In a surprising reveal, tech giant Meta has exceeded market predictions with a substantial 23% rise in its third quarter revenue, marking the steepest growth since 2021. As per the company’s forward-looking statements, they project their fourth quarter revenues to be between $36.5 billion and $40 billion. Key data released underscores the company’s robust health. The reported earnings per share were $4.39, notably surpassing the $3.63 previously forecasted by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv.
Revenues touched $34.15 billion, edging out the anticipated $33.56 billion. User metrics also painted a positive picture with daily active users (DAUs) reported at 2.09 billion and monthly active users (MAUs) standing at 3.05 billion. Furthermore, the average revenue per user (ARPU) was recorded at $11.23, a slight increase over the predicted $11.05.
Meta’s core digital advertising sector is experiencing a significant rebound, offering a stark contrast to the challenges faced in 2022. The year-on-year figures display a compelling narrative: a rise from $27.71 billion with a net income spike of 164%, amounting to $11.58 billion. This stellar performance sets Meta distinctly ahead of its competition. For comparison, Google’s parent entity, Alphabet, declared a 9.5% increase in ad revenues, while Snap trailed with a mere 5% growth.
One of the defining factors of Meta’s rejuvenated ad growth can be attributed to its prowess in enhancing online ad efficiency. This comes in the wake of Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy amendments which introduced new challenges for app developers. Meta’s substantial push into artificial intelligence is seen as a game-changer, enticing retailers with the promise of highly targeted promotions. CEO Mark Zuckerberg further spotlighted a 7% and 6% surge in user engagement on Facebook and Instagram, respectively, attributing this growth to innovative content recommendations.
However, it’s not all smooth sailing. CFO Susan Li shed light on potential revenue fluctuations for the upcoming quarter. She cited the unpredictable market conditions in the Middle East, primarily stemming from the Israel-Hamas conflict, as a cause for concern. Li emphasized the intricacies involved in discerning the direct impact of such geopolitical events on ad performance.
Amid its revenue upswings, Meta’s Reality Labs, focusing on VR and AR technologies, faced operating losses of $3.74 billion for the quarter. Cumulatively, this division has incurred close to $25 billion in losses since the previous year. Looking forward, Zuckerberg identified AI as the central investment theme for 2024. Simultaneously, Meta is navigating a phase of strategic restructuring, evident from a 24% workforce reduction compared to last year. This downsizing, along with other efficiency-driven measures, led to a 7% year-on-year decline in costs and expenses.
In the stock market arena, Meta’s trajectory continues to impress. The company’s stock has seen a monumental ascent, with a 150% increase this year alone. This surge positions it as the second-best performer in the S&P 500, narrowly trailing behind AI chip titan, Nvidia.