Marta Expósito, PHD: Improving the online advertising ecosystem
Employee wellbeing in the ad tech industry and personal and professional development in ad tech continue to be hot topics within the sector, so when thinking of working in this highly competitive environment, it is important to find ad tech companies that promote employee wellbeing and focus on their employee’s development. ExoClick is an innovative ad network and multicultural ad tech company that has a strong focus on both improving the online advertising ecosystem and promoting employee wellbeing and personal and professional development. So amongst other initiatives and benefits, we make a point to facilitate infrastructure for our team members to expand on their existing skills or learn brand new ones. And recently one of our amazing ExoClickers and Head of Business Intelligence Marta Expósito, has acquired a PHD on ‘Viewability Contributions Towards a Better Advertising Ecosystem’ – And we are extremely proud of her! So to commemorate the occasion, we asked Marta a few questions: Her objectives when preparing and defending the PHD, how she saw the project would positively impact the ad tech industry, and, last but not least, her experience as a woman working in ad tech for 6 years!
A PHD towards improving the online advertising ecosystem
A few years ago, Marta joined ExoClick, one of the top ad tech companies based in Barcelona that promote employee wellbeing in the ad tech industry and personal and professional development in ad tech – And she decided to make the most of ExoClick’s learning benefits to expand on her skills. So, first off, let’s learn about Marta’s journey preparing and defending the PHD, what she was hoping to achieve – Improving the online advertising ecosystem, how this project can influence the ad industry and how her work within the sector can benefit from the learnings achieved during the preparation of the proposal:
You have recently earned your PHD on ‘Viewability Contributions Towards a Better Advertising Ecosystem’- Congrats! What inspired you to choose the topic?
‘Thanks! :) My objective with this PHD was improving the online advertising ecosystem. To do so, I analyzed the different challenges of this industry, and by doing so, I learned about Viewability, and how promising this metric is. I thought that by studying this metric and applying my learnings to ExoClick’s solutions I could have a positive impact on the ad tech industry.’
For how long have you been working at ExoClick and within the ad tech industry? And how much do you think the industry has changed since you joined?
I started in this industry when I joined ExoClick and it has been almost 6 years now! This industry evolves so fast that only in the past year the spending dedicated to online advertising has increased by 10%, even in the delicate economic scenario where we are living. And it’s understandable given that the amount of internet users is also increasing and new technologies and channels are emerging.
What are certain aspects within the ad tech industry that your project can influence and how?
Another objective I had with this PHD was to motivate and help the different stakeholders in online advertising to keep working on Viewability adoption and integration. The conclusions and results obtained from my work can help in understanding what are the current limitations of Viewability, its benefits, and what can be done to make this metric even better.
What impact do you think your project will have at ExoClick? And how do you think that the knowledge acquired whilst developing it has enhanced your skills within your job role and improving the online advertising ecosystem?
The knowledge obtained from this dissertation has been key to developing features that use Viewability at ExoClick, such as our latest feature launch Ad Refresh, also oriented towards improving the online advertising ecosystem. Regarding the skills, by doing a PHD you become better at reading and understanding state-of-the-art papers but also you improve your communication skills (both orally and written) since you need to transfer complex ideas in a simpler way to any audience. On the other hand, you also develop a high resilience, since sometimes experiments don’t go as planned and also, when trying to publish your results, you will face some rejections before having your work published. I believe these soft skills are really valuable for my job and, of course, from a more technical point of view, the experiments and tests performed have also enhanced my data analytics skills and expertise, all needed when working towards improving the online advertising ecosystem.
What were the main objectives that you wanted to achieve by completing your PHD and what are some challenges that you faced whilst developing it?
My thesis had three main objectives: (1) to identify the Viewability benefits and challenges, (2) to analyze the Viewability standard and to test its possible implementations, and (3) to evaluate the impact of a Viewability-driven feature in an ad company. To accomplish this, I had to read 1,060 different papers and extract the challenges and benefits of Viewability, which was not an easy task. Also, the process of publishing the results on JCR journals was quite challenging, since reviewers ask you to change many things and sometimes this involves repeating the experiments.
Marta Expósito: BI extraordinaire and woman working in ad tech
Continuing on we asked Marta a few questions about her experience as an accomplished expert and a woman working in ad tech:
Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you worked in Business Intelligence and what inspired you to choose this path?
I’ve been working in Business Intelligence for the past 6 years, but my journey with data began earlier. During my Engineering Bachelor’s degree, I undertook an internship where I worked with video data to develop a video navigation system. I thoroughly enjoyed that experience, and it was this enthusiasm that drove me to specialize further in data processing. I proceeded by pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Vision, while concurrently working with another company to optimize 3D facial models. Following that, I joined a research center where I analyzed vast volumes of images, aiming to create a system capable of predicting aesthetics in pictures. As you can see, I have always been passionate about delving into data, experimenting with it, and leveraging it to create innovative solutions! After completing my master’s degree, I felt the time was ripe to channel all this knowledge into a more business-oriented context, and that is why I joined ExoClick, starting my journey within the advertising ecosystem, and joining one of the top ad tech companies that promote employee wellbeing!
What parts of your job make you most excited and which ones do you find the most challenging?
The most exciting part of working in ExoClick is the huge variety of projects where we work on, all oriented towards improving the online advertising ecosystem, from calculating forecasts to prototype new functionalities for the system. At the same time, handling this variety of projects challenges you to keep up to date with the industry and with the different technologies that are constantly emerging.
What has been your most exciting project to date working in BI and why?
I was involved in the development of the Ad Refresh feature, and since this was part of my PHD, it was a really fulfilling project. I had the chance to bring all the knowledge from my research and experiments into the company, and to participate in its design, testing until bringing it to production. This involved participating with different departments, which was really fun!
What do you think are the most important parts of your job role? Or, in other words, why is your job role important to the development of ExoClick?
The Business Intelligence department is a cross-functional unit that assists other departments in making informed decisions based on data, as well as identifying issues and suggesting improvements. We need to stay updated and to maintain a global understanding of what is happening in the company and in the industry in order to bridge ideas and formulate solutions to challenges.
Business Intelligence is a discipline which traditionally more men than women devote their career to, however this is changing! What are some referents that you look up to or inspire you to do your job?
This might sound a bit cheesy, but my biggest mentor has been my sister. She loves math and tech, and this had a big impact on me when I was little. I’ve never felt that STEM careers were not meant for girls. I’m also following some inspiring womens in data such as Carly Taylor or Daliana Liu. I hope someday I can inspire so many people as they do :)
And last but not least, as a woman working ad tech, what tips would you give to other women working in tech or studying tech roles such as Business Intelligence and Data Analysis?
I’d tell them the same as anyone regardless of their gender. Be curious and eager to learn new things constantly, and don’t be afraid of making mistakes on the way. Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice the more you will fail too. Learn to value yourself, and find a place where others also value you.
Want to join ExoClick and work on a daily basis with amazing team members like Marta, together towards improving the online advertising ecosystem, in one of the top ad tech companies that promote employee wellbeing? Learn about our onboarding experience here!