Data is playing an increasingly important role in marketing, advertising and customer experience. The Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations’ (GDMA) second annual Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising found that 81.3 percent of marketers describe data as important to their efforts, an increase from 80.4 percent in 2014, and 59.3 percent call it ‘critical,’ up from 57.1 percent in 2014.

In its study, conducted with U.S. research and consulting firm Winterberry Group, GDMA reports that 74.1 percent of marketers are confident in the value of data-driven marketing and advertising (DDMA) and its potential for future growth. Among respondents, 56.3 percent increased their annual DDMA expenditures last year, and 68.6 percent expect to increase spending in 2016. These results are down slightly from 2014 levels—when 77.4 percent of respondents indicated confidence in DDMA and 63.2 percent increased their respective spending since the prior year. The GDMA suggests that the year-on-year decline could reflect participants’ citing of improved measurement and attribution techniques as the single most important initiative that would support their organizations’ ability to drive more value from DDMA.

“As the customer journey becomes more complex, marketers are having to find ways to engage with their customers at multiple touch points—both online and offline—along the path to purchase,” says Ari Buchalter, president, technology at data-driven marketing strategy and technology firm MediaMath, which supported the Global Review. “Data is core to this and, as the study reveals, it is set to grow in importance as it become central to marketing efforts across the world.”

The Global Review’s findings were compiled through an online survey of 2,938 advertisers, marketers and other industry participants, in 17 countries, between July and September 2015.

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