The findings from the new "The Outlook for Data 2019: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight" are aligned with those from IAB’s earlier “State of Data” report, which reported that U.S. companies spent nearly $19.2 billion on the acquisition of audience data as well as solutions to manage, process, and analyze this data in 2018. In the new report, 69 percent of respondents stated they had increased their spending on audience data and related activation solutions in 2018 over 2017. Seventy-eight percent expect to invest more in 2019, while only 15 percent expect to invest the same amount and just 3 percent expect to spend less.
According to the study, these increased investments are aimed at navigating the complex media landscape. The vast majority of survey participants noted that cross-channel data measurement and attribution, and audience identification/matching are the most important areas of focus for them in the coming year.
Fifty-three percent of industry executives noted that the threat of heightened government data regulation was the main potential threat to deriving value from data. Other ongoing issues such as difficulty in proving ROI, lack of internal experience and insufficient availability/functionality of supporting technology have all decreased over the past few years to 33.3, 29.2 and 22.2 percent respectively indicating that the industry’s ability to effectively use data has matured.
"The increased investment in data underscores its importance to marketers, it is becoming an increasingly critical part of all business carried out by marketers," said Orchid Richardson, Vice President and Managing Director, IAB Data Center of Excellence. “While the industry is becoming more sophisticated in its application of data in marketing, communications and analytics, rapid growth in data analytics and solutions also presents challenges. The IAB is addressing the challenges of the changes and advances in data usage head on by developing workforce education, producing research and developing best practices as well as convening the leading thought leaders in the field.”
“Data is increasingly the tool that marketers and their teams are utilizing to solve their most challenging problems—that’s what this report shows,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “Spending on data and data-related services continues to increase, with that investment focused on unraveling what’s perhaps their most perplexing day-to-day issue: how to best engage prospects and customers—in a way that delivers a superior experience, while also addressing a range of business needs—across an ever-growing array of marketing channels.”
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