Facebook Hires Google Advertising Exec to Help It Grow Ad Business

Facebook’s performance and brand advertising services have been booming, and now the company has hired David Fischer, who until last year ran Google’s roughly similar advertising programs. Fischer went on sabbatical last fall, after having taken over Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s job at Google when she moved over a couple years ago.

He’d started working on other Google products when he’d returned in January, including local, geographic and payments services, but his new job will give him a much more central position, and in a faster-growing company.

Fischer’s new job description at Facebook, from the company: “As Vice President of Advertising & Global Operations, David Fischer will work with customers and scale our sales, advertiser marketing and operations efforts as we expand those functions around the globe.” We’re asking for clarification, but this appears to mean that he’ll be reporting directly to Sandberg, and managing all aspects of Facebook’s advertising services. These, include: brand sales, performance ad sales, other Facebook-specific features like Pages, and all operations related to these products. Facebook’s other teams, including product and engineering, are continually expanding these features, so part of his job appears to be helping other teams bring ad-related products to the ad market.

[Update: A Facebook spokesperson confirms these details about Fischer’s responsibilities, and specifies that they include overseeing Facebook’s self-serve product, brand ad sales, and customer support for both advertisers and users.]

Facebook’s ad revenues are small compared to Google’s but growing fast, and this is likely a main attraction to Fischer. He was with Google since 2002 and helped Sandberg build the company’s AdWords and AdSense businesses. He appears to be hoping for a repeat hit.

We estimate that Facebook brought in between $600 million and $700 million in 2009, with roughly $225 million coming from brand ad sales and $350 million from performance ad sales. This year, we estimate it could go as high as $1.1 billion. We reported those numbers early in the month and have since confirmed the estimate with another source close to the company. Other publications have estimated even faster revenue growth.

Facebook has made its brand and performance ad businesses its focus in terms of making money over the past couple of years, and as the company has been getting more and more attention from big ad spenders in the US and around the world. Fischer could help accelerate that.