Numerous illustration in promoting: Q&A with Inventive Store Researcher Fernanda de Lima Alcantara
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. To highlight the impressive work done by researchers on Facebook, we contacted Fernanda de Lima Alcantara, marketing scientist at the Facebook Creative Shop.
The Creative Shop is an in-house team of creative strategists, designers, writers, producers and data experts who work with advertisers to run effective campaigns for Facebook’s apps and services. Within this team, De Lima focuses on helping businesses succeed by providing them with marketing and promotional information, with the current focus on display in online advertisements.
In this Q&A we ask De Lima about her journey on Facebook, her background and her current research projects. She shares insights from her recently published whitepaper “Diverse and integrative representation in online advertising: An exploration of the current landscape and people’s expectations, ”And explains what marketers should take away from this research.
Q: Before you come to Facebook, tell us about your academic experience.
Fernanda de Lima Alcantara: I started my career in Brazil as a telecommunications technician, but I soon found my passion for data analysis and got a bachelor’s degree in computer science. For almost six years I worked with data mining and decision science in the financial sector. I also got many certifications in analytical and statistical tools. To further develop my skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, I moved to Europe to do a Masters in Machine Learning from University College London.
What I loved about machine learning is that it can be applied to multiple domains (such as neuroscience, bioinformatics, image processing, etc.) to solve real-world problems using a data-driven approach. I learned to design, develop and evaluate suitable algorithms and methods for new applications as well as some new techniques for data analysis. I felt that the machine learning Masters degree was highly tailored to my business experience and area of interest.
Q: How has your journey with Facebook been so far?
FDLA: I joined Facebook in the São Paulo office in 2012. In Brazil, I have helped many companies grow by transforming current marketing practices and developing new strategies that are always based on our basic measurement practices. Over the years I’ve worked on projects involving simple aggregation, descriptive analysis, or more advanced analysis using data models and causal inference.
I officially joined the research team five years ago when I moved to the United States to work in Menlo Park’s Facebook office in California. For the first two years, I was dedicated to consumer insights and spent time exploring the interface between advertiser value and consumer behavior in ad products. I’ve worked on a number of projects, some focused on the consumer journey and others on understanding how people think about our products. It was very exciting to work with a variety of methodologies such as behavioral laboratory and consumer neuroscience, passive measurement in sales touchpoints, surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews.
For the past three years I’ve worked as a Marketing Science Researcher in the Creative Shop in New York. Every day I have the unique opportunity to explore the creative potential of Facebook platforms and to help companies connect with people in meaningful ways and be successful. In my day-to-day life, I use experimental design, online surveys, and Facebook data to create tools for statistical, qualitative, and quantitative analysis. My goal is to learn, share and inspire companies with new opportunities through data, creativity and storytelling. And I love to work at the interface between art and science.
Q: What are you working on right now?
FDLA: In each half, we face exciting challenges in order to advance the industry. I currently have two projects that are in the foreground: the first promotes a diverse and integrative representation in online advertising and the second examines the creative possibilities in emerging platforms.
The first project is very important to me because it promotes social justice and corporate equality. The aim is to identify ways to better represent people in online ads, inspire more inclusive and authentic advertising content, and uncover the positive effects of inclusive presentations – for people and businesses.
The second project explores the new ways people connect online and the new creative potential for people and businesses. In this project, I am exploring creative ideas to help companies thrive in AR, VR, and other immersive experiences.
Both projects give me a sense of community and purpose as they aim to create positive social impact by enhancing people’s representation in ads and their experience on Facebook, and by supporting business growth.
Q: Social impact, diversity and inclusion continue to play a major role in the advertising industry. What should marketers take away from this research?
FDLA: Our research on the diverse and integrative representation in online advertising has shown that stereotypes and prejudices still exist in advertising, with some groups practically non-existent or presented in a stereotypical manner. In contrast, people expect the advertising industry to ensure that different voices and experiences are authentically represented, and they want to see ads that more closely reflect their lived experiences and communities.
While there is no single way to make progress, part of that process is having conversations about inclusivity and ensuring the diversity of people who both build and guide creative development. Part of the challenge is also to support creative development with mechanisms to identify biases and track progress with data.
Basically, people expect brands to get involved and promote better representation and portrayal of people in advertising. In doing so, they can see a number of positive effects on business results.
Advertising aims to tell stories, evoke emotions and force action. However, to improve the way people are portrayed and portrayed in advertisements, we need to bridge the gap between what people want to see in advertisements and what the ad motif – i.e. the characters and plot – actually shows. In this way, we can better reflect the breadth of the people we serve and make progress.
More details can be found in the White paper.
Q: Where can people find out more about your research?
FDLA: An article on this research can be found at fb.me/representationinads.
To learn more about how Facebook celebrates women’s achievements during Women’s History Month, visit the newsroom.