Spotlight: Vice President of Display

April 18th, 2023

Advertising is one of our two main business lines. As the industry adapts to changes in data privacy and the phasing out of third-party cookies, display advertising has become more important than ever.

In this Spotlight, System1 VP of Display Lila Hunt talks about staying ahead of the curve, leading her team in overcoming challenges and why our business is uniquely positioned to navigate an industry in flux.I lead the Display Monetization team, which consists of expert technologists, analysts and partnership managers who are responsible for growing display advertising on System1’s websites.

Putting banner ads on websites may seem deceptively simple when actually, many interesting and sophisticated technologies power this complex advertising stream.

I spend most of my time exploring new and innovative solutions that advance the boundaries of the display advertising industry. I provide guidance to internal business stakeholders and external advertising partners on how to navigate the ongoing evolution of the digital advertising ecosystem. The team and I work closely with System1’s business leaders on revenue strategy and assist each department with roadmaps that incorporate and grow display revenue.

We are at the forefront of ambiguous and disruptive industry transformations that are already impacting advertisers and publishers. Historically, digital advertising has relied on third-party cookies to signal the value of an ad placement, but our industry is facing major shifts as privacy regulation evolves and user tracking becomes more constrained.We are navigating these changes as thought leaders, innovators and early adopters in partnership with some of the largest companies in the world. The Display team has worked very hard to establish a meaningful position in the market and I know our company is uniquely positioned given System1’s large portfolio of sites and first-party data. We are at the mercy of the humongous scale and complexity of data that we navigate. Our analyses are rarely straightforward. It takes an incredible amount of specialized knowledge to understand how all of the many pieces work together.

We are often asked questions about revenue that are challenging to answer with a straightforward and tangible response. We use data to tell stories and design action plans based on our trend analyses. We measure every change and apply learnings from each iteration to inform the next, most impactful project for our internal stakeholders.System1 has the highest caliber of talent I’ve experienced in a company. I work with so many smart people that push me to think differently. I am constantly evolving because I am immersed in really thoughtful and intelligent conversations.

Such a high-performing environment can fuel competitive energy at times. The individual drive to succeed is inspired out of mutual respect and shared goals which I find very motivating. We all like to win and we’re winning together!I can describe the most central tenets of our culture in two words  data driven. We are a small team. We like to solve interesting problems using data and technology and we take great pride in our accuracy and insight.

I think one really important team mantra that compliments our data driven culture is: it’s OK to change our minds. Personally, I prefer we adapt to new information and change direction without fear of being wrong or losing credibility. It takes a lot of confidence and team trust to say, ‘you know what, I uncovered something new and have changed my position because…’ Our industry landscape changes so quickly and we have to be flexible and keep an open mind so we can stay on top of market trends. I like to recognize achievements by giving shoutouts through our corporate channels and drawing broader attention to accomplishments in group conversations whenever possible. I’m definitely the team cheerleader,  jumping up and down chanting out our wins. Because we are a small team and what we do may seem simple on the surface, I believe it’s really important to educate our stakeholders and peers about why our work is challenging and how we contribute to System1. When I was pregnant, everyone told me that children were germ factories and I would be constantly sick once our child went to daycare. Having worked in daycare, I didn’t dwell too much on these omens. Since the fall, my entire family has been relentlessly sick. You name it, we’ve had it come through our house.Everyone at System1 understands. Many people are going through or have gone through the same experience. The People Team, management and my team are very supportive and understanding. I feel very fortunate to work for a company that accommodates sick families through work from home options, time shifting and a generous sick leave policy. Our benefits package is also very strong and the telehealth services have helped me navigate some of our medical needs more conveniently from home.

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Spotlight: Lead Machine Learning Scientist



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