PALM DESERT, CA: Cross-device audience recognition will be a key area of focus for marketers and publishers in 2016, according to a survey of 120 companies for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Conducted in conjunction with the Winterberry Group, "The Outlook for Data: 2016 Snapshot" report also revealed that 58% of respondents expect cross-channel measurement and attribution to command "significant time and attention" this year.

The findings, which were released at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting, showed the industry now ranks cross-channel measurement capability as a higher priority for the coming year than programmatic, although programmatic still remains of high importance.

More than half (53%) of respondents said they will focus on programmatic media buying for emerging formats, including mobile and addressable television, this year.

Meanwhile, 43% said that time, attention and resources will be dedicated to programmatic buying for already-established formats.

Demand from customers (60%) will be the most important factor for influencing data-driven marketing and media initiatives this year, the survey revealed, followed by measurability (48%) and the availability of first-party data (47%).

The survey also explored what obstacles are holding back greater adoption of data-driven advertising and uncovered two main issues.

Approaching half (45%) of respondents pointed to insufficient technological availability or capability to support specific functions while around a third (35%) cited lack of experience within organisations.

"While there are still technological challenges and a need for further workforce education, data-driven advertising is clearly front-of-mind for the industry," said Patrick Dolan, the IAB's executive vice president and COO.

"At IAB, between the establishment of our Data Center of Excellence and the recent launch of our Digital Data Solutions Certification program, we are addressing these issues head on."

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff