Meta Platforms has pleased Wall Street after recording a strong rise in advertising revenue, as Mark Zuckerberg makes good on his pledge of a ‘year of efficiency’ in 2023 after a tough 2022.

Meta’s second quarter results saw healthy increases in both profits and revenues that helped its Q2 results beat investor expectations. The firm also added to the cheer by forecasting stronger than expected Q3 results.

It has also been a busy period for Meta, after it recently unveiled its long-expected Twitter rival Threads, plus an open source AI platform, called Llama 2, that will allow organisations to utilise a different AI system, other than OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

Meta Llama 2.
Image credit Meta Platforms

Q2 results

Another positive development for Meta came after its second quarter results revealed that ad revenue had risen 12 percent in the quarter, which was faster than the 3 percent ad revenue growth at Google.

Investors were pleased at this, as it showed that advertisers were spending on digital ads again after months of muted spending.

And financially, Meta is reaping the rewards after it posted for the second quarter ending 30 June, a 16 percent increase in profits to $7.8bn from $6.7bn in the same year-ago quarter.

Revenues increased 11 percent to $32bn from $29bn a year earlier.

As a result, Meta shares rose 7.5 percent in after-hours trading.

“We had a good quarter,” admitted Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO. “We continue to see strong engagement across our apps and we have the most exciting roadmap I’ve seen in a while with Llama 2, Threads, Reels, new AI products in the pipeline, and the launch of Quest 3 this fall.”

As part of his promise earlier in the year to make 2023 a year of efficiency, Zuckerberg has been reducing Meta’s headcount.

Last November Meta cut about 13 percent of its employees, or roughly 11,000 jobs, but then in March announced that another 10,000 jobs would go.

Meta said this week that “as of 30 June 2023, we have substantially completed planned employee layoffs while continuing to assess facilities consolidation and data centre restructuring initiatives.”

But not everyone impacted has left.

Headcount at was 71,469 as of 30 June, a decrease of 14 percent year-over-year. Meta said approximately half of the employees impacted by the 2023 layoffs were included in its reported headcount as of 30 June.

Threads usage

Digging into Meta’s operating highlights, it revealed that Facebook daily active users (DAUs) were 2.06 billion on average for June 2023, an increase of 5 percent year-over-year.

Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) were 3.03 billion as of 30 June, an increase of 3 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile ad impressions and price per ad in the second quarter increased by 34 percent year-over-year and the average price per ad decreased by 16 percent year-over-year.

However costs and expenses came in at $22.6bn, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year.

There was no announcement about usage of Meta’s Threads, which is said to currently have 118 million users and which has recently been updated.

But the Guardian cited a report by digital intelligence platform Similarweb, which indicated that despite a big number of initial sign-ups, usage of Threads, has declined significantly in recent weeks.

Three weeks after its launch, Similarweb reportedly said Threads active daily use or the number of users who engage with the site on a daily basis has dropped, from a peak of 49 million on 7 July to 12 million on 22 July.

Threads daily usage, even on its busiest day, was less than half of Twitter’s, according to Similarweb.

Twitter reportedly averages more than 100 million active daily users.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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