Twitter plucks ad man from Google to be research director

In a sign of Twitter’s ever-growing advertising ambitions, the company has hired Jeffrey Graham, a Googler(s goog) and former New York Times(s nyt) executive, to run its ad research operations.

AdAge reported the news Friday morning. Twitter’s head of revenue, Adam Bain, announced it in a tweet:

While Twitter already has a huge and sophisticated ad operation, the value it provides remains unclear to many brands and marketers. On Black Friday, for instance, a study reported that Twitter ads led to almost zero direct sales; Twitter’s value may considerably higher, however, if marketers consider other metrics like data or brand-awareness.

In his new job, it will likely fall to Graham to explain such distinctions. As AdAge notes, Twitter is forecast to take in over $500 million in revenue this year but will need a more finely-hewn product pitch to get to a billion. Graham is not a regular Twitter user (before today, his last one was in January about cats) but Friday morning he tweeted news of his hire and suggested the company’s acquisition of analytics firm Blue Fin will be a key part of its strategy:

Graham’s background is in agencies and, from 2007 to 2009, as a director of customer insight at the New York Times; in the latter position, he advised the publication on ad research and metrics. Most recently, he was head of ad research at Google but is joining a growing tide of people migrating to Twitter.