Q&A with Facebook Head of Measurement Research Development and Partnerships Sean Bruich

As Facebook puts more emphasis on monetization and more advertisers are spending on its platform, measurement is increasingly important.

The social network is still so new and comes with unique ad types and its own vocabulary, so many advertisers still aren’t sure how it fits in with the rest of their marketing efforts. The Facebook measurement team is working to put its ads in a more familiar context for advertisers and apply its research findings to offer better ad types and systems.

We spoke to Head of Measurement Research Development and Partnerships Sean Bruich about the questions Facebook is trying to answer, the value of a Like, how Facebook ads compare to more traditional channels and what needs to happen as marketers begin thinking cross-platform instead of in silos.

The following is an edited transcript from that interview.

Tell me more about your role and what your team does.

My team is the research development team, we also work on partnerships with third-party research companies like Nielsen and Datalogix. Our goal is twofold: to help build the right tools to help advertisers buy media to capture the value they’re trying to get, and the second piece to build out the measurement systems that help quantify that value and optimize campaigns, not just for e-commerce transactions, but a broader set of marketing outcomes like offline sales. It’s pretty simple, we’re trying to solve how you value an ad campaign online if one of your objectives is offline sales impact or one your objectives is staying top of mind. And the second piece is how do you translate all of those things that you know about other forms of marketing and understand whether online is accomplishing those same goals and how you would execute against those goals online.

It seems your latest research has really focused on how successful campaigns aren’t just about clicks, but reach and frequency and other factors. Are you finding that’s resonating in the industry and advertisers are changing their strategy?

Definitely. I think what happened was digital came up as this really specific type of marketing and there was a lot of building up of the infrastructure there, the direct response stuff. But it’s getting harder and harder to plan your campaign because there are more ways to reach consumers. It’s not just TV and online. It’s TV and Facebook and tablets and smartphones. I think there’s a growing realization on the part of marketers that they want to reach people across these devices because if they’re reaching the same person on each of these and counting it as a distinct person, that’s not good. It becomes really hard to plan an ad campaign if you’re just buying in these silos.

So that’s what Nielsen’s cross-platform ratings address, and over time you’re going to be able to say ‘OK, for this type of consumer I can reach them more cheaply with one TV impression on this show and then a couple ad impression on Facebook mobile’ versus saying ‘I’m going to do my TV buy, my online buy and I’m not going to know how those overlap.

I think you’re starting to see publishers adopt this way of seeing the world that looks more like traditional media, and you’re starting to see advertisers do this. Unilever has talked about this very publicly. They buy a lot of television, but they want to buy online the same way and they want to use Nielsen to guarantee or at least assess that what they’re getting from publishers what they’re promised, that they’re getting the reach. Because if you’re just buying impressions those could all be going to one person or people outside your demographic target.

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