Meta stock plunges 12% on lukewarm earnings, despite strong advertising numbers

Meta announced its first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Wednesday. The company’s stock plunged 12% in after-hours trading, due to the company’s increased expenses and mediocre revenue projections.

The company’s revenue is at $36.46 million, up 27% over the same time last year. Meta said that it saw an average of 3.24 billion active people on its platforms in March, up 7% year-over-year.

The company reported a fiscal first-quarter net income of $12.4 billion, or $4.71 a share, compared with a net income of $5.7 billion, or $2.20 a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Meta’s stock almost tripled last year, and is up an additional 40% so far in 2024. All that growth is due in large part to advertising. In the first quarter, ad impressions delivered across the company’s family of apps with a 20% increase year-over-year, and the average price per ad increased 6% year-over-year.

During the company’s earnings call in February, Meta finance chief Susan Li said that the company has been investing in artificial intelligence models that can predict what ads might be relevant for specific users.

The company has also seen an influx of cash from Chinese retailers including Temu and Dhien who have been heavily advertising on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms.

“It’s been a good start to the year,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO. “The new version of Meta AI with Llama 3 is another step toward building the world’s leading AI. We’re seeing healthy growth across our apps and we continue making steady progress building the metaverse as well.”

Meta has also been focusing on cutting costs, eliminating unnecessary projects, and reducing its workforce in places where it can. According to SEC filings, at the end of last year, the company employed 67,317 worldwide, down from more than 87,000 in 2022. The company’s current head count is 69,329, representing a decrease of 10% year-over-year.

User estimates from Apptopia earlier this week indicated that Meta’s Threads currently has more daily active users in the United States than X (formerly Twitter), in a trend that has continued since December. Threads now has an estimated 28 million daily active users. In contrast, in April, X averaged 21% fewer daily active users at 22 million.

In its earnings report Wednesday, Meta reiterated that the company is seeing strong momentum within its family of apps, as well as important progress on its longer-term AI and Reality Labs initiatives.

The company also said it continues to monitor an active regulatory landscape, including increasing legal and regulatory headwinds in the U.S. and the EU that could significantly impact the business moving forward.