Marketers, publishers, marketing service providers and technology developers plan to spend more on data this year, according to IAB’s latest report.

The Outlook for Data 2019: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” asked digital marketing and digital practitioners where they are focusing their concerns and budgets in 2019. The survey was fielded in January 2019.

Respondents indicated a focus on harmonizing audience experiences across media. For this reason, cross-channel campaign measurement and attribution will be the top priority for 57.3 percent of those surveyed. Just over half—52.4 percent—will also prioritize cross-channel audience identification and matching.

“Cross-channel becomes more important as consumers engage with brands on different platforms and through different types of media,” Orchid Richardson, vice president and managing director of the IAB Data Center of Excellence told AList. “It’s about understanding where the consumer is in their journey, so the right message at the right time can be delivered.”

Over three-fourths (78.2 percent) of survey respondents planned an increased amount of spending on data and related services this year. Some 69.2 percent said that spending in this area increased in 2018, as well.

Last year, general audience analytics occupied most of the respondents’ time more than any other category listed. The top three time-consumers were general audience analytics (58 percent), cross-channel audience identification and matching (51.9 percent) and cross-channel measurement and attribution (42 percent).

This year, the top priority, according to 57.3 percent, will be cross-channel measurement and attribution.

With each new report, it seems that marketers invest more in data every year. Richardson said that marketers spend more because they are getting results.

“Data is making brands smarter about their consumers while helping them build direct connections with consumers too,” said Richardson.

Participating digital marketers were asked which factors they expected to be the most important in driving data-driven marketing initiatives in the year ahead. The top choice, as it has been for the last three years, was “demand/interest from our customers.”

The biggest challenge these professionals fear in 2019 is government regulation or the threat to regulate data. Beyond that “external” threat, panelists expressed a multitude of concerns about how their organizations are structured to use data. Siloed organizational structures and data as well as difficulty in proving ROI were among the top concerns shared by respondents.