What is Second-Party Intent Data, and Why Use it in B2B Marketing?

April 19, 2023
Contributor: Danika Schmidt

Fuel your marketing strategy, advertising campaigns, and sales with actionable insights from second-party intent data.

One of the most significant challenges for B2B marketers today is reaching and influencing buyers with little-to-no vsibility into their behavior. An average software buyer spends just two minutes on a seller’s website but spends hours a day online[1] gathering information from independent sources such as online review sites, research reports, and analysts.

While all intent data can help marketers increase their visibility, second-party intent data from a trusted provider has the potential to give you more actionable insights than the other types.

Let’s explore the role of second-party intent data along with other intent data types (first-party or third-party) and why B2B marketers should look into it to grow their sales pipeline.

What is second-party intent data, and how is it different?

Intent data is derived from user behavior data such as search history, web visits, ad clicks, and page conversions. In turn, a provider's intent data is derived from the relationship the provider has with a user as they collect that behavior data. For example, first-party intent data is collected from your own channels (e.g., website interactions and email campaigns), and it is considered first-party because you have a direct relationship to the user as you follow them across your website, user communities, and content hubs. 

Second-party intent data is behavioral data collected by an organization that has a direct relationship with the user, like a software. This data is usually collected through a proprietary blend of user registration, product interactions, and on-site behavior tracking that provides helpful context about how to action the data. Once the provider collects this data, they usually aggregate and anonymize it to protect user privacy before selling this information. 

Third-party intent data, on the other hand, is collected when the provider has an indirect relationship with the user while it was being collected. These providers are monitoring thousands and even millions of websites through advertising networks, data sharing, cookies, and search history. These providers typically aggregate the intent data into topical categories using keyword analysis, and then anonymize it to meet the standards of broader data privacy regulations. While it offers far-reaching market coverage, key words may offer internal stakeholders less direction on how to action it. It may even require additional processing to clean.

As you can see below, each type of intent data has its merits, which is why a comprehensive intent data strategy involves blending all three types. Specifically, second-party intent data complements the others by helping you capture mid-funnel intent data so you can follow buyers from the very earliest stages in their search → through building their shortlists → onto your website.

Use cases of second-party intent data

Gartner research shows that the average conversion rate at the top of the marketing funnel is 6%[2], but organizations using intent data are two times more likely to have a 10% conversion rate[1].  A higher success rate at the top of the funnel means compounding returns through later stages. A few use cases of how second-party intent data benefits marketing and sales include:

  • Target new, in-market buyers: Second-party intent data can identify buyers actively researching and considering solutions or services in your industry on other independent websites.

  • Produce hyper-targeted content: With insights into buyers’ preferences and interests, marketers can create personalized content and targeted campaigns that speak directly to the needs of prospects.

  • Fine-tune lead nurturing efforts: By analyzing a prospect's digital behavior, marketers can assign a lead score based on the level of engagement and interest displayed, and then prioritize follow-up activities.

  • Accelerate sales cycle time: With insights into a prospect's interests and pain points, sales reps can tailor their outreach strategies for the prospect, leading to more effective conversations and higher conversion rates.

  • Gather competitive intelligence: By analyzing data from customer review sites, marketers can gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors. They can use it to inform marketing and sales strategies, such as creating messaging that highlights areas where you outperform the competition.

Customer review sites as a critical source of second-party intent data

One of the most effective sources of second-party intent data are independent customer review sites, such as Capterra, Software Advice, and GetApp. These sites capture a wealth of user experiences and perspectives—from features they seek the most to their sentiments about individual software products. 

These sites usually operate with the consent of users who identify themselves either through membership or by giving consent to use their data before accessing the free content, such as product profiles, reviews, and demo videos.

These product-specific insights can help B2B marketers detect deals in the market, reduce costs to acquire leads, and ultimately drive greater pipeline from your account-based marketing programs. 

Finding a reliable data partner: 5 signs to look for

When looking to team up with a partner for second-party intent data, consider a few key factors to ensure you get high-quality, accurate data that meets your business needs. Here are some signs that you’re selecting the right partner:


  • The partner has a significant number of monthly visitors (a minimum of 200,000 visitors[3] per month).
  • The partner has a network of high-quality websites and data sources.
  • The partner has a track record of providing accurate and reliable data.
  • The partner can offer data that is specific to your business needs.
  • The partner has robust data processing and cleaning procedures in place.
  • The partner provides actionable insights and recommendations based on the data collected.


Engage your best-fit prospects with our intent data services and gain meaningful insights into their needs, behavior, and preferences.

Enhance your ABM strategy by integrating second-party data

One of the most important use cases of second-party intent data is in account-based marketing (ABM). ABM is a highly effective strategy for B2B marketers to target high-value accounts and drive revenue growth. At its core, ABM is about identifying and engaging with the most promising prospects within target accounts. 

By leveraging second-party intent data, marketers can identify priority accounts that are most engaged and interested in your products or services, and influence the creation of personalized campaigns based on their interests, behaviors, and readiness to buy. 

With the right partner and the right data, you can identify high-potential leads, create effective marketing campaigns, and increase conversions. As you start your search, keep these takeaways in mind.


Key takeaways

  • Second-party intent data goes beyond first-party data to provide a comprehensive view of the behavior and interest of in-market buyers. Plus, it offers higher quality and accuracy than third-party sources.
  • Customer review sites are an excellent source of second-party intent data that can help you segment your buyers based on their interests and needs and give in-depth insights for precise targeting. 
  • When finding a partner, search for a seller with high-quality data from multiple channels and sources to ensure that the data is accurate and free from errors.

Get access to top-quality software buyer data with our intent data services and gather the intelligence that will boost your conversion rates.

Danika Schmidt

Danika Schmidt is a Product Marketing Manager for Data Insights at Gartner Digital Markets. She leads the go-to-market strategy for Buyer Discovery Intent Data. She leverages 10+ years of tech marketing, sales, and analytics experience to fuel growth. Connect with Danika on Linkedin.


  1. Accelerate and Focus Your GTM Strategy With Third-Party Intent Data, Gartner
  2. Tech CEO Demand Generation: Set Marketing Goals From Business Objectives and Sales Targets, Gartner
  3. Optimize Peer Review Site Usage to Create Buyer Trust and Generate Leads, Gartner


Get the Gartner Digital Markets Newsletter

We value your privacy. By submitting this form, you agree we may use your information in accordance with the terms of the Gartner Digital Markets Privacy Policy.

Connect. Convert. Thrive.

Connect to millions of in-market software buyers around the globe with our all-encompassing suite of marketing services.