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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : April 18, 2012

Brands: Why you need intent, not just behavior

Brands have been fighting the re-engagement battle with online shoppers for years. One solution, Intent Media, helps to monetize the more than 90% of website visitors who leave without making a purchase. They do this by identifying actions and then targeting relevant content to these users.

by Kristina Knight

Richard Harris, CEO, Intent Media: Intent Marketing has three attributes: it's consumer driven ("I want a flight from NYC to Chicago"), it corresponds to the specific consumer request (ad showing "see flights from NYC to Chicago" NOT "Discount Chicago Tours"), and it is immediate (the expressed intent and the ad/offer happen concurrently).

Kristina: While it sounds very consumer friendly and relevant, it also sounds like a fairly constraining set of attributes. Is this a high yield, but small-scale opportunity?

Richard: It is about high yield, but it's also a huge market and getting a lot bigger. Search engine marketing is Intent Marketing. It's customer driven and immediate and in the majority of cases the ad corresponds to the customer request. I think last Holiday saw $7 billion in SEM spend on Google. And now it's increasingly possible to do true Intent Marketing beyond sites like Google. There are these large pools of very granular consumer intent on e-commerce sites for example. And with 3% conversion rates, that leaves the bulk of these sites' traffic--and the intent they express-- going completely un-monetized. And yet you have the consumers clearly saying 'I am look for a camera' or a flight or a golf club. That's exactly the right place and right time for a marketer target against that expressed need.

Kristina: How is intent marketing different from behavioral targeting?

Richard: Although behavioral targeting quite often draws on inferred or expressed intent, it happens after the fact and often is related to the intent rather than specific to it (e.g., I looked for a flight to NYC, and later I get shown a Lion King offer). Don't get me wrong, BT is a powerful tool for marketers. But with Intent Marketing you get a big boost from the specificity and timeliness that BT doesn't have. You're giving the consumer exactly what they are asking for, exactly when they asked for it. So the relevance is off the charts.

Kristina: How does the emergence of social media impact Intent Marketing?

Richard: I recently noticed the term 'Intent Graph' being put forward. As things currently stand, I'm skeptical that social can or even should try and bolt intent marketing onto itself. Social is inherently the wrong time/wrong place. It's not a commerce environment for the most part. I think social marketers are still looking for the right model. They're at the phase where they are trying to retro-fit existing ad models onto a metaphor which those models didn't previously contemplate. We saw something similar at the dawn of Intent-driven advertising, with early mobile ads, probably even with the first TV ads. Eventually we'll get the right model that takes advantage of the unique strengths and impediments of social as a marketing channel. There are a lot of smart people working on that so it's going to happen.

Tags: advertising metrics, ecommerce trends, Intent Media, intent targeting, online advertising, online content

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