Day in the Life: Jessica Ackerman, Director, Product Management
Jessica, our director of product management, takes us through a typical day in her life in Magnite’s New York office.
Magnite’s Day in the Life series dives into the various people and teams that make up the world’s largest independent sell-side ad company.
How would you explain what you do to someone outside the industry?
My role oversees the creation of various products that help publishers and advertisers effectively reach users who are interested in the goods and services being advertised online, in native ads or in the videos you encounter. I aim to assist them in doing this in ways that help provide solutions that fit the industry’s shift toward privacy.
How did you first break into ad tech?
I attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a master’s in atmospheric science. I started my career as a meteorologist, and while I dabbled in product-adjacent projects, my first introduction to ad tech was when I had the opportunity to help create The Weather Channel’s WeatherFX product. This project allowed me to learn ad tech concepts through my interest in atmospheric science.
How does your department/team help support Magnite/Magnite’s clients as a whole? What other departments do you facilitate with the most?
It’s an incredibly LARGE team effort to bring a product to life.
We work closely with our Strategic Partnerships, Demand Facilitation, Publisher, and Finance teams to develop a strategic vision for new products and enhancements to existing ones. We research market trends, customer needs, and competitive offerings to identify opportunities for growth and improvement. We also work closely with our Legal team to ensure our products comply with data privacy regulations.
Once a strategy is in place, we collaborate with cross-functional teams, including, Engineering, Designers, Data Scientists, Ops, and Marketing, to implement these products. Together, we ensure that the products are technically feasible, meet user requirements, and align with our strategy.
To keep track of the product development process, from planning to go-to-market, we work with Project Management to oversee the entire process, from managing timelines and dependencies to ensuring delivery while understanding costs.
What does a typical day at Magnite look like for you?
Generally, it’s filled with a mix of internal discussions around product design, development, timing, and go-to-market, and external discussions with new and existing partners and clients about product opportunities.
When I’m not in meetings, I spend my time working on product requirement docs for feature enhancements, developing strategy perspectives on the audience and measurement products I work on, and learning new aspects of the business and Magnite from fellow product members and all of the teams I work with.
Talk about a recent project that you’re proud of yourself/your team for accomplishing.
I’m beyond proud of the Magnite Access announcement and all of the work our team is doing on Match, Storefront, Magnite DMP, and Magnite Audiences! This suite of products allows our publishers and advertisers to really maximize the value of their assets.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My team and the other Magnite teams that I work with! It’s a great privilege to collaborate with individuals who help me grow my knowledge of the space and help me bring new and cool solutions to clients. I also enjoy building culture and having the opportunity to connect with employees across Magnite’s international offices to help bring Thrive, Magnite’s Black ERG, to life.
Do you have any advice for people looking to learn more about ad tech/your particular department?
Start reading industry news. There’s a lot of information out there to help put the pieces together and understand the different types of players in the space, the history, and the direction the industry is going.
Also, try to find someone in the industry to connect with over coffee or tea – a conversation can go a long way!