In a notable fourth-quarter report, Meta, previously known as Facebook, exceeded both earnings and revenue expectations. The company reported earnings per share of $5.33, surpassing the expected $4.96 per share. Likewise, Meta reported revenue of $40.1 billion, beating the anticipated $39.18 billion.
Meta’s user growth also showed positive signs, with both daily active users (DAUs) and monthly active users (MAUs) surpassing expectations. DAUs reached a record 2.11 billion, while MAUs totaled 3.07 billion. This growth in user base and engagement is a positive indicator of Meta’s continued popularity and relevance in the social media landscape.
Meta’s average revenue per user (ARPU) also exceeded expectations, with an ARPU of $13.12 compared to the expected $12.81. This indicates that Meta’s user base is highly engaged and actively contributing to the company’s revenue growth. Advertising revenue, in particular, played a significant role in driving Meta’s impressive earnings.
Meta experienced a 25% jump in revenue from the previous year, reaching $40.1 billion. This robust growth can be attributed to the rebound of the online advertising market. Additionally, Meta’s cost-cutting measures resulted in a significant decrease in expenses, down 8% from the previous year. The company’s operating margin also doubled to 41%, indicating that these cost-cutting efforts are positively impacting profitability.
Net income more than tripled to $14 billion, or $5.33 per share, from $4.65 billion, or $1.76 per share, compared to the previous year. Furthermore, Meta declared its first-ever dividend payment, with investors set to receive 50 cents per share on March 26. The company also announced a $50 billion share buyback program, demonstrating its commitment to returning value to its shareholders.
Following the strong earnings report, Meta’s stock jumped 15% in extended trading, continuing its rally from 2023. The company’s market capitalization has swelled to nearly $1.2 trillion, further solidifying its position as one of the largest and most valuable companies globally.
Looking ahead, Meta expects first-quarter sales to range between $34.5 billion and $37 billion, surpassing analysts’ estimates of $33.8 billion. The company also provided insights into its projected expenses for 2024, which are expected to be within the range of $94 billion to $99 billion. With a focus on advancing artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse, Meta aims to leverage these technologies to further strengthen its position in the digital landscape.
While Meta celebrates its strong financial performance, the company faces ongoing criticism and challenges in various areas. Recently, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives were questioned by lawmakers regarding child exploitation and safety concerns associated with the company’s platforms. Parents expressed concerns about the impact on children’s mental health and even tragic outcomes.
Acknowledging these issues, Zuckerberg expressed remorse and acknowledged the severity of the situation during the hearing. It remains a priority for Meta to address these concerns, improve safety measures, and ensure the well-being of all users, especially vulnerable individuals.
Meta’s impressive earnings report coincided with reports from other tech giants such as Amazon and Apple, signaling the end of earnings season for mega-cap companies in the industry. Amazon reported better-than-expected results, particularly in its ad business, while Apple reported revenue growth after a year of decline.
Within the ad industry, Meta faces competition from industry leaders such as Google. However, Meta has attributed its success and financial recovery, in part, to the increased spending by Chinese retailers on the platform. This strategic expansion has allowed Meta to reach users globally and tap into the growing market in China.
Meta’s strong financial performance in the fourth quarter, driven by revenue growth, cost-cutting measures, and user engagement, positions the company for continued success in the digital landscape. With a focus on advancing AI and the metaverse, Meta aims to revolutionize online experiences and further solidify its status as a dominant player in the tech industry.
Meta’s ability to adapt, innovate, and address criticism and challenges will be crucial as it navigates an increasingly complex and competitive digital landscape. By embracing responsible practices, prioritizing user safety, and driving technological advancements, Meta can continue to shape the future of social media and digital interactions.