Meta Revenue Slides Year Over Year in Q2, While Active Users Sputter

CFO David Wehner will become the company’s first-ever chief strategy officer Nov. 1

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The second quarter of 2022 was not a highlight reel for Meta, as Facebook’s parent company reported a year-over-year decline in revenue, as well as slowed growth in family monthly active people and family daily active people on its platforms.

Meta posted revenue of $28.822 billion for the quarter, down 1% from $29.077 billion in the second quarter of 2021, although it should be noted that Apple did not roll out the extensive privacy changes to its iOS operating system until April 26 of last year.

Investing.com senior analyst Jesse Cohen told Adweek, “Facebook’s awful quarter and weak outlook further underline the view that advertisers have been cutting back on spending as the overall economy battles with inflation, higher interest rates and shifting consumer patterns.”

Monthly active people across Meta’s family of applications totaled 3.65 billion as of June 30, up 4% versus the same quarter last year, while it averaged 2.88 billion daily active people in June, also up 4% year over year.

Growth was even more tepid on its flagship platform, as the company reported 2.93 billion monthly active users on Facebook as of June 30, up just 1%, and an average of 1.97 billion daily active users in June, up 3% year over year.

Ad impressions delivered across Meta’s family of apps rose 15% year over year, but the average price per ad was down 14% over the same time period.

Insider Intelligence principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson told Adweek, “The year-over-year drop in quarterly revenue signifies just how quickly Meta’s business has deteriorated. In addition, the reported 14% drop in average price per ad is a steep change coming on top of the first quarter, when ad prices dropped 8%.”

Meta also revealed that effective Nov. 1, chief financial officer David Wehner will become the company’s first ever chief strategy officer, overseeing corporate development and strategy, and current vice president of finance Susan Li will succeed Wehner as CFO.

Wehner said in Meta’s earnings release that third-quarter revenue is projected to be between $26 billion and $28.5 billion, which would represent another year-over-year decline from $29.01 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

He explained, “This outlook reflects a continuation of the weak advertising demand environment we experienced throughout the second quarter, which we believe is being driven by broader macroeconomic uncertainty.”

Investing.com’s Cohen told Adweek that Meta “faces several challenges in the months ahead, mainly a slowdown in revenue growth due to reduced ad spending, as well as a lack of innovation and introduction of new user-friendly features. Looking ahead, Facebook still has to figure out how to deal with Apple’s new privacy approach that limits tracking users, as well as the growing popularity of TikTok.”

Williamson added, “Meta also has usage problems, some of which we were already aware of, such as the lack of meaningful growth in Facebook users. But now, we’re seeing unrest among Instagram users over its pivot toward video and a possible redesign of the user interface. We think that some of this angst will blow over, as it has during other periods where Facebook made a significant change to the user interface. But the hubbub makes crystal clear that Instagram needs to get this UI change right or risk losing some of its biggest fans.”

Revenue at Meta Reality Labs will also take a hit in the third quarter when compared with the second quarter, Wehner said, further cautioning, “We continue to monitor developments regarding the viability of transatlantic data transfers and their potential impact on our European operations.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement, “It was good to see positive trajectory on our engagement trends this quarter coming from products like Reels and our investments in artificial intelligence. We’re putting increased energy and focus around our key company priorities that unlock both near- and long-term opportunities for Meta and the people and businesses that use our services.”

Forrester vice president and research director Mike Proulx did not share Zuckerberg’s sunny outlook on Reels, telling Adweek, “In an attempt to compete with TikTok, Meta is aggressively trying to monetize Reels, which equates to essentially forcing it upon users. Video posts under 15 seconds on Instagram will now be shared as Reels. Instagram has also been testing a new full-screen UI that mimics TikTok and emphasizes Reels in feed. A forced engagement strategy won’t bring Generation Z back to Meta’s platforms and could end up accelerating their exodus.”

CCS Insight principal analyst, connected devices Leo Gebbie shared a cautious outlook as well, telling Adweek, “Meta faces a careful balancing act between investing in the metaverse—its vision for the future of the internet—and navigating shifts from its users toward short-form video and community messaging, both of which are proving difficult to monetize.”