What is intent data?

Intent data is a hot topic in the world of marketing and sales. The term broadly refers to intelligence about buyer intent – what B2B buyers and consumers are interested in, what they’ll do next, or purchase next.

In the context of the online world, intent data represents information collected about a web user’s online behavior and interests. When applied strategically by businesses on all levels, intent data has enormous power in pinpointing individuals and companies who are actively buying products or services. A whopping 97% of B2B marketers declare that intent data provides a competitive advantage to all sorts of brands.

This blog post will explore the different types of B2B intent data, how to obtain this information, and how best to leverage it for your business.


Intent Data, A Breakdown

Purchase intent or buying intent is defined as “the likelihood that a customer will make a purchase in the near future.”

In B2B, intent data is often used to predict which customers are in the market for a particular product or service. It is also used to determine what products or services a specific prospect might be interested in. According to the latest research, 99% of large businesses utilize buyer intent data in their B2B marketing and sales campaigns. This type of data can become invaluable in shaping marketing and sales strategies.

Typically, intent data is categorized into the following types:

    1. Zero-party intent data – Data shared by your visitors about their interests or goals
    2. First party intent data – Data collected directly by your company, such as through website analytics, email marketing software, and CRM systems.
    3. Second party intent data – First party data obtained by a different company.
    4. Third party intent data – Data obtained by a third party, such as a publishing house or other large corporation, and sold to other companies.


However, in practice, there is not much difference between second- and third-party data – you still need to find an intent data vendor who can provide the data you need.

This is why intent data can be more easily categorized as:

    1. Own data – data your own company has collected.
    2. Sourced data – data you purchased from an intent data vendor.


Let’s explore these two types a bit more in-depth.

1.     Own Data

Your own data is the same as the first party data described above. It is the information your marketing and sales team collects about your customers and potential buyers through Google analytics, email marketing software, and CRM systems.

This data is important because it is the most accurate representation of your customer base and their interests. Plenty of marketing and sales strategies are based on the understanding that your own data is the best tool for gaining a better perspective of your customers.

However, your own data is not considered intent data in the strictest sense of the word.

Even though there are some interesting innovations happening in this world of first-party data, for now, companies are pretty limited in their ability to track customer behavior on a large scale. This is why it’s important to supplement your own data with real intent data from third-party providers.

2.     Sourced Data

Sourced data represents true intent data purchased from an intent data vendor. This type of data is a collection of information about consumed content, anonymized ID information, and other statistical data. It is sourced through billions of individual web pages and contains the analysis of users’ behavior across millions of websites.

This aggregation of data is typically done by intent data providers that use the following methods:

        1. Tapping into data that advertising networks collect when a person visits a website with ads on it. It can include information such as device type, IP address, sometimes even location or demographic data.
        2. Collecting data shared across digital environments by publishers, apps, and websites.
        3. Using data collected by a publisher from their network of websites and apps.


Sourced data is the best way to get started with intent data. You can periodically get a list of companies which became interested in topics related to your offering. It is also the most actionable data because it can be used to create targeted content and ads.

The great thing about intent data is that it can be easily integrated into your marketing and sales campaigns.

However, as with any type of information, intent data must be collected and analyzed responsibly.


The Right Intent Data Provider

Your company might have already tried purchasing data from an intent data vendor before. However, it’s important to realize that not all data is created equal.

Not all intent data vendors are created equal either.

When looking for a vendor, make sure to ask the following questions:

    1. How is their intent data collected?
    2. What are some of the websites they collect their data from?
    3. How do they know which businesses or contacts are consuming the content?
    4. Is their data compliant with all the relevant privacy standards, such as GDPR or CCPA?
    5. What are some other clients that are also using their data?
    6. Is there a way to test their data before you commit to it?


Based on the answers to these, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether this provider is right for you.


What is intent data used for?

The main purpose of intent data is to provide you with the list of prospective buyers when it comes to the product or service you specify. Besides the ability to target the right accounts at the right time, these insights can guide businesses in developing go-to-market strategies, inbound and outbound campaigns or simply prioritizing their sales and marketing efforts.

When implemented correctly, intent data can have a dramatic impact on business success. For example, a B2B marketer can find people actively interested in purchasing the product or service being offered instead of relying solely upon website visitors. Intent data allows your sales and marketing teams to generate leads, personalize content, target specific accounts (account based marketing, ABM), develop customer profiles (ideal customer profile, ICP), and more.

It’s important to note that intent data is not meant to replace first-party information about customers already on your contact list. Instead, it is best to use this information as additional insight into user intent, content consumption, and similar.

Here is a list of the most significant benefits of using intent data in your sales and digital marketing processes:

    1. More effective targeting for ad campaigns (Google itself says that ads served with intent signals have a 40% higher purchase intent lift compared to ads served with only demographic signals.)
    2. Increased qualified leads
    3. Improved customer acquisition
    4. Increased conversion rates and revenue-per-customer metrics
    5. Shorter sales cycles
    6. Better prioritization of leads
    7. Increased customer loyalty


As you can see, intent data is a powerful tool that helps marketing and sales teams get ahead of the competition by targeting prospective customers who are already interested in their product or service – instead of simply guessing what might be interesting to them.


Can your business benefit from intent data?

Too often, businesses gather the relevant intent data and then don’t know what to do with it.

Here are some key questions you should ask yourself to determine your company’s need for intent data:

    1. Are you a B2B business looking to find new avenues for growth?
    2. Do you feel your conversion rate from lead to an opportunity should be improved?
    3. Does your company have a long or complicated sales cycle? – Even though intent data is useful in any sales cycle, complex or lengthy buyer journeys are best served by this type of information.
    4. Can your systems handle the influx of intent data? – Organizations using the most intent data are typically equipped with CRM and marketing automation tools to manage the influx of information.
    5. Can your team properly process the intent data? – Whatever type of intent data you’re getting, your sales and marketing teams need to be able to interpret it. You will likely receive a lot of information on new potential customers, but not all of it will be useful. Extracting the important data your teams can act on will take dedication and expertise.
    6. Do you have the budget to purchase intent data? – Sourced data can range in price depending on the volume of information and its quality, however the ROIs often significantly surpass other marketing and sales investments.



Intent data is defined as sales and marketing intelligence. It shows you which buyers are ready for your product or service. On the online front, intent data represents information collected about a web user’s online behavior and interests.

Using intent data responsibly can help marketers and sales reps get ahead of the competition by targeting people who are already interested in their product or service.

Businesses need intent data all the time, especially when they have a long and complicated sales cycle or are failing to fill their pipeline with qualified leads. They need to make sure they set-up the right process to work with newly obtained information efficiently and can properly interpret what they’re receiving. Cost barriers of obtaining intent data have been lowered significantly in the past years and with the right provider companies can reap the benefits of significantly improved ROIs (return on investments) in marketing and sales.

To find a good intent data provider, ask questions about how the data is collected (i.e., from which websites) and if there is a way to test it before you commit.

If you’d like to know more about intent data and how you can successfully leverage it for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us at AI.corns. We’d be happy to walk you through our tools and help you make an informed decision about how intent data can help your company.

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