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According to IAB ‘Outlook for Data’ Study, Measurement & Attribution to Be Top Industry Focus in 2017

71% of Marketers, Media Buyers, Publishers, and Tech Execs Expect to Increase Spending on Data and Related Services This Year

HOLLYWOOD, FL (January 30, 2017) – Marketers, media buyers, publishers, and digital advertising technology executives say that “better reporting, measurement or attribution” will be the top industry issue this year—a shift from 2016, when “cross-device audience recognition” took the lead position, according to “The Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight.” This second annual benchmarking report, commissioned by IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and its Data Center of Excellence, and compiled by Winterberry Group, also shows that respondents expect “cross-channel measurement and attribution” to occupy their time and resources in the coming year. This is a notable change from 2016, when “general audience analytics” was demanding the most attention – highlighting tangible progress as firms grow more sophisticated in their use of data across a wide range of advertising and marketing use cases.

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. As with last year’s study, data users said that “demand/interest from our customers” was the primary factor driving their organization’s data-driven marketing and media initiatives in the year ahead. “Growing emphasis on investment measurability/accountability” also continues to be an important driver.

While “insufficient availability/functionality of supporting technology” was cited as the biggest obstacle panelists saw impeding their efforts to leverage audience data in 2016, this year saw two other challenges now outrank it—with one, in particular, clearly driving the industry’s renewed focus on measurement and attribution:

  • Difficulty in proving ROI of our data-driven programs (45%)
  • Lack of internal experience (at the functional/operational level) (45%)

“Cross-media measurement and attribution are critical issues that demand focus and significant resources this year and beyond,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President, Data and Ad Effectiveness, and General Manager of the IAB Data Center of Excellence. “Over the course of 2017, IAB plans to work vigorously towards solutions in identity, attribution, and measurement—developing guidelines, standards, and services that will benefit the entire industry by simplifying and enhancing data-driven media transactions. In addition, our work with the IAB Digital Data Solutions Certification Program and broader education and community-building efforts will raise the level of professionalism in the digital advertising industry and establish stronger operational teams in data management.”

“More and more stakeholders from across the ecosystem are making significant investments in data,” said Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group. “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 Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” was released by the IAB Data Center of Excellence and its board members Acxiom, AT&T, comScore, Conversant, Experian, Integral Ad Science, LiveIntent, MediaMath, Neustar, Nielsen Marketing Cloud, Oracle Data Cloud, Quantcast, The Weather Company, and Valassis Digital during the 2017 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.

To view the full report, please visit

“The Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” and its results were based on an online survey of members of the IAB Data and Programmatic Councils. A total of 108 members responded to the survey, which remained open during parts of December 2016 and January 2017.

About the Winterberry Group
The Winterberry Group is a unique strategic consulting firm that supports the growth of advertising, marketing, media, information and technology organizations. Affiliated with Petsky Prunier LLC—a leading investment bank providing merger and acquisition advisory services to companies in the same sectors—the Firm offers its clients strategic perspective that is unparalleled in its addressable industries, while PPLLC maintains exceptional relationships with industry executives and business owners. This combination of market intelligence, research and strategic operating experience provides an educated outside perspective that we bring to each engagement. For more information, please visit

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. The organization is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a West Coast office in San Francisco.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]