Financial markets are not impressed by Meta’s marvellous Metaverse

By our News Team | 2022

While marketers and creatives seem to love the Metaverse, investors and financiers are taking a more sceptical view of its potential.

So, is the Metaverse the ‘next big thing’ – as so many marketers, creatives and futurists believe – or merely a mysterious and seemingly bottomless money pit – as hard-eyed financiers and investors are increasingly saying?

The respected Financial Times of London reported earlier this week that shareholders of Meta Platforms – which owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and is the home of Mark Zuckerberg’s much-hyped push towards the Metaverse – are angry that he is continuing to spend heavily on it despite a massive drop in the company share price. 

It has gone down by 74% in little over a year and investors are concerned that it is going to drop even further.

The Metaverse

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

“Meta’s shares tumbled 25 percent on Thursday (27 October) after the company revealed that losses from Reality Labs, its division that is building the Metaverse, would grow ‘significantly’ in 2023, after reaching US$9.4-billion in the first nine months of this year,” the Financial Times said.

“Investors were also startled by another jump in capital spending that Meta said would consume as much as $39-billion next year, more than double the level of 2021.”

Would shareholders have fired Zuckerberg?

The publication reported on comments from several senior financial industry figures, who noted that if Zuckerberg did not have the majority control of the business that he has, he would almost certainly have been fired as CEO by Meta shareholders.

Jim Tierney, Chief Investment Officer for US growth at AllianceBernstein, a Meta shareholder, is quoted as saying that mush of the unhappiness has stemmed from Meta’s failure to give any timetable for when the spending binge might pay off. “They’re spending $15-billion a year on the Metaverse and they can’t give us any mile-markers. It’s just a big hope,” he said.

But some tech investors believed Zuckerberg might be justified in pushing aggressively, given the scale of the risk his company is facing. 

Kevin Landis, President and Chairman of US-based Firsthand Funds, said Apple’s move to limit the data that its apps can collect on its devices severely dented Meta’s advertising revenue and appeared to have convinced Zuckerberg that he had no choice but to go all-in on trying to build the next important [Metaverse] computing platform.

What does the African marketing community think of the Metaverse and its future implications? Read more in Issue 3 2022 of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. You can find it here.