Meta’s Turnaround Thrives: September Quarter Profits Double!

Meta's Turnaround Thrives: September Quarter Profits Double!
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Meta’s Turnaround Thrives as it Meta Surpasses Expectations with Strong Q3 Earnings.

Meta has once again outperformed Wall Street’s expectations in the third quarter, signaling the success of its “year of efficiency” turnaround strategy. The company reported a 23% year-over-year increase in quarterly revenue, exceeding analyst projections by reaching over $34 billion. Furthermore, Meta more than doubled its profits, with a net income of nearly $11.6 billion, a stark contrast to the same quarter in the previous year when profits had declined by half.

Following the report, Meta’s stock (META) surged by up to 4% in after-hours trading, adding to the impressive 140% year-to-date increase as of the closing of the market on Wednesday. This solid financial performance comes as Meta announces the near-completion of its cost-cutting plan, which included a series of layoffs after a challenging 2022.

“In summary, it was an exceptional quarter for Meta, marking its most profitable performance in years,” commented Jesse Cohen, Senior Analyst at in response to the report.

In February, Zuckerberg unveiled his vision for a “year of efficiency” in response to Meta’s third-quarter revenue decline, which was compounded by a challenging year marked by Apple’s app privacy changes, reduced digital ad spending in the face of broader economic uncertainties, and heightened competition from platforms like TikTok.

Meta’s latest report revealed robust user growth across its suite of applications, including its flagship Facebook platform. Facebook’s monthly active user base experienced a notable 3% year-over-year growth, surpassing 3 billion users, compared to the 2% growth recorded during the same quarter in the previous year.

Snap reported in its recent earnings report that certain advertisers temporarily suspended their ad spending in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict earlier this month. This raised concerns about potential implications for the broader digital advertising industry. During an analyst call on Wednesday, Meta’s CFO, Susan Li, acknowledged that they had also observed a decrease in ad spending early in the fourth quarter, coinciding with the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict. However, Li emphasized that it’s challenging to attribute this softening in demand to any specific geopolitical event.

In addition to its current achievements, Meta is confronted with other potential hurdles. Just one day before the latest earnings report, the company was hit with a lawsuit by numerous states, alleging that the social media giant has negatively impacted the mental health of young users through features that are purportedly addictive, including infinite news feeds and frequent notifications that demand constant attention. In response, Meta defended itself, stating that it has already introduced more than 30 tools designed to assist teenagers and their families.

Meta has been channeling substantial funds into its Reality Labs unit, where its metaverse initiatives are housed. In the September quarter, this unit incurred a loss of over $3.7 billion, up from the $3.67 billion loss in the same period the previous year. Despite a revision of its 2023 total expense guidance to between $87 billion and $89 billion, Meta anticipates that Reality Labs will continue to experience year-over-year operating losses in both 2023 and 2024.

For the final quarter of 2023, Meta forecasts year-over-year revenue growth ranging from 13.5% to 24%.

Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that Meta’s commitment to efficiency remains unwavering. The company achieved its highest operating margin in two years during the September quarter, and he expressed enthusiasm for maintaining this operational discipline. He also highlighted that AI will be the company’s primary investment focus in 2024.

Zuckerberg revealed that Threads, Meta’s competitor to the platform formerly known as Twitter, has nearly 100 million monthly active users. This announcement signifies steady user growth after an initial surge in sign-ups and subsequent engagement decline following its July launch. Zuckerberg expressed optimism about the platform’s potential, believing it has a “good chance” of reaching 1 billion users if it sustains growth over the coming years.

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