As its non-U.S. audience continues to surge, now accounting for 60 percent of all active users, Facebook has promoted Mike Murphy to run its global sales efforts. Murphy will oversee growing audience monetization efforts in the U.K., where Facebook recently launched a sales office and employs 12 to 15 staffers, as well as in Canada, Australia and other markets.
Murphy’s title remains VP of Media Sales. His expanded duties were made public along with the news that Owen Van Natta, chief revenue officer and one of Facebook’s first employees, will soon leave the company after a short transition. Additionally, strategy and operations VP Matt Cohler was promoted to VP of product management.
“As chief revenue officer and previously chief operating officer, [Van Natta] has been instrumental in building out the core infrastructure of the company and has been key to building Facebook’s Microsoft relationship,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Facebook credited Van Natta with capably building up its sales and business development teams. Yet he may have been under pressure to improve monetization faster through direct sales and a network relationship with Microsoft. In an all-hands conference call with staffers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told staffers the company had brought in approximately $150 million last year, an arguably low figure for a three-year-old tech wunderkind valued at $15 billion by recent investments. Zuckerberg also reportedly said the company’s internal goal is to double revenue in 2008 to $300 million.
Facebook’s plans for ramping up earnings include new products like its Social Ads referral-based units and its Beacon third party behavioral data sharing program, announced in November. Even though the latter product suffered a setback in the U.S. last year when a privacy outcry forced Facebook to make it opt in, executives have hinted they still hold out hope for its eventual success.
Improved monetization of Facebook’s global audience will also be key, which is where Murphy will be expected to shine. After the U.S. and the U.K., Facebook says its top five country-specific audiences include Canada, Turkey and Australia, in that order. Rounding out the top ten are France, Sweden, Norway, Colombia and South Africa. Europe, including the U.K., now accounts for almost a third of active users.
Facebook opened its first U.K. sales office in October. Led by Commercial Director Blake Chandlee, the London outpost has been growing rapidly, according to a Facebook spokesperson. In comments last month, Chandlee said the firm had set its sites on innovative formats rather than traditional display ads.
“The big three are building large ad networks, and that’s their strategy. That’s a pure media play, and not something we were interested in doing as a business,” he stated.
Murphy was promoted to his current gig after a stint as VP of media sales for Yahoo’s Western region. Earlier he was president at TAG, Inc. and, before that, managing director of business development at CMP Media.
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