Facebook’s slowdown warning hangs over strong ad sales, while Zuckerberg talks ‘metaverse’

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is pictured in Bordeaux, southwestern France, March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Illustration/File Photo

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Wednesday it expects revenue growth to “decelerate significantly,” sending the social media giant’s shares down 3.5% in extended trading even as it reported strong ad sales.

The warning overshadowed the company’s beat on Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by increased advertising spending as businesses build their digital presence to cater to consumers spending more time and money online.

Facebook said it expects Apple’s (AAPL.O) recent update to its iOS operating system to impact its ability to target ads and therefore ad revenue in the third quarter. The iPhone maker’s privacy changes make it harder for apps to track users and restrict advertisers from accessing valuable data for targeting ads.

The company also announced on Wednesday that it would require anyone working at its U.S. offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, joining Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O). read more

Monthly active users came in at 2.90 billion, up 7% from the same period last year but missing analyst expectations of 2.92 billion and marking the slowest growth rate in at least three years, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

“The user growth slowdown is notable and highlights the engagement challenges as the world opens up. But importantly, Facebook is the most exposed to Apple’s privacy changes, and it looks like it is starting to have an impact to the outlook beginning in 3Q,” said Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Brian Wieser, GroupM’s global president of business intelligence, said all social media companies would see slower growth in the second half of the year and that it would take more concrete warnings about activity in June and July for anyone to anticipate a “meaningful deceleration.”

Facebook’s total revenue, which primarily consists of ad sales, rose about 56% to $29.08 billion in the second quarter from $18.69 billion a year earlier, beating analysts’ estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Its revenue from advertising rose 56% to $28.58 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, Facebook said. It pointed to a 47% increase in price per ad.

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