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Meta posts first-ever revenue drop as inflation throttles ad sales

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

Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company were down about 1.4 per cent 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 per cent to $28.8 billion in the second quarter ended 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.

Pressure from a strong dollar
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 per cent 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 impacted more severely as ad buyers reeling in spending.

Alphabet Inc, 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.

Snap Inc 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.

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 Inc 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 per cent from 43 per cent as costs rose sharply and revenue dipped. The Hindu BusinessLine

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