By Dennis Yuscavitch, Senior Product Manager

This week Adexchanger will preview industry trends for 2014 and I expect we’ll get our share of continuing themes around big data – programmatic and personalization.  However, I’m keen to hear what participants really think about the future of the industry…

Nick Bilton, the well-known tech journalist and author, will kick-off the conference with “How Technology Will Change Consumer Habits.” If Bilton properly depicts the impact and the intimacy that digital experiences have on the consumer, I suspect it will spur industry heads to think about re-establishing a human thread in their marketing strategy.

Big-data has commoditized consumer experience and a human perspective is now necessary. This isn’t an affront to the highly efficient and scalable quantitative strategies that have created immeasurable value in the digital marketing space. Rather, it is a call-out that they haven’t yet reached their full potential; we need a ‘human knowledge layer,’ a concept Felix Salmon covers in detail in his January 2014 Wired article “Why Quants Don’t Know Everything.”  Nate Silver, whom Salmon refers to several times in the article, also tackles this concept in “Signal and the Noise.” The takeaway: data + knowledge wins.

Beyond the big data/human dilemma, I also wonder what will reach ‘mobile’ status this year.  I’m coining this ”the year of attribution” and I expect that Joanna O’Connell’s talk on “The Consumer Lifecycle Management” will help color the challenges and solutions we anticipate to see.  If we understand the consumer lifecycle, we should expect better marketing and better attribution as a result. Quantcast’s Seph Zdarko wrote an interesting piece last December about defining an ‘upper’ and a ‘lower’ attribution funnel that I think really moves this conversation forward.

And finally, though they’ve been dating for years, I imagine offline and online data will marry in 2014 and help the industry reconcile many unknowns.  I’d expect this year’s Adexchanger preview to feature several topics in this area. Unfortunately, I don’t see “offline” specifically mentioned between Bilton’s kick-off and MIT Media’s Kevin Slavin wrap-up on Wednesday afternoon. However, the combo of offline and online data will likely get attention in a meaningful way given its market importance.

Explicit mentions of offline data aside, Adexchanger’s introductory video frames the appropriate themes: evolution of ad tech, cross-screen consumption, and building improved experiences for customers and audiences.  If we can advance the conversation in these areas, particularly around understanding customers and audiences, it should truly be an exciting 2014!