What is Buyer Intent Data?

As the name suggests, buyer intent data is information about your target audience that indicates an increased interest (or intent) in buying a product like yours. This data can be used to build targeted sales and marketing campaigns, personalize the content on your website, build ad retargeting lists, and much more. In this article, we will discuss the different types of buyer intent data as well as some of the benefits and limitations of each. 

Buyer intent data usually comes in three different flavors:

  1. First-Party Intent Data: First-party intent data is data collected by you about your audience across your digital properties that indicate an elevated interest (or intent) to purchase. This could include things like visiting a certain number of pages on your website, email interactions, content downloads, form fills, and more. Each one of these actions can be scored to indicate a visitor’s level of interest and can inform the outreach action this visitor might be receptive to.

    Leveraging first-party data is like having your prospective customers telling you exactly what they want, how interested they are, and exactly when you should reach out to them.

    Benefits: The main benefits of using first-party data are cost, ownership, and reliability. Because first-party intent data is gathered through an established relationship between you and your audience, it is generally considered more reliable and valuable than any other type of intent data.

    In addition, since you collect the data yourself you don’t need to purchase this data from any second- or third-party data suppliers. Once you’ve set up your collection platforms, you can just sit back and start collecting.

    The last (and arguably best) thing about first-party data is the fact that you own it and thus can use it for whatever you want – there are no companies telling you what you can and cannot do with this data. This also opens up the door for greater customization and flexibility with this data since you can define and collect any custom criteria or data points that are important to you.

    Limitations: The limitations of first-party intent data are reach and scalability. Since this data is collected about your specific audience, you are limited to only gathering insights on the number of visitors browsing your site and visiting your digital assets. For example, if your website only gets 300 users and only a handful of content downloads per month, it will be hard to build audiences and set up a targeting campaign based on an audience of this size.
  2. Second-Party Data: Have you heard the old saying: “One company’s first-party data is another company’s second-party data?” Probably not, but that’s essentially what second-party data is – another company's first party data that you purchase directly from them.

    Benefits: Second-party data helps to tackle the potential scalability issue of using first-party data by increasing the pool of audience data on which you can build campaigns. Additionally, building relationships with second-party data suppliers fosters trust and collaboration and can be highly beneficial for both companies.

    Limitations: While second-party data solves the main scalability issue of first-party data, it is not without its drawbacks. Just like with first-party data, you are again limited to only the first-party reach of the company you are buying from.

    Furthermore, companies are not giving this data away for free. Gaining access to another company’s first-party data often requires either payment and/or access to your first-party data in exchange. This also brings up the issue of control. Since you do not own second-party data, you are limited by what the data supplier allows you to do with it, and also run the risk of losing that data if they so choose.

    Finally, the issue of data quality cannot be overlooked. Unlike data collected by you, second-party data is collected by others meaning you have no control or even knowledge of exactly how and when the data was collected.

  3. Third-Party Intent Data: Third-party data is defined as activities, events, and intelligence across multiple different sources aside from those taking place on a website. Actions that could signal increased third-party intent are things like social media engagement, participation in online forums, review site activity, off-site research, and more. This data is then aggregated into third-party intent audiences and sold as a package on which you can build audiences and campaigns.

    Benefits: Because third-party data is gathered from multiple sources, there is a nearly endless amount available which greatly increases your reach. This makes building audiences and campaigns much easier.

    Limitations: Because third-party vendors base their data on inferred or implicit traits rather than actual audience responses, it could be seen as less reliable than first or second-party data. Furthermore, just like second-party data, since you do not own the data you are bound by the restrictions set up by the third-party data supplier. Finally, most companies will have access to the same third-party data pools meaning the audience data you purchase can easily be acquired and used by your competitors.

While we cannot know exactly what our potential customers are thinking, leveraging intent data can give us valuable insights into what they are looking for. Intent data can also be a powerful predictor of which companies are more likely to buy right now – giving you valuable insight into who you should be focusing your messaging on to drive better sales and marketing campaigns and increase your conversion rates and ultimately revenue.

If you want to learn more about how intent data can supercharge your sales and marketing efforts, contact us to speak with one of our intent data experts today!