The ultimate guide to intent data

Providing companies with real intent data enables them to learn about their target audience in ways that have never been possible before. Such actionable insights come from analyzing visitor behavior on millions of web pages covering thousands of topics and capturing over one billion visits worth of data per day. Connecting such information with specific publicly available information and various types of statistical data and sometimes connecting some of the dots manually reveals insights that allow anyone to target the right people in the right companies at the right time.

This way businesses can make smarter decisions based on actual user behavior rather than guesswork. In fact, 97% of B2B marketers agree that intent data gives businesses a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

Businesses use intent data for various purposes, so let’s take a closer look at what kind of intent data is available and how companies can benefit from it.


What is intent?

Is there a way to measure user intent or purchase intent?

How do we analyze online user behavior? What happens when someone googles “cybersecurity recruitment agency”? Do they want to work for one? Start one? Do they need one for their business?

What happens if someone from an industrial company starts looking for information on 3D printers? Does that mean you should target that company and try to sell them your 3D printers?

Buyer intent is a measure of the likelihood that a particular search or action is being taken with the aim of finding a specific solution.


What is intent data in B2B?

Intent data reveals when buyers are actively looking for answers and solutions online and which items and services they are interested in based on their web content consumption.

In other words, intent data is a measure of what people in companies actually do when they go to Google and start searching for something related to your business and then consume content related to your offering.

Digital marketing and sales leaders that use intent data have an advantage by understanding which prospects are ready to buy; they avoid wasting time and money on those that are not. The latest research shows that a staggering 99% of large companies use buyer intent data in some shape or form and that those that do not plan to invest in it in the near future.


Own Data vs. Sourced Data

Broadly speaking, most specialists recognize three types of intent data:

    1. First-party data
    2. Second-party data
    3. Third-party data

However, in practice, these three categories can be more effectively reorganized into two: your own data and data from third parties.

1.     Own Data

First-party data is your own data gathered from your business website through website analytics (such as Google Analytics), CRM systems, email marketing software, social media, and more.

This type of data has long been used in marketing qualification strategies. Although there are numerous tools and tricks which allow better utilization of first-party data, in recent years the true innovation and true intent data comes from the marriage of second-party and third-party intent data.

2.     Sourced Data

The real intent data comes in the form of third-party data sourced through billions of individual website visits and analyzed behaviors across millions of pages.

Companies secure data cooperative partnerships with tens of thousands of online publishing houses operating all kinds of websites related to thousands of topics. Those cooperative partnerships exchange data about consumed content, anonymized ID information, and other statistical data, allowing companies to evaluate the significance of one’s browsing behavior. This gives rise to true intent data.

Unlike your own data, sourced data is typically purchased from intent data providers.


How can you use intent data?

Intent data is most effectively utilized by marketing and sales teams and their existing qualification strategies. Here are some examples of how you can use intent data:

1.     Targeting and Personalized Campaigns

Intent data can help create highly personalized online marketing and sales campaigns that target specific companies at the right time. It allows companies to show their prospective buyers only the content that is most relevant for them at the particular step in their buyer journey, which helps to better capture attention and improves sales and marketing ROI (return on investment) or return on ad spend (ROAS).

Intent data can also be used for personalized email marketing campaigns or other methods of direct outbound sales such as traditional calls or more recently emerging LinkedIn outreach campaigns.

70% of B2B technology vendors use intent data for prospecting, while 62% of B2B marketers agree intent data improves their personalization and nurturing workflows. 

2.     Account-Based Marketing

In B2B marketing, account-based marketing (ABM) is a technique that focuses on reaching and engaging a predefined list of target B2B customers. For certain types of B2B businesses, this data driven marketing approach is more effective than traditional mass marketing because they’re only targeting those who should be most perceptive to their message as well as have the highest value potential, which reduces wasted time and resources.

Intent data helps with the timing of ABM and sales outreach campaigns, so sales teams can become more successful in closing deals. Moreover, this leads to the shortening of sales cycles. According to latest research, 52% of B2B tech businesses apply intent data to ABM.

3.     Customer Discovery and ICP Building

Customer discovery involves establishing a common understanding of the customer’s needs and problems. Building an ideal customer profile (ICP) is an important step in the process of customer discovery since it helps to identify the right target audience.

