What Is Intent Data? How to Identify Buyers Faster

What Is Intent Data? How to Identify Buyers Faster

JK Sparks 7 min

Your finger holds a lot more power than you think. 


Every click, search, and interaction it makes online carries a wealth of information (both daunting and exciting, we know).


It is no surprise then, that the ability to understand and interpret this data can significantly empower a business. 


The name for this? Intent data—a tool that has reshaped how marketing and sales teams approach their strategies. At its core, intent data reveals the intention behind a user’s online behavior, whether they’re leaning towards a purchase, considering competitors, or merely exploring options. 


This article will get into the nitty gritty of this b2b intent data, with a particular focus on the capabilities of first-party intent data (more on this shortly) and how leveraging it can revolutionize your marketing efforts.



We’ll peel back the layers of b2b intent data and distinguish between first-party and third-party sources. We will also get into the methodologies that gauge accuracy. From there, we’ll look at the benefits of first-party intent data, from customizing marketing outreach to refining lead prioritization. Finally, we’ll highlight the role of b2b intent data in enhancing marketing strategies, with a focus on how owned media software can be your ally in gathering this data for impactful results.


Ready to unlock the potential of intent data? Let’s get into it. 


What is Intent Data?

Often referred to as buyer intent data or purchase intent data, it encapsulates the digital footprints left online.


Every search query, website visit, and content interaction reveals the user’s underlying intentions—be it an interest in purchasing, researching competitors, or seeking solutions to a problem.


As you can imagine, this is some of the most valuable data on the internet. 


Businesses that can understand intent data gain a sixth sense. It empowers marketing and sales leaders with the ability to not just see, but interpret the silent signals potential buyers give through their online behavior. 


It allows businesses to anticipate needs, tailor communications, and ultimately, guide prospects through the sales funnel with a personalized touch.


With this use intent data, businesses can transition from casting wide nets with generic messaging to employing sniper-like precision in their marketing efforts, saving time and money. This not only enhances the efficiency of campaigns but also elevates the customer experience by ensuring that interactions are timely, relevant, and, most importantly, welcome.


First-party intent data vs. third-party intent data

Understanding the distinction between first-party and third-party sources is crucial for a data-driven marketing strategy that resonates. Both types offer valuable insights, but their origins, applications, and implications for privacy and accuracy can vary significantly.


First-party data: The insider’s view

First-party data is the gold standard in the world of marketing data. 


This information is collected directly from your audience through your own digital properties, such as your website, app, or customer feedback mechanisms. It includes but is not limited to:

  • Website analytics (page views, time spent on site, etc.)

  • Customer feedback and surveys

  • Email engagement metrics

  • Subscription and registration data


The primary advantage of first-party data is its relevance and accuracy


Since it’s gathered directly from your interactions with your audience, it gives you an unfiltered view of their preferences, behaviors, and intents – essentially, data gold. It’s like having an ongoing conversation with your customers, where they reveal their needs and desires directly to you. What more could you want?


Third-party data: The broader perspective

On the other side of the spectrum is third-party data. This type of data is collected by entities that don’t have a direct relationship with the user whose data is being collected. 


It’s often aggregated from various sources and can include a wide range of information, from demographic details to browsing behaviors on other websites. 


Third-party data providers might collect this information through:

  • Data partnerships between websites

  • Cookie-based tracking across the web

  • Social media interactions

  • Purchase of data sets from other companies


While third-party data can provide a broader perspective and help fill in the gaps left by first-party data, it comes with its own set of challenges. Issues like data privacy concerns, accuracy, and relevance can make third-party data a less reliable source for making critical marketing decisions. Beyond all of that, various forms of regulation are making third-party data more and more difficult to collect. 


Choosing the Right Data for Your Strategy

Something critical to remember: the key to leveraging use intent data effectively lies in understanding the strengths and limitations of both first-party and third-party data. 


First-party data, with its direct line to your audience, offers insights into their behaviors and preferences, making it an invaluable asset for personalized marketing efforts. Third-party data is more broad and varied and can help expand your understanding of market trends and customer segments beyond your existing audience.


Knowing your end goal as a marketing org will help you narrow down the type of data you are hoping to collect. 


How do you measure the accuracy of intent data?

Forbes said it right: "Quality over quantity in intent data is crucial, especially in challenging economic environments." So, measuring the accuracy of use intent data is everything, especially in b2b marketing where you could be making some fairly expensive decisions based on it. 


The process involves understanding the methodologies behind tracking and interpreting user behavior, with a focus on two primary approaches: 

  • Monitoring topics

  • Monitoring keywords. 


Let’s break them down. 


Monitoring topics: The thematic approach

Topic monitoring involves tracking user interactions with specific themes or subjects across various online platforms. 


This method is effective for understanding broader interest areas and can help businesses align their content with market trends. It’s important to note though that the accuracy of topic monitoring relies on the sophistication of the algorithms used, as well as the number of sources monitored.


Key considerations for assessing the accuracy of topic monitoring include:

  • Relevance of sources: Are the sites and platforms relevant to your target audience?

