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More than 5% of Facebook’s workforce deals with AR and VR


Two pieces of information from Facebook sources have given us new insight into the division of labor inside the social media giant.

Words spoken by Oculus team’s head of PC VR Brendan Iribe and a passage from Facebook’s quarterly report indicate more than five percent of the company’s total workforce are devoted to virtual reality in some capacity.

This week, Facebook filed its quarterly report. In that report is a figure relating to the company’s size and how it has grown over the last year. According to the report, “headcount was 18,770 as of March 31, 2017, an increase of 38 percent year-over-year.”

Facebook declines to comment on the size of its individual teams as a matter of policy. However, this week Iribe was a featured speaker at Unity’s Vision Summit in Los Angeles. There he was asked to address why he stepped down as the CEO of Oculus.

By way of an answer, Iribe made the following remarks concerning Oculus’ growth following its acquisition by Facebook in 2014:

“When we shook hands with Mark we were 60 people…And we got to a point where we were over a thousand people. Along that path I started to spend most of my time managing the org and a lot of time on recruiting these thousand people.”

Iribe did not say specifically how far over 1,000 employees the VR team has grown to, however, that means at least 5.3 percent of Facebook’s total workforce is working on mixed reality technology.

We have reached out to Facebook directly to see if it can shine any more light on the specific number of employees it has working on VR and AR technology. We will update this article if we receive any new information.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2017

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Social – VentureBeat

Steve Wozniak discusses how Apple is becoming Microsoft, commercial space travel, and more


There would be no Apple without Steve Wozniak.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple over 40 years ago with the late Steve Jobs, remains a revered figure in Silicon Valley. Although he is no longer connected with Apple, he keeps busy making appearances at big tech conferences to inspire inventors, serves as chief scientist for the enterprise data storage startup Primary Data, and even found time to cha-cha-cha on the TV show Dancing With The Stars a few years ago.

On Friday, Wozniak returns to the upcoming Silicon Valley Comic Con event where pop culture fans, celebrities, and technologists will celebrate “the nerd side of things,” as he put it. In this edited interview with Fortune, Wozniak discusses how his former company is acting like Microsoft, the influence of money in Silicon Valley, and being an introvert in the social networking era.

Fortune: How has the tech landscape changed over the years?

Wozniak: When Steve and I started Apple we were so naïve and young. We didn’t know anything about business. We didn’t know that it’s often the case that you start a company and then you get bought out as an exit strategy. We thought that you start at home, you make a product, and become profitable so you have your company forever. As long as it makes a profit, it never goes away. That’s how I thought companies worked. Boy, it’s a different story now in Silicon Valley.

I think there are an awful lot of people who have a quick exit plan like selling the business to another big company to get enough money to buy a house in San Francisco. Then they move on to the next one. There are many companies that are started by business people and not engineers. Engineers say, “What would be a cool product? What would make the world greater and better?” That’s where I come from.

Engineering is your line of work.

I do not invest. I don’t do that stuff. I didn’t want to be near money, because it could corrupt your values.

What are your thoughts on the rise of engineers as rock stars in Silicon Valley?

Mostly it’s because of how much money they have—and I went the other way. I did not want to be one of them. I invested early in things like museums in the city I love, San Jose. I was born there, and I have a street named after me there because of it. I really didn’t want to be in that super “more than you could ever need” category.

Did you ever think when you were starting Apple that software companies like Facebook would become so dominant?

Well, there was Microsoft. I was just on CNBC and they were asking, “Oh, my gosh. Apple wants to make this software and license it for self-driving cars.” Well, Apple’s becoming Microsoft. Microsoft had an operating system that was their crown jewel and they licensed it to everybody. Apple said no—they had to make the hardware. Hardware and software have to go together [in computers], but not so in cars.

What is your take on commercial space travel and people like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk getting involved?

Nobody expected the iPhone. Nobody expected Google. Nobody expected Facebook and Twitter would be these great things. It is really hard to predict with a spreadsheet what makes sense, otherwise big companies that already existed would have created those things. Of course SpaceX [Musk’s space startup] and Blue Origin [Bezos’ space startup], they’re not coming out of nowhere, but they’re coming out of individuals trying to do something very risky.

It is very risky, but it is fascinating to watch what these companies are doing.

Yeah, space exploration comes down to engineering and scientific knowledge. It does take a certain amount of funding, but NASA’s budget seems so small for what they bring us. It just seems so small that I’m not surprised that large private players can make a difference too.

