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B2B Intent data explained: Will your privacy remain intact?

Let’s make one thing clear: not all B2B Intent data is created equal. Here’s why.

As a consumer, you might regularly think about how your online data is collected, how it’s being used, and by whom. Will your privacy remain intact?

But as a marketing or sales professional, you want to get your hands on the best possible data so you can understand your prospect’s position in the buying cycle and what buttons you can push to move them quickly toward the sale.

These two vastly different worlds, with opposite goals, collide at the point where you ask the question – ‘what happens when my data isn’t collected and distributed in the right way or, even worse, illegally?’

Typically sales and marketing professionals benefit the most from quality B2B Intent data. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Intent data is drawn from web users’ behavior that shows what products and services they are interested in.

Intent data tells you when buyers are actively researching online for a solution, and which products and services they are interested in, based on the web content they consume.

This data allows prospecting professionals to understand potential customers’ engagement interest long before they’ve entered their sales funnel. Sales teams can curate a focused prospecting strategy around potential customers actually primed for buying, understanding their unique needs as revealed through the lens of their online activity.

Types of Intent data collection

While the opportunity Intent data presents (especially during these turbulent times!) is great, a few technical hurdles and ethical boundaries prevent many interested parties from simply tapping into this data. Not all collection practices in the B2B Intent data world are truly created equal.

We’ll address two of the most common collection practices and why they may not offer you what you’d expect.

Do you know where your Intent data comes from

Bidstream data

Bidstream data is collected from ad-exchanges. This type of data is essentially derived from any website with advertising space available through ad exchanges that buyers can bid on, and only from ad impressions that are available for auction.

The intent of prospects is surfaced when businesses interact with keywords that are scraped from content on webpages, without any context or cadence of the interactions with the keyword. There is no baseline of regular consumption as historical norms are not gathered over time in the Bidstream approach. This collection method might not be GDPR compliant and potentially violate certain publisher agreements.

Bombora Co-op Intent data

Conversely, Bombora Co-op Intent data, used to produce Bombora’s Company Surge® Analytics, comes from a highly curated collection of 5,000+ B2B websites where user research is monitored, giving sales leaders the benefit of a more comprehensive view of their target accounts’ purchase intent.

As part of the largest Data Co-op in the B2B Intent data market, Co-op members must sign up by executing an agreement and then deploying the Bombora tag that collects content and information on participating websites, including those that do not have ads. This collection offers research around visit frequency, depth of engagement, and content relevancy which gives businesses better insight into a prospect’s overall position in the buying journey.

Risk and compliance

As data protection laws become more stringent and additional regulations, firms must be vigilant when it comes to both how they use data and the businesses they engage with for its collection.

“While much has been written about GDPR and its impact on marketers and consumers, the primary takeaway is that individuals are now in control of their personally identifiable information (including location, devices, and anything else that can be tied back to a user).” – Erik Matlick, Founder and CEO, Bombora

Using illegally obtained Bidstream data is a violation of the IAB terms.

Johnny Ryan of Brave Insights, a private and secure web browser provider, points out that real-time bidding would be incompatible with consent under GDPR. From a compliance perspective, B2B Intent data providers relying on Bidstream stand on very weak ground. Some of them have tried to get around this limitation by relying on IP addresses as an identifier of account-level activity, but this kind of Intent tends to be noisy and less accurate.

Co-operatives obtain network-wide consent from their visitors on first contact. This practice makes both GDPR and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) compliance more favorable and credible. Bombora specifically obtains consent and provides web users the opportunity to opt out of the sale of their personal data.

The Bombora Intent data difference

So what makes Bombora’s Company Surge® Analytics a B2B Intent data solution marketers can trust? Forrester says, “Bombora’s content consumption model has become the de facto standard in B2B marketing for third-party behavioral data to indicate intent.”

1. Data is collected through an exclusive Data Co-op

Bombora monitors content consumption at a business level through an exclusive collection of premium business publishers, analysts, vendors, and content syndication providers to produce one of the most trustworthy sources of B2B Intent data.

Over 70% of those sites are exclusive to Bombora. This allows prospecting firms to access a massive pooled dataset that details business firmographics and purchase intent across the B2B web at massive scale. Company Surge® Intent data monitors content consumption on a business level to detect when businesses are in the market for a particular product or service.

Ultimately, sales and marketing professionals have an easier and more successful job when they can drill down on account qualifying activities and dive in at the right time during the sales process.

2. Consent is obtained

Responsible prospecting and general business practices protect your customers’ information and data. If that data is obtained in the wrong way from day one, what assurances do they have their data will be protected throughout your relationship?

Publishers are responsible for obtaining consent and providing the web visitor with the opportunity to opt out of the sale of their data. Bombora utilizes OneTrust as a CMP and provides data subjects the ability to submit DSARs and opt out.

This ensures user trust and that consumer privacy is maintained at the highest level to meet B2B marketers’ needs worldwide. The only safe, legal, and responsible option for B2B Intent data is customer information collected in a way that offers valuable insights around the buying journey that sales teams need to secure those potentially fleeting relationships. Sourcing data this way adheres to current and expected future privacy laws, which is one reason Bombora is built for longevity with sustainability (and your privacy concerns) at the core. 

3. Engagement is scored against a historical baseline, with context

The largest of its kind, Bombora’s Co-op approach to B2B Intent data collection makes possible a consistent and stable historical baseline measuring business-level content consumption. This baseline effectively spans the B2B web, delivering at an exponential scale greater than any one site.

There are other Intent providers out there, but they don’t have as many sources and they’re not the original raw data feeds that Bombora has.  Through Bombora’s Data Co-op of over 5,000 B2B publishers, website behavior, and content consumption activities of over 2.7 million businesses are constantly monitored. These activities are aggregated into intent, demographic, and firmographic data segments that represent a strong indicator of business purchase intent.

Privacy policies, regulations, legalities — oh my! B2B Intent can be a lot to understand when you’re new to the game. Let us know if you have any questions and check out the critical differences between Bidstream vs. Company Surge® Intent data in this infographic.

See more resources about B2B Intent data privacy

Bombora Intent data vs. Bidstream Intent data

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What is the data co-op?

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Built on sustainability: Bombora’s core values both employees and customers

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