Consumer Intent is the atomic unit of the consumer web and the most interesting form of consumer intent (to advertisers at least) is the “purchase intent”: the intent of a consumer to buy a product/service. Every digital marketing effort is aimed to track the consumers’s evolving intent, aka, their buying journey, and targeting them with the right message at the right moment. One company that has succeeded tremendously in capturing user intent and monetizing it is Google! Anytime a user enters a search on Google the user is explicitly expressing an intent to either learn, compare, try or buy something and it provides digital advertisers the opportunity to target user intent at the exact moment that it is expressed, at scale. This simple concept of meeting user demand with sponsored content has resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry.
Interestingly, although Search Engines provide a scalable way of fulfilling the user intent, the “Intent” is actually generated elsewhere during the course of a day; in conversations at the dinner table, on the phone with friends, while watching tv or chatting via Social Media. For example, you see an ad about Jamaican Tourism on TV and you talk to your friends about it for a month before agreeing to actually plan a vacation and then start searching online. Your intent was generated and your buying journey started long before you reached for the search engine. On the other hand, platforms that let you share information and banter with your friends and network are aware of your intents at the very early stages of awareness! Yes I am talking about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, WhatsApp.
Take a look at your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds and you will notice people talking about fashion, electronics, travel, entertainment, food etc. Sharing a picture of the latest Starbucks Mocha or asking for suggestions for place to stay in Texas or asking for reviews on the latest Android Phone are all examples of consumer intent and should be extremely valuable to marketers. Imagine talking about how you love the latest U2 Album on Facebook and you are presented with a message to download the song on iTunes, or you posted a question on Twitter about the safety feature of the new Kia Optima and you see appropriate content about how Kia won the top safety rating in your country. How wonderful would that be instead of seeing teeth whitening or other generic ads that we’ve become annoyed by and blind to! [See the example below by Hunter Walk]
Everyday, marketers hear complaints from consumers about advertisements being unrelated or spammy while they notice performance of their media dollars decline. The solution to this double-edged problem is serving more relevant and contextual ads, a win-win for both consumers and brands. If the rich, organic, user-generated intent on social networks can be successfully mined, it is exceedingly probable that Social Media will provide higher ROI on marketing dollars than search engines [See Facebook’s Recent Performance ] Because, as a consumer, if the platform you’re in is fulfilling your demands instantly, why go search on Google!
So what role does LeadSift play here? We are launching a new platform:Audience Intent Miner (AIM), end of this month to help digital marketers capture the intent stream to reach consumers at every stage of the buying journey. Will have more updates on this soon!
Still early days for us, but we are already seeing the tremendous potential of intent based Ad Targeting. If we can achieve our mission of mining all user intent from the public web, Advertisement will not be considered as irrelevant/frustrating anymore.