Is Facebook about to set up a Johannesburg office? [Updates]


If a job posting on LinkedIn is anything to go by, then Facebook is about to open up operations in Johannesburg.

The social network has posted a position for a Regional Measurement Lead to help bolster its advertising growth in Africa and South Africa.

According to the posting:

Facebook is seeking a highly quantitative, driven, and creative measurement lead to work within our Marketing Science Regional Measurement team to support its advertising business in South Africa and wider African market.

Read more: Habari Media launches ‘first of a kind’ Facebook campaign management tool

The nature of the position suggests that the person who fills it would not be working alone, but would be part of a South African team. That team would fall under the remit of its EMEA offices, which are headquartered in Dublin.

Update: According to tweeter DubbleH33lix, the offices will be located in the high-end Melrose Arch shopping precinct.

“The ideal candidate,” Facebook says, “will be passionate about Facebook, interested in advertising, intellectually curious, a fast learner, and able to move fast while keeping focused on high impact projects”.

Responsibilities for the position include:

  • Working closely with the EMEA Marketing Science team, this role will produce analyses and research that will prove the value of Facebook’s advertising business in this market. Objectives of this position include: Develop, execute and continually evaluate Facebook’s measurement strategy for South Africa and other African markets along with regional sales managers
  • Partner with Facebook regional sales team based to drive deeper, more strategic relationships with clients through measurement and research
  • Serve as the contact for key strategic advertiser relationships as they pertain to measurement
  • Work closely with business marketing team to highlight measurement success through regional case studies and press coverage
  • Develop and manage the measurement budget and lead quarterly/end of year reviews with regional sales leads
  • Support and help implement custom measurement projects for African and global clients
  • Work closely with the marketing science team and R&D team in London to define vertical and audience insights that will attract advertisers to invest on Facebook

Read more: South Africa, Naspers and the Facebook connection

If this position is anything to go by, it also appears to be looking to hire an experienced team. The requirements for the post include:

  • 8+ years of relevant experience, media research experience and general love of data and numbers
  • Demonstrated problem solving ability with experience providing practical business insights from large, complex data sets
  • Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to influence outcomes and communicate technical content to senior clients
  • Ability to manage multiple concurrent projects and drive initiatives in a cross-functional environment while working autonomously
  • Strong SQL skills and Excel skills
  • Experience with experimental design and statistical data analysis preferred
  • Required fluency in English
  • business proficiency in French is an added plus.

Facebook’s interest in South Africa and Africa as a whole has been growing over the past couple of years. In 2011, it announced the launch of its Deals product as the “biggest launch in emerging markets in the next year”.

Read more: The Memeburn guide to the SA digital agency landscape

While it didn’t take long for the product to fold, Facebook retained its preferred partners in the country: namely Habari Media and Popimedia. Given that a South African office would most likely function primarily as an advertising and marketing unit — in much the same way as Google SA does — it’s unclear how those relationships would be affected. The growing scale of the South African digital agency space does however suggest that they may well remain intact.

Update: Popimedia CEO Daniel Levy has confirmed that this will be the case.

“We see Facebook as a partner, not a competitor,” he told Memeburn in an emailed statement. “Popimedia is Facebook’s only PMD “Preferred Marketing Developer” in Africa, this is a strategic relationship of product based partners around the world. Our business is an AdTech company that provides optimisation expertise to achieving the best results on various platforms via our tool meedee8. A large part of what we do involves maths and science, which allows our clients to better strategise when spending their marketing budgets. Furthermore we are well diversified and built around all elements of digital”.

Levy also reckons that Facebook’s entry could be a good thing for the South African digital space as a whole:

“Facebook’s investment in the local economy is a fantastic opportunity for them to educate and unlock budgets, something they have been doing for years. Them being on the ground will allow them to do it better. Further to this it is a sure sign that the African media landscape is maturing. The fact that Facebook sees fit to invest in a local office to drive emerging markets is a great opportunity to expand abroad”.

It is also worth noting that Facebook had a South African connection from fairly early on, with emerging markets media and internet giant Naspers an early indirect investor.

Memeburn is investigating this story and will update it as more details emerge.



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