🚨 Meta Quarterly Earnings call transcript 7/26/23

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg 7/26/23
I just shared our quarterly results. We continue to see strong engagement across our apps and we have the most exciting roadmap I’ve seen in a while. We’re making good progress with Reels, seeing lots of enthusiasm around Llama 2 and Threads, and have some big releases later this year, including new AI products and Quest 3.

Here’s the transcript of what I said on our earnings call:

This was a good quarter for our business. We’re seeing strong engagement trends across our apps. There are now more than 3.8 billion people who use at least one of our apps every month. Facebook now has more than 3 billion monthly actives – with daily actives continuing to grow around the world, including in the US and Canada.

In addition to our core products performing well, I think we have the most exciting roadmap ahead that I’ve seen in a while. We’ve got continued progress on Threads, Reels, Llama 2, and some ground-breaking AI products in the pipeline as well as the Quest 3 launch coming up this fall. We’re heads down executing on all of this right now, and it’s really good to see the decisions and investments that we’ve made start to play out.

On Threads, briefly, I’m quite optimistic about our trajectory here. We saw unprecedented growth out of the gate and more importantly we’re seeing more people coming back daily than I’d expected. And now, we’re focused on retention and improving the basics. And then after that, we’ll focus on growing the community to the scale that we think is going to be possible. Only after that will we focus on monetization. We’ve run this playbook many times before – with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Stories, Reels, and more – and this is as good of a start as we could have hoped for, so I’m really happy with the path that we’re on here.

One note that I want to mention about the Threads launch related to our Year of Efficiency is that the product was built by a relatively small team on a tight timeline. We’ve already seen a number of examples of how our leaner organization and some of the cultural changes we’ve made can build higher quality products faster, and this is probably the biggest so far. The Year of Efficiency was always about two different goals: becoming an even stronger technology company, and improving our financial results so we can invest aggressively in our ambitious long term roadmap. Now that we’ve gotten through the major layoffs, the rest of 2023 will be about creating stability for employees, removing barriers that slow us down, introducing new AI-powered tools to speed us up, and so on.

Over the next few months, we’re going to start planning for 2024, and I’m going to be focused on continuing to run the company as lean as possible for these cultural reasons even though our financial results have improved. I expect that we’re still going to hire in key areas, but newly budgeted headcount growth is going to be relatively low. That said, as part of this year’s layoffs, many teams chose to let people go in order to hire different people with different skills they need, so much of that hiring is going to spill into 2024. The other major budget point that we’re working through is what the right level of AI capex is to support our roadmap. Since we don’t know how quickly our new AI products will grow, we may not have a clear handle on this until later in the year.

Moving onto our product roadmap, I’ve said on a number of these calls that the two technological waves that we’re riding are AI in the near term and the metaverse over the longer term.

Investments that we’ve made over the years in AI, including the billions of dollars we’ve spent on AI infrastructure, are clearly paying off across our ranking and recommendation systems and improving engagement and monetization.

AI-recommended content from accounts you don’t follow is now the fastest growing category of content on Facebook’s feed. Since introducing these recommendations, they’ve driven a 7% increase in overall time spent on the platform. This improves the experience because you can now discover things you might not have otherwise followed or come across. Reels is a key part of this Discovery Engine, and Reels plays exceed 200 billion per day across Facebook and Instagram. We’re seeing good progress on Reels monetization as well, with the annual revenue run-rate across our apps now exceeding $10 billion, up from $3 billion last fall.

Beyond Reels, AI is driving results across our monetization tools through our automated ads products, which we call Meta Advantage. Almost all our advertisers are using at least one of our AI-driven products. We’ve also deployed Meta Lattice, a new model architecture that learns to predict an ad’s performance across a variety of datasets and optimization goals. And we introduced AI Sandbox, a testing playground for generative AI-powered tools like automatic text variation, background generation, and image outcropping.

Business messaging is another key piece of our monetization strategy, and we recently announced that the 200 million users of our WhatsApp Business app will now be able to create Click-to-WhatsApp ads for Facebook and Instagram without needing a Facebook account. This is a pretty big unlock, particularly in countries where WhatsApp is often the first step to bringing a business online. Paid messaging is a bit earlier but is also showing good adoption. The number of businesses using our paid messaging products has doubled year over year.

While we’re on messaging, I’ll mention that we started rolling out Channels on WhatsApp last month. It’s a simple, reliable and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations, and I’m quite excited for more people to try it as we bring the product to more countries through the rest of this year.

Beyond the recommendations and ranking systems across our products, we’re also building leading foundation models to support a new generation of AI products.

We’ve partnered with Microsoft to open source Llama 2, the latest version of our large language model, and to make it available for both research and commercial use. We have a long history of open-sourcing our infrastructure and AI work – from PyTorch, which is the leading machine learning framework, to models like Segment Anything, ImageBind, and Dino, to basic infrastructure as part of the Open Compute Project. We’ve found that open sourcing our work allows the industry, including us, to benefit from innovations that come from everywhere. These are often improvements in safety and security, since open source software is more scrutinized and more people can find and identify fixes for issues. The improvements also often come in the form of efficiency gains, which should hopefully allow us and others to run these models with less infrastructure investment going forward. So I’m really looking forward to seeing the improvements the community makes to Llama 2.

We’re also building a number of new products ourselves using Llama that will work across our services. I’m going to share more details later this year, but you can imagine lots of ways AI can help people connect and express themselves in our apps: creative tools that make it easier and more fun to share content, agents that act as assistants, coaches, or that can help you interact with businesses and creators, and more. These new products will improve everything we do across both mobile apps and the metaverse – helping people create worlds and the avatars and objects that inhabit them as well.

As our investments in AI continue, we remain fully committed to the metaverse vision as well. We’ve been working on both of these two major priorities for many years in parallel now, and in many ways the two areas are overlapping and complementary.

The next big thing on the Reality Labs side is the launch of our Quest 3 mixed reality headset at Connect. It’s our most powerful headset yet – with better displays and resolution, and next gen Qualcomm chipset with twice the graphics performance. It will also have the best immersive content library out there, and it’s 40% thinner than Quest 2. Its mixed reality seamlessly blends your physical world and the virtual one by intelligently understanding the physical space around you. We pioneered mixed reality with our Quest Pro headset, and Quest 3 takes that to the next level. Others in the industry are of course working on bringing mixed reality to the market too, but Quest 3 is going to be the first mainstream, accessible device that we expect many millions of people will get to experience this technology with.

The metaverse content and software vision continues coming together as well. We recently announced that Roblox is coming to Quest with an open beta on App Lab. For Horizon, the team is focused on retention right now and we’re making good progress on that. We’ve made big improvements on avatars as well, and that’s going to be a bridge between our mobile apps and our VR and mixed reality experiences. We’re going to have a lot more to share on both our metaverse and AI work coming up at our Connect conference, which we’re going to be hosting in Hacker Square at our headquarters on September 27th. It’s going be a good one, so I hope you tune in!

To wrap up, I just want to say I’m really proud of our teams for everything we’ve accomplished so far this year. It’s been a tough year in a lot of ways, but it’s also been an impactful one. I’m quite optimistic about the road ahead and thankful to you all for being on this journey with us.