allowed marketers to showcase the power of this type of targeting. At AdRoll, this is due to the ability to segment audiences and leverage data across multiple channels such as desktop, social media and mobile. It provides a truly singular customer view.

To collect first party data, a pixel is placed on a potential customer’s website. This pixel allows the retargeter to collect the invisible bread crumbs potential customers scatter as they browse around the web, and determine what these customers find interesting. Brands are then able to serve relevant, action-provoking content based on customer intent.

So how do I leverage intent data?

With intent data, marketers can create completely customized campaigns for specific customers based on products and services viewed and level of interest across different touch points. With today’s customers becoming increasingly fragmented and having access to so many different channels, this is a pretty big deal for marketers.

For example, take AdRoll customer VendHQ. The cloud software company wanted to re-engage visitors who browsed the website, but hadn’t yet signed up. By using intent data to create targeted audience segments on Facebook, they saw a 1.2% click through rate on Facebook Mobile News Feed campaigns. These qualified new leads were not only the brands exact target audience, but they were also acquired at a 50% lower CPA than any other marketing tool VendHQ had previously used.

Beyond increasing sales, brands can also leverage intent data to promote content and brand affinity. For instance, educational organizations and B2B brands use it to build awareness among recruits and potential customers. Retail brands use it to increase customer lifetime value through loyalty campaigns.

Intent data helps marketers meet multiple marketing goals beyond just identifying a customer’s objective. Brands can now take action and interact with that customer directly. No other data source can offer brands this opportunity. First party data is a brand’s most valuable asset, and in today’s world should be a marketer’s first priority.

To learn more about how marketers are using first party data to meet diverse marketing objectives, download our free guide: Next Level Retargeting