(News Bulletin 247) – The social network specialist published results that exceeded expectations in the first quarter, with in particular an increase in its income. The group has also revised downwards its total expenditure forecast for the current year.

The results season is proving to be of excellent quality for the “big techs”. While waiting for Amazon tonight and Apple next week, Alphabet and especially Microsoft delighted the market on Wednesday. The same is true for Meta, this Thursday, with its first quarter accounts.

The parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram, managed to return to growth in the quarter, a first for almost a year, according to Reuters. Revenues rose 3% as reported, to $28.65 billion, and 6% excluding currency effects.

“The improvement in revenue appears to be driven by improved revenue per user,” observes Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

Monetization powered by AI

According to the latter, the consensus of analysts amounted to 26.76 billion and was therefore literally exploded by Meta. Earnings per share, of 2.20 dollars, certainly fell by 19% over one year, but again it came out well above analysts’ forecasts, at 2.03 dollars.

“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Faced with analysts, the leader explained that artificial intelligence tools had made it possible to improve the monetization of content, in particular “reels” (short videos), with an increase of 30% on Instagram and 40% on Facebook, compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Li told analysts that Meta had notably benefited from a sharp acceleration in advertising spending in China, where the economy has been driven by the lifting of health restrictions since the start of the year.

Turn of the screw on costs

On Wall Street, the action Meta jumped, taking 13.4% to 237.48 dollars at the start of the session. Since the beginning of the year, the action has risen by almost 100%. In addition to good results, during the last two publications, the stock was driven by economy measures. The group has largely tightened costs, with more than 20,000 job cuts announced since November, which has reassured investors.

In fact, Meta has revised its total spending projection for the current fiscal year downwards, from a range between $86 billion and $92 billion, to a figure between $86 billion and $90 billion.

For the second quarter, Meta expects revenue of between $29.5 billion and $32 billion, which would mark further growth, as 2022 revenue was $28.15 billion. . And analysts were counting, before these indications, on a lower figure of 29.53 billion, according to the Refinitv consensus of Reuters.

“Meta had a better than expected start to the year. In this economic environment, and after the disaster of 2022, 3% year-on-year revenue growth is an achievement,” reacted Debra Aho Williamson, analyst from Insider Intelligence, quoted by AFP. “And their strong guidance for the current quarter shows that the business may be truly on the mend,” she adds.