On Monday the IAB released its second “Outlook for Data” report, a survey conducted by the Winterberry Group that benchmarks data-driven marketing practices. Its responses show “a general maturity in the evolution of marketer data,” said Dennis Buchheim, SVP of data and ad effectiveness for the IAB.
The number of businesses that plan to increase investments in data-related services and solutions ticked up from 67% last year to 71% in 2017, the survey of 108 marketers found.
But there remains a great need to prove the value of all the data they’ve been collecting, licensing and normalizing, Buchheim said.
Respondents said their biggest data investment in 2016 was around “general audience analytics” (i.e. data collection). This year, “cross-channel measurement and attribution” shot to the top of the list.
“When we hear marketers tell us their number one priority is ‘measurement and attribution,’ they’re not telling us that to serve an academic purpose,” said Jonathan Margulies, managing director at Winterberry Group. “They need that because they’re being held to account and need to justify their investments to people up the organization.”
This year, 45% of respondents said “difficulty in proving ROI of data-driven programs” will be a top challenge this year to data-driven marketing, compared to 26% of respondents last year.
So don’t be surprised if the IAB takes a more active role when it comes to attribution standards and validation.
“There are so many different vendors offering different solutions and methodologies,” Buchheim said. “But there’s a need to develop the right questions to ask attribution vendors and the things we can do to validate models.”