Earlier than the metaverse, according to Zuckerberg, WhatsApp business chat will increase sales
Given that Meta’s core advertising company has had difficulties this year, investors are questioning the decision’s prudence.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms Inc, told employees Thursday that WhatsApp and Messenger will fuel the company’s next wave of sales growth, as he sought to allay concerns about Meta’s finances after its first mass layoffs.
Responding to specific questions in a companywide meeting a week after Meta announced it would lay off 11,000 workers, Zuckerberg called the messaging app pair “much earlier in monetization” than ad giants Facebook and Instagram, based on heard feedback. By Reuters.
“We talk a lot about very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that commercial messaging will probably be the next big pillar of our business as we further monetize WhatsApp and Messenger,” he said.
Meta allows some consumers to talk to and transact with merchants through chat apps, including a new feature announced Thursday in Brazil.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment at the internal forum on Thursday.
Zuckerberg’s comments there reflect a change in tone and focus after focusing heavily on extended reality hardware and software investments since announcing a long-term ambition to build an immersive metaverse last year.
Investors have questioned the wisdom of that decision, as Meta Advertising has suffered this year, halving its share price.
In his comments to employees, Zuckerberg downplayed the company’s spending on Reality Labs, the unit responsible for its investments in the metaverse.
People were Meta’s biggest spend, he said, followed by capital expenditures, the vast majority of which went to infrastructure to support its suite of social media apps. About 20% of the budget went to Reality Labs.
Within Reality Labs, the unit has been spending more than half of its budget on augmented reality (AR), with smart glasses products still coming “for years to come” and some “really cool” AR glasses later in the decade. Zuckerberg said.
“In some ways, this is the most difficult job…but I also think it’s the most valuable part of the job over time,” he said.
Nearly 40% of Reality Labs’ budget was spent on virtual reality, while nearly 10% was spent on futuristic social platforms, such as the virtual world called Horizon.
CTO Andrew Bosworth, who runs Reality Labs, said that augmented reality glasses should be more useful than mobile phones to attract potential customers and meet higher standards of attractiveness.
Bosworth said he was wary of developing “industrial applications” for the devices, describing them as “niche”, and wanted to stay focused on building for a wide audience.
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