A Twitter user tweets "I love this latte", a Facebook user comments on a post from Car & Driver Magazine, and a Pinterestuser pins their 5th wedding dress. Each of these actions may establish an "intent" to buy a certain product or type of product. And targeting intents related to a brand's business can open up access to huge potential customers.
Facebook and Twitter already offer the ability to target these intents in their advertising platforms. The Wall Street Journal reports that Pinterest, a social network based on nothing but Intent, will be significantly improving their targeting to include Intents in 2015.
Twitter's broad match capability lets brands target the phrase "love coffee", which is smart enough to include synonyms for love - "Luv" and "Adore" - and various types of of coffee - "latte" and "espresso". A brand using this targeting could show promoted tweets to these users with discounts on their own coffee.
On Facebook, targeting intent is done in the "Behaviors" section of the Ad manager. Rather than using keywords, there is a defined set of categories based on a combination of Facebook and Partner data ( Acxiom, DLX, etc.). Unfortunately, this also means that much of this data is US-only which can significantly reduce the utility for international brands. But, again, being able to offer a relevant deal to someone who is likely to buy a new pair of Jeans is very valuable for a clothing company.
Pinterest currently only allows targeting by demographic information or type of device, but Don Faul, Pinterest's Head of Operations, has promised that they will "get out to market and to iterate very quickly" this year.
All of those signify an intent to buy - users are pinning things they want versus things they have. So, unlocking that data will be a huge opportunity for brands.
Are you already using Intent as a part of your social media marketing? Have your experiences with this type of targeting met your expectations? Let us know in the comments.