Connecting people and businesses: A look into monetization design at Meta

By Jhilmil J., Serene L., Marcos M. and Wendy O.
11 min read
February 13, 2024
A photo collage of four people on a dark grey background.


Learn how the monetization design team at Meta plays a critical role in helping advertisers, creators and businesses grow around the world.

Four photographic portraits of the blog's authors, Wendy, Serene, Jhilmil and Marcos.

The goal of the monetization organization is to empower people and businesses to succeed in the global economy. As a VP of this organization and a former small business owner, I connect with this goal because I know firsthand how hard it is to run a successful business. My teams build technologies that help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals — from publishing tools that promote their messaging, to marketing tools that help them develop compelling creative, to messaging tools that help businesses connect with their customers and more.

Designing monetization technologies at scale is an incredibly exciting, complex and challenging endeavor. Outside of Meta, our designers navigate a vast ecosystem that encompasses diverse languages, cultures, political landscapes and important regulations. Within Meta, designers collaborate with numerous teams to ensure what we build seamlessly integrates into a broader system of technologies, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, as well as in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). This complexity, while exciting, demands strategic thinking and collaboration and carries an enormous amount of responsibility.

I’m excited to dive into a Q&A with monetization design leaders Serene L., Jhilmil J. (JJ) and Marcos M. to hear how the technologies and experiences their design teams build help businesses, advertisers and creators around the world connect with billions of customers in meaningful ways — and how design plays a critical role in driving real impact.

Wendy Owen, VP, Head of Monetization Design, Meta

Q: You each touch a different aspect of monetization at Meta. Who are you designing for and what problems are you solving?


The content design teams I lead at Meta use words and design strategy to solve problems for small businesses and large advertisers. However, in my mind, we’re really solving for anyone who uses Meta technologies. Our technologies are known for helping people discover new ideas or that perfect thing. When we make it easy for businesses to create an ad that reaches the right person at the right time, we drive the delight of discovery.

Almost all of our advertisers are also people who use our technologies. For content design, it’s equally important to make sure we honor what they might experience as people and what they need from us as a business.


I lead product design teams that are responsible for building solutions for three audiences across Meta technologies: (a) businesses and advertisers, (b) internal sales and marketing teams and (c) consumers. Our teams build the monetization tools that any advertiser or marketer touches with respect to Meta ads, whether it's serving a local florist or the largest businesses in the world. We also develop industry-defining customer relationship management (CRM) and sales tools to empower our internal sales teams with data-driven insights, removing administrative tasks so they can focus on building strategic relationships with their advertising partners. Our teams also design experiences for consumers when they interact with our ads products, including privacy considerations, ad controls and ensuring transparency and consent.


My team identifies and builds new business opportunities across Meta technologies, with our current focus being on the Meta Verified product. Meta Verified is a subscription service that offers blue badges and other valuable features that help businesses and creators kick-start their social presence. The problems we are solving are relatively new to Meta as we introduce concepts like a subscription service. Design plays an important role in defining and applying the overall strategy to improve experiences that align to the needs and expectations of the people we serve.

Two side-by-side mobile devices that showcase the Meta Verified product's onboarding flow and highlight the in-product educational content when signing up for the product.

Q: In your time here, how have businesses and the monetization design organization evolved?


When I first joined what was then Facebook nine years ago, businesses weren’t fully invested in digital marketing and commerce, and budgets were allocated towards traditional media. As businesses began to see the value in social media, the role of design became increasingly important. It was crucial in translating the innovative concepts introduced by this new medium into tangible, measurable value for businesses.

At Meta, we build for every kind of business, which means we need to innovate for everyone by understanding the evolving needs of businesses as they invest in our technologies. Design has always been at the forefront of tackling these changes, working to simplify our ecosystem of technologies to deliver real value to our customers.


In the past, across our industry, connecting quality experiences to real business outcomes was difficult. We had correlation, but not always causation. Meta is investing in connecting those dots at a level I’ve never seen before. Our data science peers work with content and product design teams to gather quantitative data on the business impact of UX-based experiments. User experience research shows that businesses expect better experiences and that we sometimes fall short of those expectations. Adding quantitative and qualitative data to our experience quality discussions has turned awareness of a problem into actions to solve it.


To emphasize what Serene said, real business outcomes are also driven by a strong business acumen, which is a skill set that the design organization at Meta invests heavily in through comprehensive internal training and case studies. When I started working at Meta, our design teams were very focused on optimizing for “design-only” objectives: design quality, craft and pixel perfection — which of course is critical. But as we’ve evolved, we’ve combined these objectives with a deeper understanding of the product and competitive landscapes and developed stronger business acumen for the people we serve. Our path forward is going to be driven by how we design in constraints, so that we can come up with product and design strategies that drive even more value. But our team can’t work in isolation to achieve this. Design, product, engineering, research — each team may have different goals, success metrics and different approaches to problem-solving, but what is the ultimate goal we are all trying to achieve? We’ve worked very hard to break down the boundaries across our teams and organization to align as one unified team and mindset.

Q: What role does design play in building trust in our technologies and trust between the people who interact through our technologies?


