There is less concern this year about the technology available to manage data in the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual report, “The Outlook for Data 2019,” than in last year’s.

Conducted with the Winterberry Group consulting firm, the fourth annual report was released Tuesday and is focused on how “digital marketing and media practitioners are using audience data.” It reflects an online survey of 105 IAB special-interest committee members — marketing service providers, marketers, technology developers, publishers and media providers.

Tools, but not yet enough talent. The survey found that respondents concerned about “insufficient availability/functionality of supporting technology” fell from 50 percent in last year’s report to only 22 percent this year.

“This speaks to how the industry had previously made investments in third-party tools that are used to collect and manage audience,” said IAB Data Center of Excellence Vice President and Managing Director Orchid Richardson via email.

But, she added, there is still a shortage of personnel who can manage and understand the data. Twenty-nine percent of respondents cited “lack of internal experience” at the functional and operational level as a key challenge, only a slight improvement over last year’s 35 percent.

“Ongoing dance between marketers and their customers.” Because this past year saw the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act, the management of data must now be balanced between business needs and customer requirements.

As a result, Richardson said, the current environment “reflects the ongoing dance between marketers and their customers — [delivering] value without jeopardizing a customer’s trust.” In fact, government regulation and the threat of regulation is the top anticipated challenge by far, with nearly 53 percent choosing that option. Second place: siloed organizational structure/data-sharing protocols for about 35 percent of respondents.

As for data use cases, 57 percent expect cross-channel measurement and attribution to occupy most of their attention and resources, followed by cross-channel audience identification/matching for 52 percent.

Why you should care. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents — marketers, publishers, marketing service providers and technology developers — had said they increased data-related spending in 2018, compared to 2017, and 78 percent expect to spend more next year.

Only fifteen percent said it would be about the same, while three percent expect to spend less.

With this kind of budgetary importance, understanding data management — and overcoming the related challenges — has become a key element of modern marketing.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.


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