Meta stock skyrockets as ad revenue proves resilient for Facebook and Instagram’s parent

 

By Christopher Zara

 

Meta Platforms reported earnings on Wednesday for the first quarter of 2023, beating analysts’ expectations with earnings per share of $2.20 on revenue of $28.65 billion, and demonstrating that its advertising business is more resilient than some investors had feared.

 

Analysts were expecting EPS of $2.02 on revenue of $27.7 billion, according to a consensus estimate cited by MarketWatch, both lower than what the company reported a year ago. Although Meta’s profits did see a dip, its revenue was up 3% over last year, an impressive feat given the current economic climate.  

Likewise, the company said that average daily users on its family of apps—which includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger—grew 5% in March to 3.02 billion.

“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings release. “Our AI work is driving good results across our apps and business. We’re also becoming more efficient so we can
build better products faster and put ourselves in a stronger position to deliver our long-term vision.”

 

Meta shares jumped almost 12% in after-hours trading. The company’s stock was already up more than 67% year to date. It could see its best day since early 2022 when the markets open on Thursday.

The rosy report comes as the social media giant continues to undergo layers of intense and often brutal cost cutting. After leaning heavily into all things metaverse for the better of 2022, Zuckerberg changed course late in the year, announcing one of the biggest round of layoffs in Big Tech—11,000 employees. Three months later, Meta announced that job cuts would continue through at least May of this year, with Zuckerberg declaring 2023 “the year of efficiency.”

Redoubling efforts on its core business—digital advertising—appears to be paying off, but for how long is anyone’s guess.

 

A report from Insider Intelligence last week estimated that Meta’s share of the global digital ad market will be just 20% in 2023, its lowest in five years. This is due in part to rising competition from fellow social media company TikTok, but also from Amazon, which is seen by many advertisers as offering something that social media doesn’t: visitors who are already in the mood to buy things. 

“Advertisers want to reach consumers closer to the point of purchase, and they want their ad dollars to work as efficiently as possible,” principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in an emailed statement. “Retail media offers that in spades. Meta has yet to fully confront this threat.”  

Fast Company

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