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Alexandre Hohagen, Google’s former vice president of Latin America sales, has left to head up ad sales for Facebook in the region, the New York Times reports.The move shows that Facebook is taking the battle with Google beyond technology and into advertising sales.
The companies have been in a hiring war for engineers in Silicon Valley, with Google reportedly paying one engineer a $6 million bonus to prevent her defection.
But Facebook’s biggest challenge right now isn’t hiring engineers to build features that attract users. It’s earning more money from each of its users to justify its valuation of $50 billion or more. In 2010, Facebook reportedly earned about $600 million — about one dollar per user. To get that number up, Facebook will have to sell more ads in more parts of the world, and figure out how to target those ads more effectively so advertisers will pay higher rates.
Hiring a Google ad veteran to build a Latin American sales team is a good first step.