You recently said that companies like Apple and Google would be even bigger in 2075 than they are now. Do you think these companies will do so by expanding into other areas, like how Google and Apple are moving into healthcare?

I don’t know. Every company should do what they’re good at. There are actors who are just good at acting. Everyone shouldn’t try to do every single thing in the world, and Apple’s big thing, really, is more about protecting the brand. Making products a certain way that protects your brand. That’s one role. That’s one key role in the world, and it doesn’t mean making every single product. Everyone who owns Apple shares just says, “No, no, no, you gotta have something new now.” Well that’s Silicon Valley in that you’re always chasing the next new thing and you never get to stop. I mean unless you’re somewhat smart.

Why is your Twitter feed essentially a timeline of places you’ve visited and restaurants you’ve eaten at?

I am not the right person for social networks. I was never social in my life. I am not good at socializing in person.

I skipped Facebook and I skipped Twitter when it came out, because I’d wind up with everybody asking me to be a friend. I have 5,000 Facebook friends I don’t know, and I’m going to scan what they’re doing in their lives everyday? It doesn’t work well for me because I won’t just cut it down to the only 100 people I really know.

But I found Foursquare. I was actually in Spain and some young kids introduced me to Foursquare, so I started checking in. I thought, “My wife will be able to see where I am.” But if I check into a restaurant and somebody comments on it, I get that comment in an email from Facebook. So I typically have 100 to 200 Facebook inquires a day, and some of those I go in and answer when I feel my answer’s important.

It’s interesting that you prefer Foursquare over other social networks.

It’s kind of one directional, and Twitter can be one-directional. To tell you the truth, I admire what Twitter is and what it’s done for the world. And I admire Facebook, but I’m a little scared of the power Facebook and Google get and I avoid them more than most people. My calendar is on Google and about nothing else of me wants to touch Google. When I get these advertisements all over the place and they’re exactly what I’ve been looking at recently, you’re living in my world. You’re making it stale. That’s not the adventurous world of going and watching a new movie with superheroes achieving victory.

Well, that’s a realistic application of artificial intelligence today.

That’s today’s level of simulated intelligence to kind of knowing you. The funny thing is, everyone in popular culture movies has to be an individual—to be above the others, to be super. And that’s how we think of ourselves as human beings. Well what am I? I’m what’s in my brain. I have my memories, my feelings, my way of thinking of the world. And that’s who I am

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

Social – VentureBeat

Equity Podcast: Apple and Amazon buy more companies, and Uber’s saga

 Welcome to the second episode of TechCrunch’s newest podcast, Equity, our venture capital-focused show focused on the numbers, people and companies driving the technology industry. This week, TechCrunch’s Katie Roof, Matthew Lynley, and myself were joined by special guest Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson from Sapphire Ventures. We discussed the potential for rising… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Twitter explores interest in paid version of TweetDeck with more analytics


Twitter is testing the waters to see if highly engaged users would be interested in a paid subscription version of TweetDeck. There’s no indication to suggest that such a service will be available soon, but the idea could be to give power users and brands the tools to maximize reach on the service and showcase its real potential.

“We’re conducting a survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in a statement. “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”

Journalist Andrew Tavani spotted the survey and flagged it on (where else?) Twitter. In the survey, people are asked whether they would like an “advanced TweetDeck experience,” one that would help them keep track of what’s happening in the world, get more insights, and “see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter.” If brought to life, this version would be available for an undetermined monthly fee and would provide features to post, view, and receive alerts, trends, and more analytics than the rest of the 319 million monthly active users on the platform receive.

If you’re not familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a social media management tool similar to Hootsuite and was acquired by Twitter in 2011. And while Twitter has rolled out a host of changes and updates, it has done little to really update the TweetDeck experience. So this premium subscription version could be significant, transforming the tool into a more robust command center that lets brands and highly active users manage their presence, especially around how to communicate with followers and handle promoted tweets, livestreams through Periscope, and more.

One of Jack Dorsey’s priorities as Twitter chief executive has been to make the service easier to use, and while there’s a focus on bringing new users onboard, there’s also a need to help existing users optimize their time on the service. An advanced version of TweetDeck could alleviate some of these issues, while also opening up a new revenue stream for Twitter.

