HOLLYWOOD, FL: The attention of marketers, media buyers, publishers, and digital advertising technology executives in 2017 will be focused on measurement and attribution, a new study reports.

According to The Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight, an online survey of 108 members of the Data and Programmatic Councils by the IAB Data Center of Excellence, this is a notable change from 2016 when "general audience analytics" was the priority.

The shift is indicative of "tangible progress as firms grow more sophisticated in their use of data across a wide range of advertising and marketing use cases", it said.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) increased their spending on data and related services from 2015 to 2016—and even more (71%) anticipate bigger budgets in 2017.

Data users reported that "demand/interest from our customers" was the primary factor driving their organization's data-driven marketing and media initiatives in the year ahead, while "growing emphasis on investment measurability/accountability" was also an important driver.

In the past, respondents have cited the functionality of supporting technology as one of their biggest obstacles to leveraging audience data, but this has now been superseded by a lack of internal experience (45%) and the difficulty in proving the ROI of data-driven programs (45%).

"More and more stakeholders from across the ecosystem are making significant investments in data," said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group, which complied the report.

"This research points to greater sophistication in data-driven marketing and media, and with it new opportunities and challenges to address in the coming year."

The IAB aims to contribute by developing guidelines, standards, and services that will benefit the entire industry by simplifying and enhancing data-driven media transactions.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff