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Meta's strategic efficiency and diversification pay off

The news: Meta’s shares surged more than 6% yesterday after the company posted strong earnings results, proving that its “year of efficiency” and diversification is finally paying off.

How Meta got its groove back: The company, which owns Facebook, Instagram, Reality Labs, WhatsApp, and Threads, forecast revenue of $32 billion to 34.5 billion for the third quarter, which surpasses analysts’ $31 billion expectation.

  • The company has returned to double-digit revenue growth, and the stock is up over 160% this year, per CNBC.
  • Its resurgence is thanks in part to a rebound in online advertising and a sign that its “year of efficiency”—resulting in layoffs of 11,000 employees and middle management—cut costs and improved the bottom line.
  • Increased engagement from Meta’s TikTok competitor Reels and a return on continued AI integration and investments have helped its upward trajectory even as its metaverse pivot lays dormant.

Pros and cons: A return to profitability gives Meta the luxury to invest in emerging technologies and establish its foothold in the red-hot generative AI market

  • It can also continue to imbue its products and services with AI including Meta Advantage+ and AI modeling for feeds and ads. 
  • Meta has some breathing room to continue investing in its VR and metaverse aspirations as well as expand on new services like Instagram’s Threads.

The caveat: Meta should invest cautiously—earnings could quickly be offset by losses—in context, the company lost $7.7 billion on its AR/VR Business in the past six months.

Our take: How Big Tech companies recover from the economic downturn is indicative of their future success. 

  • In the case of Meta, its highly diversified business model didn’t just enable the company to overcome economic headwinds; it gave it the latitude to push into AI as well as create new services like Threads.
  • Judicious investments across markets with shorter-term ROI could sustain longer-term ambitions like VR platform expansion.

(Source: Meta)