Social – VentureBeat

Tech in Africa: Uber expands mapping project, Google launches a startup bootcamp, and more


Kenyan mobile money service M-Pesa has long been held up as a prime example of African innovation, and has made its owner Safaricom a leader in the Kenyan telecoms space. However, it now has serious competition. The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the umbrella body of the banking industry, last month unveiled PesaLink, a digital payments platform it says will cut the cost of transactions and transform the way consumers interact with banks. PesaLink enables customers to make payments between banks in real-time, without having to go through intermediaries like M-Pesa. Mobile money has a challenger. Tech is being used in…

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The Next Web

Jay Z launches Arrive to fund startups, offer branding support and more

Singer Jay-Z performs before US President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on November 5, 2012. After a grueling 18-month battle, the final US campaign day arrived Monday for Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney, two men on a collision course for the world's top job. The candidates have attended hundreds of rallies, fundraisers and town halls, spent literally billions on attack ads, ground games, and get out the vote efforts, and squared off in three intense debates. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) Jay Z’s new venture capital firm Arrive, has arrived – the rap and business mogul has been planning the launch for awhile, according to reports that surfaced in February, but a press release from parent company Roc Nation made it official on Monday. The investment platform will work with early-stage startups, and offer investment of capital as well as assistance with business… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Snap’s Evan Spiegel is now worth more than two Oprahs

Evan Spiegel in gold tie.


Media tycoon Sumner Redstone turned his ownership of theaters into an empire that controls MTV, Nickelodeon, and the movie studio that put out last year’s Arrival, Fences, and Zoolander 2. And he’s worth nearly $ 2.5 billion less than Evan Spiegel, the 26-year-old who founded Snapchat six years ago, when Redstone was 87.

On Thursday, investors bid up shares of Snapchat’s owner Snap Inc. from its IPO price of $ 17, to nearly $ 25. That gives Snap Inc a market value of $ 33 billion. All for a company that lost $ 515 million last year, leading some to suggest that Snap buyers should take the rose-colored filter off their investments. (Signs of a bubble? This Uber driver bought a single Snap share for $ 25. He’s already nearly $ 2 richer!)

Shares of Snap rose to just under $ 27 on Friday.

Snap Inc.’s booming IPO made a number of people quite a bit wealthier, including a number of venture capitalists and at least one high school. Perhaps the best measure of how well the IPO did, and perhaps a commentary on how exuberant investors are for the company, is just how much it boosted Spiegel’s net worth. Here’s 5 really, really wealthy people who are now poorer than Snapchat’s co-founder. (The net worth figures besides Spiegel’s are from Bloomberg, unless otherwise noted.)

Evan Spiegel
Net Worth: $ 6.0 billion

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 08: Bloomberg LP Founder Michael Bloomberg and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speak onstage during "Disrupting Information and Communication" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

Above: SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 08: Bloomberg LP Founder Michael Bloomberg and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speak onstage during “Disrupting Information and Communication” at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

Image Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Spiegel cashed in $ 272 million worth of stock in Snap’s IPO. Most of his net worth is tied up in the photo sharing company. At $ 27, that stake is worth nearly $ 5.7 billion.

Ralph Lauren
Net Worth:
$ 5.4 billion

Ralph Lauren greets the crowd after presenting his Spring/Summer 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week in September.

Above: Ralph Lauren greets the crowd after presenting his Spring/Summer 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week in September.

Image Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The fashion designer has spent decades building an iconic brand that will likely outlive him. He’s got a very nice house, and he’s worth $ 600 million less than Spiegel.

Richard Branson
Net Worth:
$ 5.1 billion

Sir Richard Branson conducts a television interview at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it's fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia.

Above: Sir Richard Branson conducts a television interview at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it’s fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia.

Image Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Branson is buds with Obama, and working on getting people into space. He’s worth $ 900 million less than Spiegel.

Donald Trump
Net Worth:
$ 3.9 billion

President Trump.

Above: President Trump.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Trump says he’s worth “over $ 10 billion,” but the last time Fortune computed the figure we came up with a number that is now $ 2.1 billion less than what Spiegel is worth.

Oprah Winfrey
Net Worth:
$ 3.0 billion

Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Above: Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Image Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Oprah, who is rich enough to give away garages full of cars, had a good day in the market on Thursday as well. Shares of Weight Watchers, which Oprah now owns 10 percent of, rose 36 percent on Thursday. Oprah’s stake in the company, which she paid roughly $ 40 million for, is now worth nearly $ 115 million. That’s not enough to keep up with Snapchat’s co-founder, though. The queen of media is worth $ 3 billion less than Spiegel.

Tim Cook
Net worth:
$ 785 million

Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. A Congressional report released Monday said that Apple, America's most profitable technology company, used a complex system of international subsidiaries and tax avoidance efforts to shift at least $ 74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012.

