BuzzFeed wants to give advertisers more data about how their efforts perform and is willing to poach digital competitors to do it. The viral-minded publisher has hired Edwin Wong, Pinterest's head of partner insights, as its new vp of research and insights.
Wong will report to BuzzFeed's CMO and chief creative officer Frank Cooper and joins a team of 15 staffers who focus on research and insights. In addition to working with brands and advertisers to extrapolate data on campaigns, he'll also help develop BuzzFeed's own audience insights. A rep for BuzzFeed said the research and insights team has plans for more hires this year but declined to say by how many people.
"Edwin is a highly experienced and well-respected leader across research, analytics and insights," Cooper said in an internal memo. "Edwin comes to us with over 15 years of industry experience and will be focused on leading the team to deliver insights that unlock value for brands, our audience and BuzzFeed."
The new hire signals how BuzzFeed is beefing up the analytics and data arm of its ad business that cranks out sponsored posts and videos for brands. At South by Southwest Interactive earlier this year, Cooper announced a new cross-platform format called Swarm that lets brands buy ads across six of the publisher's social platforms at the same time.
While Swarm has a massive reach—BuzzFeed averages 6 billion monthly content views—Cooper did acknowledge at the March conference that the measurement potion to its distributed-platform approach is a challenge.
"We're addressing that limitation by layering on top other forms of third-party measurement that allow our advertisers to see what they're doing on each of the platforms," Cooper said during a SXSW keynote. "But, it is the toughest thing that we're facing—and that any company is facing in the space that's creating social content and distributing it across platforms is facing."
In a statement, Wong said, "After hearing Frank Cooper speak at SXSW this year, I was particularly inspired by BuzzFeed's vision for cross-platform content development, distribution and the unique connection they have with their audience."
Before joining Pinterest in 2015, Wong worked in insights at Yahoo. His first day at BuzzFeed is Aug. 21, and he will work in the publisher's Los Angeles office.