Zuckerberg warns Meta investors that profits from AI will take time

  • Mark Zuckerberg has told Meta investors in an earnings call this week that the company’s efforts in AI will take “several years” to yield dividends.
  • He added that the company’s recently released Meta AI has been used by tens of millions of people.
  • The company’s revenue for Q1 2024 is up 27 percent year-on-year.

Mark Zuckerberg was in buoyant mood this week during an earnings call with Meta investors looking at the figures for the first quarter of 2024 at the company.

He should be too, with Meta’s quarterly revenue up 27 percent year-on-year to $36.5 billion.

While the balance sheet for the company is looking healthy, Zuckerberg did advise some caution to Meta investors, specifically when it came to efforts and investments around AI. Meta, like all the other big tech players, has made several large-scale plays in this field, and Zuckerberg has warned that these will take time to yield the dividends that many would be hoping for.

He also seemed to make a passive aggressive jab at any investors looking to put pressure on him should the investments take longer than expected to deliver the expected returns.

“Historically, investing to build these new scaled experiences in our apps has been a very good long-term investment for us and for investors who have stuck with us,” he explained while highlighting the performance of Instagram and its Reels offering.

“And the initial signs are quite positive here, too. But building the leading AI will also be a larger undertaking than the other experiences we’ve added to our apps, and this is likely going to take several years,” he advised.

Zuckerberg also pointed to some of the more immediate returns in terms of AI, with the company’s Meta AI solution that rolled out to users last week already seeing “tens of millions” of people trying it.

It looks like this new solution is going to be a significant focus for the company moving forward, with Zuckerberg noting that, “There are several ways to build a massive business here, including scaling business messaging, introducing ads or paid content into AI interactions, and enabling people to pay to use bigger AI models and access more compute.

“And on top of those, AI is already helping us improve app engagement, which naturally leads to seeing more ads and improving ads directly to deliver more value,” he continued.

While it remains to be seen whether Meta AI will be the next great revenue driver for the company, it’s clear that substantial effort is being placed behind it in order to make it a viable avenue for advertising down the line, which remains a core revenue generator across all Meta-owned platforms.

[Image – CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED Alessio Jacona on Flickr]


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