  • Contextual understanding: The ability of the monitoring tool to distinguish between positive, negative, or neutral mentions.

  • Relevance: Ensuring that the insights gained are reflective of current trends and interests.


Monitoring keywords: The precision approach

Keyword monitoring, on the other hand, focuses on tracking specific words or phrases that users might enter into search engines or mention on social media platforms. 


This approach is a more granular view of intent signals, allowing businesses to pinpoint exact areas of interest or concern. It helps you understand the specific needs and questions your audience has, enabling targeted content creation and advertising.


Factors to consider when measuring the accuracy of keyword monitoring include:

  • Keyword selection: Choosing keywords that accurately reflect your business and customer interests.

  • Search volume and trends: Analyzing this over time to gauge the significance and relevance of specific keywords.

  • Competitive analysis: How competitors are ranking for the same keywords and the strategies they use.


Striking the right balance

To be the best marketer you can be, you will want to combine elements of both topic and keyword monitoring. 


By balancing the broad insights gained from topic monitoring with the precise data from keyword tracking, businesses can develop a unique understanding of their audience’s intent. 


Benefits of first-party intent data

If you haven’t realized by now, first-party use intent data is one of the best-kept secrets in the marketing world (but soon to be very well-known). We here at AudiencePlus are well aware of the advantages – so no gatekeeping – let’s list out why first-party data is so powerful:


1. Customize marketing outreach

As mentioned, first-party intent data provides a deep understanding of individual customer behaviors, preferences, and pain points. 


This knowledge lets businesses craft personalized marketing messages that resonate on a personal level, to the point where you can start to engage in lifecycle marketing. Instead of broad, one-size-fits-all campaigns, you can now create targeted content, offers, and messages that speak directly to the needs and interests of different segments of your audience. 


This not only improves engagement rates but also fosters a stronger connection with your customers.


2. Identify buyers

With first-party intent data, you can identify not just who is interacting with your brand, but how and why they are doing so. This is perfect for ABM (account-based marketing). 


This allows for a better understanding of who your potential buyers are, at what stage of the buyer journey they currently stand, and what specific actions might indicate a readiness to purchase. Armed with this information, you can tailor your sales approach to meet them where they are, increasing the likelihood of conversion.


3. Prioritize leads

One of the biggest challenges in sales and marketing is lead prioritization. First-party intent data can highlight which leads are most engaged and likely to convert, based on their interactions with your content, products, and services. 


This means you can focus your efforts on nurturing the leads with the highest potential, optimizing resource allocation, and maximizing ROI.


4. Improve marketing efforts

First-party intent data also provides a feedback loop for your marketing strategies. 


By analyzing how different segments of your audience interact with your content and campaigns, you can continually refine and improve your approach. This ongoing optimization leads to more effective marketing campaigns over time, as you learn what resonates best with your audience and adapt your strategies accordingly.


Why Does Intent Data Matter?

Within the world of B2B sales, data and insights are huge tactical advantages. “Intent data has caught on with sales and marketing teams because it can narrow the focus of these efforts and reduce wasted costs”, says Forbes. So, what then, are some of the other advantages that teams are waking up to? 

  • Anticipates customer needs: Intent data allows businesses to craft solutions that are proactive rather than reactive.

  • Personalizes customer experiences: Businesses can tailor every experience, making each engagement not just a transaction but a conversation.

  • Enhances content strategy: Content strategy becomes a targeted endeavor elevating engagement and brand perception.

  • Optimizes for conversion: Intent data aligns abm offerings with customer expectations, maximizing the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

  • Pinpoints expansion opportunities: Intent data reveals untapped markets and aligns business ventures with tangible demand.


Leverage first-party intent data with AudiencePlus

So you want to leverage first-part data but you aren’t exactly sure how to or where to start? No worries, we got you. 


AudiencePlus can transform your approach to leveraging first-party intent data. 


It provides access to rich, first-party data at both individual and account levels, allowing you to understand your audience’s behaviors, preferences, and needs with depth and accuracy, all the while creating your own media company. 


How does it do it? The platform enables marketing teams to build and own their digital presence effortlessly (videos, articles, and more), attracting and engaging their target audience in a space they control. This autonomy over your digital environment is crucial for collecting high-quality, first-party intent data.


To truly understand the impact of first-party intent data and the transformative potential of AudiencePlus, experiencing the platform firsthand is invaluable. Book a demo, where you can explore how to build your own media property, gain deep audience insights, and drive conversions by activating first-party intent data. 



JK Sparks | About the Author

Head of Marketing, AudiencePlus

JK is allergic to the words “guru, ninja, and hack” when used to describe anything marketing related. Instead of chasing the latest “growth hack,” he’s focused on building sustainable and predictable levers that fuel long term success. By implementing this approach over the last decade, JK has helped organizations in both bootstrapped and well-funded environments scale from <$100K to more than $100M in revenue. You can follow him here.

JK Sparks 7 min

What Is Intent Data? How to Identify Buyers Faster

Discover the power of first party intent data and how to leverage it effectively with AudiencePlus’s insightful guide.

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