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An Interview with Ilya Brown

Head of Product Advertiser Experience, Twitter

Ilya Brown is an experienced technologist with a passion for building, managing and optimizing remarkable teams and products, particularly in the digital media and internet space. He brings his expertise with working on enterprise-ready server architectures and direct to consumer user experiences.

Ilya joined Twitter in June 2016 as head of product advertiser experience and leads a team of 16 product managers. His team is responsible for setting the vision and roadmap for all of Twitter’s advertiser experience products. He and his team need to stay abreast of the industry, bootstrap new product initiatives and back them up with solid market data, as well as understand their competitors and key partners.

What are your biggest business priorities over the next 12 months?

Ilya Brown: Our biggest priority is ensuring that we create products and solutions that help make advertisers smarter, more effective and ultimately achieve the best ROI. Specifically, our teams focus on five key areas: data science and machine learning models, video, core ads platform, measurement and mobile app promotions.

What are the biggest challenges today?

Brown: We have a good idea of how we're going to drive value for our customers, but at the end of the day, we've got a limited number of resources. The ecosystem around us is rapidly changing, so we have to make sure we don’t get distracted or become reactive in terms of driving our roadmap forward.

A big focus for us is making sure that advertisers are creating content that users want to engage with. This comes down to the importance of not only picking the right format, but also the relevance and targeting of a specific ad to a given user. We’re trying to figure out how we create solutions that achieve our advertiser's goal while maintaining a high standard for the user experience on Twitter.

What do you and your team use eMarketer for?

Brown: We leverage eMarketer quite a bit to keep updated on what's going on. On the product teams, the key use case for eMarketer is around doing research on the market that we operate within. We sign up for emails to get information about different trends that might be happening.

Sometimes we want to do a deep dive around a particular area, so we use eMarketer for researching specific topics. I like to think of eMarketer as a research focused, personal assistant that can help keep me up to speed.

For instance, we’re in the midst of product planning over the course of the next 12 to 18 months. When we kicked off the process, we assigned research topics to each of our product leads and had them do a presentation. Some people were presenting on a specific competitor, others were presenting on a particular area such as video, the broader advertising ecosystem, mobile, etc. As folks went through their different presentations, almost every product lead leveraged some sort of eMarketer research.

What are some of your favorite eMarketer features?

Brown:One of my favorite features are the daily and weekly updates I receive in my inbox which help keep things top of mind for me. I don't have to go looking for specific eMarketer research because it just shows up in my inbox. I also like that you can export data and play around with it to understand more depth in terms of the information that’s available.

How has eMarketer helped your team?

Brown: Our marketing team leverages eMarketer quite a bit as they think about different types of campaigns and initiatives.

For example, our team recently did a deep dive on the intersection of mobile and video and looked at a number of different competitors. We were trying to understand the key pain points that our customers are having within the industry and how we could leverage the unique capabilities that we’ve built out at Twitter.

Using eMarketer research, we looked at a number of different analyses which really helped us form a good baseline understanding of key areas to focus on. For instance, areas that we needed to do additional user experience research, opportunities for building product prototypes, driving innovation forward and understanding areas of focus for our product roadmap.

What value does eMarketer access represent to a business like yours?

Brown: eMarketer saves me countless hours and really helps me keep a pulse of whatever industry I'm operating within. When I joined Twitter two years ago, we already had access. I had been using eMarketer at prior companies and when I saw that we had access, I immediately set up my accounts and started receiving emails to leverage it for what I do. It's definitely the place that I always start, so its invaluable to me.

In today's world, access to data and the ability to process that data in the shortest amount of time possible is what really separates the winners from the losers. eMarketer is critical for us in terms of being able to keep a leg up on what's happening.

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Ilya Brown

On eMarketer:

“I like to think of eMarketer as a research focused, personal assistant that can help keep me up to speed.”


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