Above: Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Investigations Subcommittee about the company’s offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. A Congressional report released Monday said that Apple, America’s most profitable technology company, used a complex system of international subsidiaries and tax avoidance efforts to shift at least $ 74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012.

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Cook is the CEO of Apple, which is the most valuable company in the world, worth nearly $ 700 billion more than Snapchat’s owner. It is also the maker of the devices on which most Snapchat user take their pictures. Cook, however, is worth over $ 5.2 billion less than Spiegel.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

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Social – VentureBeat

Investors pour $2 million more into booze marketplace Drizly

DrizlyDelivery Boston-based Drizly used to be known as the on-demand delivery app for alcohol. More recently, the company evolved into a marketplace that helps brick-and-mortar liquor stores to connect with and sell to customers nearby through web and mobile commerce. The Drizly app shows shoppers different prices on the beer, wine and liquor that they’re looking for at local shops, along with… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Survey: Talking to your Uber driver makes you 3X more likely to have sex


Match.com has released its annual Singles in America survey to shed some much-needed light on the latest trends in the world of dating and help you weave out the bad habits that are stopping you from leading a healthy love life. Right off the bat, the way your handle your phone during dates could be the reason why you’re not getting laid. Singles in America has found out there’s a slew of turn-offs related to your phone usage proclivities. The survey suggests answering a phone call on a first date is likely to put off three quarters of all people. Texting is…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Uber


The Next Web

Facebook Advertising Advice: 10 Tips From Experts at Trello, WeWork & More

facebook-ad-tips.jpg

Facebook started as a way for college classmates to communicate, and it’s since evolved into a hub for content creation, sharing, and advertising.

Over one billion active users engage on Facebook every day, which represents a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to leverage their content in front of potential customers.

The variety of targeting options available allow marketers to get the greatest value out of each ad dollar spent on this vast network, making it an ideal place to drive conversions, downloads, and lead generation. In fact, Social Media Examiner found that 55% of social media marketers use Facebook as their primary platform, and eMarketer learned that nearly 68% of all social media ad spending is on Facebook Ads. Download this free guide for data-backed tips on creating the optimal Facebook  Ad.

We decided to consult with a variety of successful social media marketers to learn more about their strategies for Facebook Ad targeting. Whether you’ve been advertising on Facebook for years or are just starting out, check out these lessons from the pros to maximize your social media advertising ROI.

10 Strategies for Facebook Advertising

1) Keep track of qualitative metrics.

Matt Diederichs, Social Marketing Lead at Hootsuite:

We focused on two metrics [in our Facebook Ads campaign] — video views and offer redemptions. Video views are primarily an efficiency spend, looking at the gross number of video views we can get for our investment, at the lowest possible CPV (cost per view). In the offer redemption area, we can go a bit deeper and also calculate our CPA (cost per acquisition) for each person who redeems the offer. These help us to understand whether it’s worth our investment to pay for direct customer acquisition.

Through all of this, we [also] look really hard at qualitative feedback. Facebook’s Reactions allow us to see not only how many people ‘like’ our content, but also when people ‘love’ or uh … [don’t] love our content. We also aspire for our content to be shareable, so we look for post shares and for comments on Ads. To us, that’s a leading indicator of content resonation.”

2) Take advantage of Facebook’s precise Ad targeting.

Shari Medini, Co-Host of the Push Pull Sales & Marketing Podcast:

You can target any audience [using Facebook Ads]. Almost everyone is on Facebook, and we all share incredible amounts of information about ourselves. Facebook compiles and organizes all of that data for their Ads platform so that marketers can go as broad or as narrow as they’d like. You want to target moms of young children in a 15-mile radius from a [children’s] clothing consignment store? Facebook lets you do that. You want to get young men in the sales profession between the ages of 30 and 35 to click through to your site? Facebook lets you do that.”

Andy Odom, Digital Marketing Director at Santander Consumer USA

Use the Audience Insights feature in your Ads Account to research all of Facebook, fans of your Page, or people in any custom audience to gain better insights into who they are and how to target them. You can upload [an email list] as a custom audience and serve special ads just to them.”

 Haidi Zhu, Head of Performance Marketing at WeWork:

[With Facebook Ads,] we start by analyzing the demographics of our current members to better understand who they are based on location, interests, industry, and more. We use this data to develop audiences to identify potential members and further segment down to deliver ads that feature the WeWork offerings, locations, and services that we strongly believe will benefit them most.”

