Meta Remarkable Growth : Wall Street’s Admiration for Zuckerberg: Contrasting Paths of Meta and Snap
The financial landscape for tech giants, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (previously known as Facebook) and Snap Inc., has seen a notable divergence, shedding light on their distinct strategies and fortunes.
Both companies faced financial setbacks due to Apple’s iOS privacy update in late 2021 and economic challenges from the past year, including soaring prices, elevated interest rates, and geopolitical crises like the Ukraine conflict. These disruptive factors prompted investors to withdraw from unprofitable ventures, leading to substantial job losses.
This week brought these differences into sharp focus. Following an unfavorable forecast on Tuesday, Snap’s stock plummeted by 14% on Wednesday. In contrast, Meta’s stock surged by 7% on the same day, buoyed by the company’s better-than-expected profits, a resurgence in double-digit growth, and a positive outlook for the third quarter.
Meta’s stock has been a standout performer this year, surging by approximately 160%, a feat comparable to the growth of the S&P 500. Meanwhile, Snap experienced a more modest growth of 20%.
Zuckerberg and Spiegel, the visionary leaders of Meta and Snap, respectively, have taken divergent approaches in funding their ventures. Meta has been funneling billions of dollars into developing the future metaverse, a virtual shared space. On the other hand, Snap’s investments are primarily focused on augmented reality, showcasing the potential of AI in both initiatives.
While Meta demonstrates financial prudence, Snap grapples with profitability hurdles. Meta’s ad revenue growth has been bolstered by the success of ads on Facebook, while Snap’s sales faced a 4% dip in the second quarter.
At Meta’s results meeting, Chief Financial Officer Susan Li revealed that advertising income surged due to increased contributions from online sellers and Chinese companies. The adoption of Meta’s Advantage+ service played a pivotal role in enhancing the company’s ad system post the iOS privacy change, leading to a noteworthy increase in the conversion rate in Q2.
During an analyst session, Zuckerberg was questioned about the business rationale behind the metaverse and the discrepancy between Reality Labs’ financial losses despite the uptick in ad revenue. He justified Meta’s interest in the metaverse as the company’s need for a platform analogous to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. This strategic move enables Meta to expand its reach to platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp while adhering to the rules of each ecosystem.
Zuckerberg emphasized that the metaverse’s trajectory may entail unforeseen changes, cautioning that its realization might take a decade or longer. He envisions a future where smart glasses become ubiquitous, potentially captivating one to two billion users.
Snap’s CEO, Spiegel, presented a different perspective, emphasizing that their augmented reality projects are long-term extensions of their core platform rather than entirely novel ventures.
However, concerns arose when an investor queried Spiegel about Snap’s extensive focus on multi-year projects that are yet to generate immediate revenue. These concerns raise questions about Snap’s balance between future-oriented endeavors and addressing its current financial challenges.
While Meta has largely resolved its ad-related issues, Snap continues to face difficulties in this area.
James Cordwell, an analyst at Atlantic Equities, expressed concerns over Snap’s profitability, highlighting that the company’s substantial investment in infrastructure is hindering its ability to enhance user experiences and target ads effectively. Cordwell doubts whether Snap can succeed in these areas while delivering attractive returns to investors as a subscale platform.
The divergent paths of Meta and Snap are shaping the dynamics of the tech landscape, redefining the future of digital engagement and user experiences.