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Everything You Need to Know About Intent Data

By Nathan Cavet
Published: 2/1/21

Intent Data (shortened ID) might sound like a new eccentric word, but is in fact a key element in sales force automation and marketing campaigns.

Marketing and sales teams are always looking for the most innovative way to organize their workflows. The good use of intent data could help your company to discover new opportunities that were invisible to your eyes before.

What is intent data? How can it be useful for your activity? Find all the answers you need in this article!


Intent data is the digital footprint you leave when you visit a website or do research on the Internet. This digital footprint can be interpreted as behavioral information. This information contains several elements such as:

  • What the person was looking for
  • The expression of an interest in certain topics
  • How much time this person spends on web pages
  • The customer journey on the internet

Intent Data is created thanks to the tracking of prospects. It can be collected anonymously or not. The latter means that a person has filled out a form and provided their name and information. When it is anonymous, you only have their IP address and other information about their journey online.

Whenever an individual accepts cookies on a website, it is possible to create a “digital profile” based on the actions they took on the website.

Those data help companies to identify needs and opportunities from prospects and therefore, to act at the right timing and succeed in their b2b prospecting.

There are three distinct types of intent data: first, second and third-party. What are the differences between the three of them and which one should you use?

How to gather intent data© InboxInsight

First-Party Intent Data

What Is First-Party Intent Data?

First-party intent data are datasets that you collect from your platforms. That information is your property and yours only.

It has existed for several decades and is an integral part of digital marketing. It is used to optimize a platform according to what individuals are looking for. There are different advantages to using 1st party intent data.


Costs reduced

1st party intent data are collected directly from interactions individuals have with your platforms (website, social media, email). It is cost-saving because you can observe and collect those data within your company. There is no need to buy intent data or for third-party intervention. Several CRM software can help you to organize the data you collect.

Personalized data

The intent data you collect from your platforms is necessarily relevant according to your business and marketing sales team. While with 3rd party intent data you receive a tremendous amount of information, 1st party data allows you to use only pertinent insights of your client portfolio for your company.

You can choose how to collect and store your data. Since it is completely yours you are also able to guarantee its accuracy and authenticity.

However, intent data can sometimes be hard to collect and organize. Therefore many companies take the decision to use online solutions.

For example, ZoomInfo is a powerful prospecting tool that helps your company to grow by observing who is coming on your platforms. With a user-friendly interface, it allows you to track prospective customers accurately and to engage deals with them by giving you their contact information.

Second-Party Intent Data

What Is Second-Party Intent Data?

Second-party intent data is a company’s data that you buy. Essentially, it means that you decide to buy what a company collects from their customers and individuals so that you can enrich your own database.


More relevant insights

Second-party intent data allows your company to learn more from audiences you are not used to working with. It means that you may collect information that you would not otherwise be able to access. Usually, second-party intent data appears between companies from the same sector, or at least linked. For example, a person from a video game company will maybe want to know what people are looking for on an online toy store.


Second-Party Intent data is usually bought from a company you trust and have a good relationship with or a partnership. These kinds of data are almost private and your company and the seller can be the only ones to have access to it. It improves your marketing strategy as you adapt your content to audiences close to yours.

There can be several problems with second-party data. One of them is that all companies have different ways to manage how they process and collect information. Therefore, there can be issues with combining your data with another company’s.

Third-Party Intent Data

What is Third-Party Intent Data?

Third-party intent data, also called B2B data, is a much newer category. It is data purchased from an outside broker. Data brokers create prospect profiles from wide-scale datasets they collect and then sell. You have access to essential information like phone numbers, job titles and even the company of the prospect.


Harvest millions of insights

3rd party intent data allows you to collect a formidable amount of information that you could not hope to collect by yourself. Thanks to the data you obtain as a buyer, you are able to build powerful inbound marketing dedicated to your potential new audiences. Several data providers exist on the internet, allowing you to target specific behavioral signals that interest you.

Receiving different insights opens your mind to new marketing views.

Bombora is able to collect a tremendous amount of B2B data to understand the products or services people are looking for. With the help of demographic and firmographic data, Bombora helps you build strong lead scoring systems.


Asking for a third-party to collect data for you helps you to focus on your activity. You save time but also get more data than you could have if you were doing this without external help.

However, there are also drawbacks to using third-party data:

  • you do not always know where the data come from
  • it might be difficult to combine your existing data with someone else’s
  • it can be hard to filter out irrelevant data efficiently and sort a massive dataset

Which Intent Data to Pick?

Nowadays it is essential to know which individuals are ready to buy or not. It allows your company to be one step ahead of its competitors. The more data you collect, the more precisely you will be able to target prospects and adapt your sales content.

Part of the never-ending process of improving customer relationships, intent data shows its efficiency to personalize always more customer’s journeys on the internet. Zoho CRM combines both a powerful CRM tool and robust data collection and analysis tools. It helps you to know if a lead is likely to accept a deal and if this deal can convert to a sale.

It appears necessary to have a mix between 1st and 3rd party intent data. A 1st party datum gives you insight on your actual environment, while a 3rd party one gives you information on the outside. The correlation of the two combined with 2nd party intent data will push your marketers to explore new possibilities.

To buy or not to buy intent data? The choice is yours to make!

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