Feedonomics Expert Interview: Emily Wilson from Facebook

Emily Wilson is on the Marketing Partnerships team at Facebook. Her focus is in building partnerships that help advertisers adopt and scale ad products that Facebook has designed for the ecommerce vertical, including Dynamic Ads and Catalog. As a Product Growth Manager, Emily works closely with Facebook’s product teams to identify opportunities for new partner ecosystems and partner product development. Before Facebook, Emily was a Product Manager at SocialCode, a Facebook Marketing Partner that works with Fortune 500 companies to drive results across a number of digital advertising channels.

What major changes have you seen across Facebook’s Advertising options in the last few years?

There’s been massive change over the last several years, but I think they can be boiled down to a few main themes:

  • Personalization: The more relevant the ad to the person seeing it, the more effective it is. The ability to reach the right people is one of the key differentiators for Facebook as an advertising platform, and our products have continued to evolve to make this even easier for advertisers. Dynamic Ads is the prime example of this; it allows you promote all your inventory by automatically matching people to products based on their browsing activity. A strong marketing strategy on Facebook will be driven by a focus on personalizing ads to users.
  • Creative enhancements: The feed environment lends itself really well to high-quality, engaging creative. We’ve seen the volume of creative-focused ad units and experiences on Facebook and Instagram explode over the last several years. Video is a major investment area for Facebook (and all channels): 78% of mobile data traffic will be video by 2021, and the Stories format is growing faster than any product in Facebook’s history. Advertisers need to be thinking about producing creative specifically for this new mobile and story-focused environment.
  • Inventory-based solution: About two years ago, we made our first foray into inventory-based ads with our Dynamic Ads solution. The massive success of that feature has encouraged us to think about other ways to use inventory on the platform, both from a paid and organic perspective. So we’ve expanded our DA solution to other verticals, including travel, autos, and real estate, with more in the works, and our Collection ad unit also makes use of the catalog to show potential customers products they might be interested in. We’re also thinking about how to use inventory in use cases other than ads, like Marketplace and Instagram Shopping. We see inventory as a foundational piece for brands and advertisers with a presence on Facebook.
  • Real business outcomes: In the past, advertisers didn’t have a great understanding of how to measure the success of their advertising on the Facebook family of apps. Facebook-specific metrics, like “likes” or “engagement” were useful for assessing how users were interacting with their Facebook content, but ultimately a marketer is trying to drive a much more important result, like a sale. We’ve made a concerted effort over the last several years to reframe the conversation around what we call real business outcomes; metrics that will actually impact the business, and we see this trend continuing as we develop more sophisticated measurement solutions.

What advice would you have for anyone wanting to advertise their products on Facebook? 

If you want to sell your products on Facebook, focus first on getting your inventory onto the platform. We see challenges with this seemingly basic step across all advertisers large and small, whether it’s issues with accessing their own inventory data, feed formatting, etc. This is the most basic step but also the most important if you want to unlock our most advanced ad products, like Dynamic Ads and Collection, and organic opportunities like Instagram Shopping and Marketplace. As we add more inventory-based ad products, this will become an indispensable step for success on the platform.

Secondarily, think about the quality of the data you’re providing: use all the available fields, make sure your categorizations are accurate, ensure the stock numbers are accurate, etc. Obviously it’s important for the consumer experience to see accurate product information in ads, but we also use a lot of this information in our algorithms to determine what products to show to what people. It’s great if you can get your products onto the platform, but if the quality of your Catalog is sub-par, your ads won’t be as successful.

Broadly, I would say test and learn. There are so many options for ad units, creative, targeting, etc. on Facebook that it can be overwhelming, but it also means you have a ton of control over what your ads look like and who sees them. Try a bunch of stuff, identify what works with solid measurement techniques, and scale it out.

What are some of the key reasons Advertisers should be using Facebook in 2018? 

It’s where your customers are! Globally, 2.2B people use Facebook every month. There are 800M monthly active accounts on Instagram. And 1.3B people now use Messenger every month. If you’re not advertising on Facebook, you’re missing out on this massive, engaged user base.

Beyond that, advertising on Facebook is available for anyone, from a global business to a mom-and-pop shop with a single employee. Our wide range of advertising options will help you reach your business goals regardless of your advertising experience, whether you want to drive people into your store, encourage purchases on your website, or drive installs of your mobile app. Targeting options on Facebook are unparalleled, allowing you to reach people based on their location, age, gender, interests, demographics, behavior, and connections, as well as more advanced options around lookalike audiences and retargeting. You can flex your creative muscle by using images, video, carousel, and canvas across feed and stories units on Facebook and Instagram to drive more results for your business. And finally, advertisers can use our measurement solutions to assess your ad performance and measure those real business outcomes that we mentioned above.

Our ad solutions continue to evolve to fit more use cases and drive better results for brands. If you’re not already advertising on Facebook, you should be!


Facebook Head Office


What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Recently, it’s been The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. It’s a science fiction trilogy by a Chinese writer—I’ve read a lot of sci-fi and it’s unlike anything else. This is not your average “alien civilization” book. It makes you think about what it means to be a human, war, propaganda, the UN, videogames, academia, the implications of technology, the Cultural Revolution in China, good and evil, free will, AI, physics, and a million other things. It’s a rare book that is this thought-provoking across this many themes. Anyway, it’s hard for me to articulate how good it is, but everyone should read it! One person I gave it so said it changed his life! And it’s one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of late, if you trust his judgement.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter digital marketing? What advice should they ignore?

Use your network! I got my first job through a friend of my mom. Eight years later I am still not comfortable with the idea of “networking” as schmoozing and asking people for favors, but I try to think about how I would respond if someone reached out to me, and I know I’d be more than happy to help them get started (and have been able to help a number of people get jobs). People want to help you, so even if you don’t have a direct connection at a company you’re interested in, find someone on LinkedIn that works there and reach out. The worst that can happen is they don’t reply; the best is that you make a connection that can help you get a job. It’s a no-lose situation.

Tactically, I think working at an agency can be really difficult, but there’s no better place to learn the business. You get exposure across clients and channels, and it can help you figure out what aspect of marketing that you’re actually interested in. Always look for opportunities to learn something new, to expand your skill set. That will make you more valuable to your own team, and to a future employer. Ignore the urge to work at a company because of its name or your title; optimize for the work that you’ll be doing on a daily basis, and the people, particularly the manager, that you’ll be working with. And remember that your first job is likely NOT the job you’ll have for the next forty years, so it’s okay if you don’t love it. You can and will have other jobs that you’ll love!