Analysing a customer’s intention at various touch points can help advertisers provide better-targeted ads, reeling in better sales.
Advertising agencies now have a better insight into how their campaigns are performing across platforms. They no longer have to rely on generalised ad impressions or choose the media channels based on a broad set of data.
It’s now easier than ever to target specific audiences across multiple devices and touch points, and the measure the engagement across these touch points. Each engagement can be mapped and measured based on its respective touch point.
This is possible through intent analysis.
Intent analysis is a step ahead of sentiment analysis. While the latter is a common text classification tool that analyses an incoming message and tells whether the underlying sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral, intent analysis tells you all about the user’s intention behind the message. It analyses the message and identifies whether it is an opinion, a query, a marketing note, news, a complaint, a suggestion, or an appreciation.
Intent analysis empowers agencies to provide strategic advice to their clients about what they are doing is right, and what isn’t.
How Does Intent Analysis Work?
Intention analysis seems a lot like sentiment analysis. SaaS provider Lexalytics founder and CEO Jeff Catlin explains the distinction between the two: “Take a simple statement like, ‘I’m gonna buy a new iPhone’. From a sentiment point of view, there isn’t any actual tone in that. You could only interpret that buying a new phone is good news.”
Yet, in a sentence like ‘I’ve been saving like crazy for Black Friday. iPhone 6 here I come!’ There are no words like ‘buy’ or ‘purchase’, even though their intention is to purchase an iPhone,” adds Catlin.
An intent analysis tool would tag the second sentence as follows:
- intention = “buy”
- intended object = “iPhone”
- intendee = “I”
The intent analysis relies on grammar-parsing technology, a part of Natural Language Processing (NLP). “Intention is kind of the sexy feature, but the grammar parser is the key that makes it go, the ability to understand what people are talking about, regardless of content type,” explains Catlin, adding, “We’ve built a grammar-parser for Twitter, which deals with the fact that there’s bad punctuation, weird capitalization, and things like that.”
How to Use Intent Analysis in Advertising?
Intent analysis can be used to place a funnel-stage appropriate, targeted ad in the right place at the right time for a prospect.
This can be made possible using search data as an intent signal. Based on the query, you can determine the prospect’s place in your funnel. This will allow you to tailor your ad copy, landing pages, and offers based on the intent.
For example, if you are looking to buy a smartphone, and start your research online, visiting e-commerce websites as well as brand websites. This allows you to make an informed decision before you buy a smartphone.
That’s where intent targeting comes in. Based on your intent, a smartphone brand can target an ad for you in real-time, providing additional content that can help you make that purchasing decision.
You can segment your audience based on their intent, thereby targeting them effectively. You can segment them into three broad categories based on their stage of the purchase:
- Those in pre-research, browsing stage: Home page visitors, visitors from past 30 days
- Those in research, informational stage: Visitors who’ve viewed multiple blog posts, downloaded content, used a free tool or registered for a webinar
- Those in the recommendation, high intent stage: Visitors who checked your pricing page, those who opted for a demo or a free trial, or abandoned a cart at the purchase stage.
Intent analysis can help an advertiser decide a perfect place to show an ad.
For example, a social media post for a smartphone has the following four comments.
- Feedback: The battery life is not good
- Suggestion: A 12 MP camera would have been better than an 8 MP camera
- Query: Does it have a fingerprint sensor in the front?
- Marketing: Want a better phone than your previous one?
Identifying the pattern of the intention, you can place an ad offering a better phone than the one mentioned by the commentators.
Intent analysis can help solve many problems. In the next few years, advertisers won’t have to rely solely on matching content-based search, or behaviour, but can get more profound insights through intent analysis, increasing engagement and conversions.