The Adweek 50: Meet the Real Movers and Shakers Behind the World’s Top Brands

2014's most influential buyers, sellers and marketers

We all hear the rumblings of the beginning of the decline of Facebook: It's getting too old, people aren't using it as much. But one look at the social giant's ubiquity in the modern American's life explains why Carolyn Everson stands atop the 2014 incarnation of the Adweek 50—which honors those executives who help their bosses (in Everson's case, Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg) bedazzle Wall Street and investors. Everson, who moves up from No. 2 in last year's 50, has overseen meteoric revenue growth, thanks to new "people-based marketing," which is a fancy way of connecting marketers with consumers on whatever device they're on. Digital marketers, salespeople and content developers occupy more Adweek 50 slots than ever, a reflection of the transformation across media, marketing and technology. But the best and brightest in television, print and the agency world can also be found across our list, selected by Adweek's editors and staff. Congratulations to all for earning their spot through hard work, innovation and creativity. —Michael Burgi

Photo: Jeremy Goldberg

No.1

Carolyn Everson

VP, global marketing solutions

Facebook

2013 revenue $7.9 billion

Carolyn Everson has had quite a year at Facebook. Looking back, a pattern emerges, the outlines of which look very much like the future of digital advertising.

Facebook calls it "people-based marketing"; Everson calls it her team's biggest achievement over the last 12 months.

Facebook relaunched the Atlas ad server in September, a new step for the social network in targeting ads to users across the map—via their mobile phones, tablets and desktops. It enables Facebook to pinpoint actual users rather than merely a data profile that may or may not be accurate.

"I am most proud of how the team has rebuilt Atlas to focus on people-based marketing," says Everson, 42. "Atlas helps marketers serve more relevant advertising across devices, platforms and publishers, and it is able to measure the impact of those ads across devices—down to whether they drove sales."

But there is more. At its developer conference in April, Facebook also launched the mobile Audience Network. It also bought LiveRail to enhance its video ad potential. These are the technological pieces that could eventually make Facebook the most powerful player in online advertising–—not to mention that the social network boasts 1.3 billion users, owns both Instagram and WhatsApp, has a popular Messenger app and, with the acquisition of Oculus Rift, has identified virtual reality as the most important category in the coming years.

Everson likes to repeat a refrain her boss Mark Zuckerberg is fond of. "At Facebook, we feel like we are less than 1 percent done with our journey—with billions more people to be connected, and millions of businesses to work with to make a difference in their growth trajectory," she says. "I feel our work is just getting started."

That's a sobering prospect for competitors like Google and Twitter. Facebook grew its revenue by 55 percent last year to $7.9 billion, and that figure is expected to grow to some $11 billion this year.

Facebook and Everson are focused on bringing the Internet—and Facebook—to emerging markets by way of initiatives such as Internet.org. Also, video remains a key ad medium; as the company starts to show more video than YouTube, it aims to make money from that traffic.

"In the year ahead, you will see us continue working to be the best mobile ad platform, driving a significant amount of video consumption for consumers and marketers, and bringing Instagram into a fully scalable offering across the globe," Everson says.

While Facebook is busy building a fully stacked ad business, the team also works closely with brands and agencies to help them get the most out of their marketing campaigns. Workshops called "spark sessions" serve as one-on-one training for brands. "We are not building a sales team—we are building a group of consultative business advisors who are completely focused on our clients' business," Everson says.

And she means business, because nothing is a matter of "if." "For those of us who work at Facebook," she says, "it is all about the 'when.''" —Garett Sloane

No. 2