3) Test different creative assets for best results.

Frank Emanuele, Co-Host of The Marketers Next Door Podcast:

Always A/B test your creative [assets]. It’s easy to think you know what will capture your audience’s attention, but you’ll be surprised when you actually test it. I always compare at least two options and track their performance carefully. Then I put my spend toward the top performer to get the most bang for my buck. I often find that the creative I liked best actually isn’t my top performer.”

4) Pay attention to what visitors do after they click.

Alicia Palmieri, Senior Social Media & Content Specialist at 2U:

2U uses the “Learn More” call-to-action because it performs well with the type of thought leadership [education] content we share.

Our end goal when advertising on Facebook is to get people to view longform, data-rich content. Since we host most of this on our website, we work with our web analytics team to track behavior of people coming from our Ads. This helps us ensure that we’re targeting the right people and providing engaging content that they will enjoy.”

5) Don’t force new trends into your Ad strategy.

 Rachael Samuels, Social Media Specialist at Sprout Social:  

It’s important to have a clear objective for your ads, clear KPIs and a desired cost-per-conversion. Identifying these metrics, setting up proper tracking and keeping a pulse on performance is key to determining ROI from social advertising.”

Aaron Moreno, Digital Advertising Specialist at Sprout Social:  

The social landscape is constantly evolving, and our social team is constantly adapting to meet the needs of our community and stay authentic in our social presence. It’s great to be aware of trends, but you shouldn’t force a trend or new network if it’s not the right fit for your brand. You have to determine a trend’s genuine value offer before diving in headfirst. If something isn’t resonating with your audience, there’s no reason to continue chasing the hype just to be seen doing it — your audience could see that as a major turnoff.”

Chelsea Hunersen, Social Media Manager at HubSpot:

The principles of creating a good post and grabbing attention are the same no matter what the medium. For example, providing clear value and connecting about [your audience’s] real needs is something I always try to do. I’m less concerned about using a new medium like video or canvas just to use it, but I will try it if the technology gives us a better way to reach our audience.”

6) Find inspiration from your competition.

Rebecca White, Community Manager at TrackMaven:

Being able to tell what your competitors are promoting on social is invaluable. Comparing our Facebook spend with that of our competitors gives us a level playing field on which to evaluate the impact of our content.”

7) Publish videos that are short and sweet.

Erica Moss, Community Manager at Trello:

Because [Facebook offers] such a small amount of real estate, it’s important to get to the point quickly with one specific call-to-action, whether it’s a discount to redeem, an event to attend or a prompt to learn more about your product or service. Avoid lofty or flowery language.

When considering images, faces and bright colors pop more (high-res only), and video can be super impactful for ads when kept to 30 seconds or less. Bonus points if your video has closed captioning so that users don’t need audio to consume your message.”

8) Don’t fixate on vanity metrics alone.

Jenna Dutcher, Content Marketing Manager at Localist.com:

Facebook Ads can be a valuable tool, but only if you put effort into actually optimizing and measuring them. We’re big fans of A/B testing here at Localist, and always have at least two iterations of an ad running, sometimes 10-20 versions, where we’ll test things as small as capitalization, imagery, headlines, and CTAs.

You also need to be mindful of what you’re measuring. Success can’t just be based on how many people click or view an ad — what does 500 clickthroughs to a post mean to you and your company?  Be sure to tie superficial metrics like this to an acquisition goal or metric that you actually value, like cost-per-download or cost-per-lead.

9) Focus on the mobile experience.

Jason Myers, Social Media Manager at The Content Factory:

Try composing, or at least previewing, your Ad on a mobile device. Most people view Ads on a phone screen which is why those with stark, text-free images and simple messages get more engagement.”

10) Experiment with video.

Ben Kessler, Director of Marketing at WeWork

We are always eager to test new products and the latest betas to innovate with our marketing. This includes 360” video, renderings, and more, all developed by our in-house team. Because WeWork is truly something you need to experience in person, we’ve seen a lot of success with video to convey our brand and message within Facebook.”

Learn From the Pros

Now that you’ve learned different strategies for successful Facebook Advertising, apply them to your next campaign. A common thread among the responses we received for this article was the importance of constantly testing and evaluating results.

Don’t hesitate to change tactics midway through a campaign to drive greater value and conversions from your Ads. If you’re unsure where to begin with launching an Ads campaign, we have a step-by-step guide to start you off on the right foot.

What advice would you give for Facebook Advertising best practices? Share with us in the comments below.

free guide to facebook advertising


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