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Meta Reports Slowdown in User Growth and Revenue Amid Shifting Economic Conditions

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NFTs are Coming to Facebook and Instagram – Whether You Like Them or Not

Tough times at Meta, with the company reporting a decline in monthly active Facebook users, and a further slowdown in revenue, as global economic trends continue to impact the company’s overall performance.

First off, on usage – Facebook is currently seeing 1.97 billion daily active users, a slight increase on last quarter.

The increases were almost entirely driven by the Asia Pacific market, with Facebook continuing to grow in India and Indonesia specifically. Though Facebook usage has continued to decline in Europe, this time in a significant way.

Part of that would obviously be attributed to Russia, where Facebook is facing restrictions due to Government censorship around the invasion of Ukraine. Facebook has 70 million Russian users, and with this in mind, it’s probably surprising that the decrease hasn’t been more significant in this region.

But then again, Facebook’s monthly active user counts look even worse.

Meta Q2 2022

As you can see, Facebook lost two million MAU overall in the period, with, again, European losses being the most significant.

The Russian invasion likely explains much of this, so it may not be as big a deal as it seems, while Facebook has continued to see growth in every other market, if slight in some.

As such, it’s difficult to say what the figures mean, in a broader growth context, given the surrounding environment, and impacts around the world.

Meta has also provided its ‘family of apps’ usage, which incorporates Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

Meta Q2 2022

As you can see here, overall, Meta’s still growing, up just slightly on the last period.

Again, the broader impacts of Russia’s war on Ukraine are a big factor, so it’s hard to take anything definitive from this. But the conflict also doesn’t appear to be easing, and that will continue to have various market impacts – aside from the horrendous human toll – moving forward.

In terms of revenue, Meta brought in $28.82 billion for the quarter, versus market expectations of $28.94 billion.

Meta Q2 2022

Again, Europe is where Meta is seeing the biggest impact – which makes perfect sense, of course, but is still a challenge for Meta to deal with.

Meta attributes the slowdown to weaker advertising demand driven by ‘broader macroeconomic uncertainty’, while it’s also seen lower sales of its VR headsets, impacted by production delays, rising costs, etc.

Meta Q2 2022

Just this week, Meta announced an increase in the price of its flagship Quest 2 VR headset, which is a big deal considering that Meta needs to get more headsets into more homes to realize its metaverse vision. We’re also heading into the holiday season, when it’s most likely to see a sales jump. That could make it a particularly impactful change, which could have knock-on effects for the company’s broader plans for the next stage.

Though it’s probably this chart that will be the most discussed from Meta’s latest results:

Meta Q2 2022

Meta’s overall income – i.e. the money that it’s taking in after costs – is at the lowest level it’s been for two years.

That provides more context as to why the company is now embarking on cost-cutting measures, and why CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told staff that many of them ‘shouldn’t be here’.

Meta’s staff headcount jumped from 59k in 2020, to 72k a year later, as part of its increasing push into the metaverse, and expanding its global footprint. That drive, given the shifting economic landscape, has proven ultimately too aggressive, and has since seen Meta abandon projects like its own smartwatch, consumer Portal devices and social audio projects, while also slashing investment in original content and its Bulletin newsletter offering.    

It seems like Meta is too big to fail, but the chart above provides true scope as to how much its metaverse investment is costing – which could ultimately pay-off, if Meta becomes the engagement platform of the next generation, for a broad range of options. But the risk is also clear, and Meta will need to tread more carefully moving forward.

Which could be difficult, with Zuckerberg also committed to ‘going for it’ in regards to the metaverse shift, and guiding the future of digital interaction. This week, Zuckerberg told staff that Meta is in a ‘philosophical competition’ with Apple to build the metaverse, with the two tech giants on course to clash over what comes next.

As Zuckerberg explained:

“This is a competition of philosophies and ideas, where they believe that by doing everything themselves and tightly integrating that they build a better consumer experience, and we believe that there is a lot to be done in specialization across different companies, and [that] will allow a much larger ecosystem to exist.”

In order to come out on top, Meta will need to keep pumping money in, while its ad revenue likely continues to decline, at least in the immediate term.

It’s a difficult sell for the company, which now needs to face up to shareholders and explain the grand vision once again.

The message will be that this is the right path, that it has to stay the course – that it can’t allow another company to push in and own the metaverse space.

How that’s received could have a big impact on the platform’s continual expansion, which will also influence ad display, user experience, and opportunities.

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today’s Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today's Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Massive cell phone outages across America are being reported today by customers of AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile, US Cellular, and Straight Talk Wireless, according to data from Downdetector, an online platform that monitors connectivity. That story and more news you need to read today, inside.

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

Meta has announced that it’s finally expanding access to its Creator Marketplace tool, which will give more businesses the capacity to search for creators to work with on their Instagram campaigns.

Meta first launched its Creator Marketplace back in 2022, enabling U.S.-based brands to search and connect with relevant platform influencers based on a range of qualifiers, including focus topics, follower counts, location, etc.

And now, businesses in the following regions will also be able to access the tool:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • India
  • Brazil

In addition to this, Meta also says that Chinese export brands will also be invited to connect with onboarded creators in countries outside of China.

Which is interesting, considering Meta’s tenuous history with the CCP’s “Great Firewall”, but the deal here relates to Chinese businesses operating in regions outside of their homeland, which is somewhat separate to Meta’s internal dealings.

In addition to expanding access, Meta’s also rolling new machine learning-based recommendations within Creator Marketplace, which will use Instagram data to help brands more easily discover creators who are the best fit for their campaigns.

Instagram Creator Marketplace

As you can see in this example, the new recommendations will highlight accounts that have strong engagement rates in your niche, have mentioned your brand in the past, or have produced good results for similar businesses.

That could make it easier to find the right fit, or at the least, to give you more options to consider in your process.

Branded Content collaborations can be highly effective on IG, by using the established expertise and experience of creators who have already built a following in the app, and know what works, to boost your promotions.

By working with the right creators, with connection to your target audience, you can secure valuable endorsement within key communities, which can help to germinate your branding in the right communities.

Brands can check out Instagram’s creator marketplace in Meta Business Suite, with access coming to these new regions shortly.



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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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