In prospecting for new business opportunities, using intent data can help businesses better understand who is interested in what they have to offer. Moreover, it helps them better identify the type of companies they should be targeting in their sales outreach campaigns so they can communicate effectively with their relevant audiences and drive more conversions to close deals successfully.

4.     Sales and Marketing Alignment

Lead generation is the art of finding and nurturing potential customers before they become actual clients. B2B marketers especially are familiar with the frustration of finding out that the leads they’ve handed over to the sales team are no longer in the sales pipeline.

By using intent data, your marketing and sales departments can work together better and increase their overall efficiency. An alignment between these teams helps them not only to increase the number of leads but also improve lead quality.

Sales and marketing alignment can help B2B sales development representatives (SDRs) become 67% better at closing deals and generate 209% more revenue from marketing operations.


Benefits of Intent Data

Intent data brings benefits to your sales and marketing teams in terms of lead generation, personalization, account-based (ABM) targeting, building customer profiles (ICP), and more.

Here is a summary of the most crucial benefits of using intent data for marketing and sales:

    1. Increased conversion rates
    2. Reduced sales cycle time
    3. Improved customer experience and relationship management
    4. Enhanced ROI for marketing efforts and sales campaigns, activities, initiatives, etc.
    5. More precise marketing and sales targeting
    6. Better prioritization of leads
    7. Uncovering new ICPs, and more.

Overall, intent data can help to improve the effectiveness of your marketing and sales operations, which in turn can lead to increased revenues and profitability for your company.


Why You Should Consider Intent Data Now

Intent data is not a brand new concept – in fact, it has been around for several years. So, why are we highlighting it now?

Simply put, there are several factors that have come together in recent years to make intent data more valuable and actionable than ever before.

First, advertising costs across all platforms have been increasing at a rapid rate, making it more important than ever to focus on campaigns that generate a good return on investment (ROI).

At the same time, more intent data providers are emerging on the market, meaning that the cost of intent data is becoming more affordable. And, as the technology behind intent data collection and analysis continues to evolve, the accuracy and detail of the data are increasing.

Another vital reason why intent data will become increasingly important over the next few years is the deprecation of third-party cookies.

Third-party cookies are the tracking cookies that are placed on a user’s device when they visit a website that is not the same as the one where the cookie was originally placed. These cookies allow marketers to track browsing behavior across multiple websites, and have been used for many years to help identify potential customers.

However, to preserve consumer privacy, Google has declared that it will deprecate third-party cookies. As such, many businesses are scrambling to find new ways to track user behavior across multiple websites and devices.

A clear solution is intent data, which can provide a detailed understanding of user behavior without the need for third-party cookies.


Find The Right Intent Data Provider

If by now you have decided that intent marketing and sales are the way to go for your business (as we hope you have), you need the right intent data providers.

There are many options on the market today, but not all of them provide high-quality data for the regions you want to cover (e.g. US vs. Europe) that will help drive customer acquisition and increase conversion rates. This is why it’s important to choose a company whose services align with your needs as well as those of your potential customers.

Here are some questions you need to ask when choosing an intent data provider:

    1. How is their intent data collected?
    2. Is their intent data high quality?
    3. How much intent data can you realistically process for the yearly price you would be charged?
    4. How do they identify which businesses or individuals the data is from?
    5. Does their data comply with GDPR, CCPA, and similar standards?
    6. What are some of the other companies they’ve worked with?
    7. Will the provider be able to handle your growing demand for more sophisticated data?

By asking these before signing a contract, you will be able to find the best intent data provider for your needs. Remember to do your research and make sure to read reviews of other companies before choosing one.



Without intent data, businesses of the future can’t expect to be successful. Data-driven marketing and sales are powerful tools that allow you to understand your target audience and increase conversions, which leads to more sales.

Crucial benefits of incorporating intent data into your sales and marketing strategy include improved marketing ROIs, more efficient marketing and sales teams, increased customer loyalty and retention, and campaigns that lead to increased conversions and better results.

You need a third-party intent data provider who can provide reliable information on customers’ interests. By asking the right questions before signing up with any company, you can be sure to choose the one that works best for your business.

AI.corns would be more than happy to help you with any questions about intent data, marketing, or sales that you may have. Feel free to contact us for more information.

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