Facebook owner Meta posts first quarterly drop in revenue as fortunes in digital ad sales diverge

Facebook owner Meta posts first quarterly drop in revenue as fortunes in digital ad sales diverge
Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Meta Platforms. (Photo: Michael Nagle / Bloomberg)

Meta Platforms issued a gloomy forecast on Wednesday after recording its first quarterly drop in revenue, with a global recession looming and competitive pressures weighing on its digital ad sales.

Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company were down about 1.4% in extended trading.

The company said it expects third-quarter revenue of between $26-billion and $28.5-billion. Analysts were expecting $30.52-billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue, which consists almost entirely of ad sales, fell 1% to $28.8-billion in the second quarter to June 30, from $29.1 billion last year. The figure slightly missed Wall Street’s projections of $28.9-billion, according to Refinitiv.

User growth figures showed mixed results.

Monthly active users on flagship social network Facebook came in slightly under analyst expectations at 2.93 billion, while daily active users in the second quarter handily beat estimates at 1.97 billion.

Like many global companies, Meta is facing some revenue pressure from the strong dollar, as sales in foreign currencies amount to less in dollar terms. Meta said it expected a 6% revenue growth headwind in the third quarter, based on current exchange rates.

Still, the Meta results come as fortunes in online ads sales appear to be diverging between search and social media players, with the latter affected more severely as ad buyers reel in spending.

Alphabet, the world’s largest digital ad platform, reported a rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, with sales from its biggest moneymaker – Google search – topping investor expectations. Read full story

Snap and Twitter both missed sales expectations last week and warned of an ad market slowdown in coming quarters, sparking a broad sell-off across the sector. Read full story

The results also shed light on the unique strain Meta’s core social media business is experiencing, as it competes for users’ time with short video app TikTok and adjusts its ads business to privacy controls rolled out by Apple last year.

The world’s biggest social media company is simultaneously carrying out several expensive overhauls to keep that core business pumping out profits, while also investing in a longer-term bet on “metaverse” hardware and software.

Meta’s second-quarter operating profit margin fell to 29% from 43% as costs rose sharply and revenue dipped.

(Reporting by Katie Paul in Palo Alto, California, and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lisa Shumaker.)


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