Calendar of Events


Nov 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Division of Biostatistics Seminar Series hosts Tim Hesterberg—Senior Statistician at Google


Abstract: Google Brand Lift Surveys estimates the effect of display advertising using surveys. Challenges include imperfect A/B experiments, response and solicitation bias, discrepancy between intended and actual treatment, comparing treatment group users who took an action with control users who might have acted, and estimation for different slices of the population. We approach these issues using a combination of individual-study analysis and meta-analysis across thousands of studies. This work involves a combination of small and large data - survey responses and logs data, respectively.

There are a number of interesting and even surprising methodological twists. We use regression to handle imperfect A/B experiments and response and solicitation biases; we find regression to be more stable than propensity methods. We use a particular form of regularization that combines advantages of L1 regularization (better predictions) and L2 (smoothness). We use a variety of slicing methods, that estimate either incremental or non-incremental effects of covariates like age and gender that may be correlated. We bootstrap to obtain standard errors. In contrast to many regression settings, where one may either resample observations or fix X and resample Y, here only resampling observations is appropriate.

Dr. Tim Hesterberg is a Senior Statistician at Google. That means old. Before that he attempted jobs at an electric utility, in academia, and in software. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University, where he played a lot of volleyball. He wrote Mathematical Statistics with Resampling and R; he helped write the ASA Guidelines for Undergraduate Statistics Programs, so he could tell teachers how to teach. Now he’ll tell you how to analyze data!

Event Website

Date and Time

Nov 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm


Lower Auditorium, Medical Education and Telemedicine Building

Event Registration

Registration is not required for this event.

Event Fee



Melody Bazyar    8582462595


Faculty, Students

Event Host

The Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health

Event Category

Talks and Lectures