Marketers, publishers, marketing service providers, and technology developers are expected to spend more money on data and data-related services this year, according to the IAB’s latest report The Outlook for Data 2019: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight.

From the findings and out of 105 members survey, 78% of respondents are expecting to invest more in 2019, while only 15% expect to invest the same amount and just 3% expect to spend less.

Meanwhile, 69% stated they had increased their spending on audience data and related activation solutions in 2018 over 2017.

Complex media landscape

The reasons behind the increased investments are aimed at navigating the complex media landscape, according to the study. 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 months.

Furthermore, 53% 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 (33%), lack of internal experience (29%) and insufficient availability/functionality of supporting technology (22%) have all decreased over the past few years 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, VP 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.”