Building a new product like Meta Verified inherently involves the challenge of building trust from the ground up. We carefully consider potential trade-offs with each new feature, particularly the risk of adding incremental complexity that could confuse or erode trust in our technologies. To mitigate this risk with Meta Verified, design played a crucial role in examining how the product could seamlessly integrate into our ecosystem, enabling effortless adoption across Meta technologies.

People have traditionally valued and trusted blue badges on social platforms as markers of notability, regardless of how they received them. Our design team recognized that to build trust, we needed to focus on solutions that reinforced the badge's meaning. We did this by collaborating with research and content design teams to test methods for explaining the changes. We also designed new interfaces that offer more transparency when a badge is clicked, detailing how it was received and what it represents.

Two side-by-side mobile devices showcase the Meta Verified product's in-product educational content.


With the increasing use of AI, design is becoming even more critical to building understanding and trust. Design’s visual, written and auditory cues can be a short-hand indication for when an interaction is with a human, been manipulated with AI or is happening directly with an AI agent. Making technology more transparent in a way that is easy to understand has been a design challenge and will continue to be our opportunity. It's not easy — technology is only getting more complex — but it is worth it as we focus on creating safe interactions for the people we serve.

Echoing what Marcos said, Meta Verified is a great example of design’s role in building trust and integrity into our technologies. With this being a new product in the space, we need to leverage every opportunity to reinforce trustworthiness not only in our technologies, but with the advertisers, creators and the people who use them. This means that designers need to be clear on the value proposition of the product and be able to quickly communicate to people, “Hey, here’s that design element that lets you know this is a safe space that delivers on your expectations.”


As designers, it’s our job to represent the needs of the people we are building for and translating those needs into solutions. I ask my teams to place an emphasis on business acumen — not only to understand the product area they’re working in or designing for — but to be an expert on their customer. We ask ourselves, “What are the business metrics? What is the churn? What is retention? What is the revenue?” It’s not just about craft, we have to make compelling arguments and the right decisions with the available information. Building trust is about taking a human-centered approach, so the people we serve can be confident we understand them, their needs and the many factors that influence how they use our technologies.

Q: How have we taken a dense, technical space like building monetization technologies and found ways for design to lead?


Data. We’ve stood up programs based on data and framed them as business opportunities. At Meta, designers are business thinkers too. We use quantitative data to influence planning and investment — balancing short-term risks with potential long-term benefits.

Our approach as a multidisciplinary team of design practitioners is also fundamental here. Content design, product design, user experience research — all of our design disciplines are baked into the product team. This means, our design organization does not sit in a silo — our collaboration with engineering and other cross-functional partners places design at the core of how we address product questions to impact all stages of product development.


To put it simply, if our tools aren’t easy to use and do not deliver, this impacts the businesses that use our technologies and Meta’s business overall. So how do we systematically go about solving problems and identifying new opportunities? First, we identify the issues by gathering both quantitative and qualitative data through a combination of audits, dogfooding, research benchmarking studies, creating streamlined feedback loops from people like our sales teams who connect with businesses daily, funnel analysis and direct feedback from the people using our technologies. Then, we set up a comprehensive execution program that allows us to prioritize and triage the issues by identifying the size of the risk, the effort and the time investment to resolve. It’s the monetization organization’s cultural priority to emphasize our shared responsibility to uphold our product quality bar and run initiatives like organization-wide “fix-a-thons” and cross-functional collaborations, which have driven meaningful product impact.

Q: What makes you excited about working in this space?


As designers in monetization, we carry a huge responsibility on our shoulders, helping businesses find their customers, grow their reach and experience meaningful value. Designing for monetization is all about building in constraints: pattern matching and thinking systematically, while balancing a design vision against real business needs. This work has an incredible impact for people around the world, while also pushing us to evolve as designers. For me, I’m excited about how we can take digital advertising to the next level, harnessing the power of AI and leveraging its potential across our technologies. The innovation and impact for businesses is unlimited!


When I joined Facebook in 2014, I was comfortable designing for consumer experiences. However, I wanted to make a difference in how we developed enterprise tools that could rival those designed for consumers. At the time, there was a perception that enterprise products lacked quality, craftsmanship and a people-first approach. As I spent more time on the monetization team, I was inspired by the many designers who shared my goals and the progress we were making as a design organization. It has been nearly a decade since I joined the monetization organization, and I am still amazed at the opportunities to have a meaningful impact as a designer. I am inspired by the people who rely on our technologies to succeed — they remind me that what I do here truly matters.


I want to work in a product space where there is opportunity to have real impact, and that space is here. In monetization, the outcomes for the businesses we serve can be life changing. As content designers, we make that possible by getting into the systems and deeply understanding all facets of the customer experience. In real life, there’s nothing more satisfying than being at a friend’s house, complimenting a new rug or cool gadget and hearing them say, “I found that on Insta!”

Design at Meta is for everyone who touches user experience and design.

Whether you’re a product designer, writer, creative strategist, researcher, project manager, team leader or all-around systems-thinker, there’s something here for you.

Design at Meta is a window into the unique expertise and perspectives of the multidisciplinary teams who are building the future of digital connection and bringing the world closer together.