Shares of Snap sank nearly 30% on Friday, after the company’s flat revenue forecast pointed to more trouble ahead for a social media industry heavily reliant on digital advertising.
Alphabet, parent of YouTube, Meta Platform and Pinterest all fell between 2% and 7%. Twitter plummeted 5%, also dragged down by concerns about security reviews of billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover bid.
Analysts were quick to cut the price target for Snap stock. Morgan Stanley put it at a low of $7, down from $7.74 at which it was trading.
Digital ad space has suffered as brands have cut marketing and advertising budgets in response to lower consumer demand. Snap’s warning exacerbated fears.
So far this year, digital advertising companies have collectively lost around $1 trillion in value, hit by intense competition from TikTok and challenges from privacy changes in Apple’s iOS platform, which allows users opt out of having their data tracked.
Snap on Thursday reported its slowest revenue growth as a public company for the latest quarter, forecasting no increase in the final three months of the year.
Snap, which sells ads through video and a range of filters, is seen as an “experimental platform” by many advertisers, who tend to quickly shift their dwindling dollars to larger, established platforms.
“In a difficult macroeconomy you continue to see ad buyers prioritize the biggest and leading platforms, namely Google and Meta,” said Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik.
Snap shares have lost about 77% of their value so far this year, while Alphabet, Meta and Pinterest have lost between 30% and 60%. Twitter, however, has gained 21% on the prospect of billionaire Musk buying the company.
Twitter falls on Wall Street due to uncertainty about buying
Twitter shares fell about 5% on Wall Street on Friday after information that could complicate Elon Musk’s purchase of the social network.
According to a Bloomberg agency article Thursday night, the Joe Biden administration plans to subject the Tesla founder’s $44 billion takeover offer to a national security scrutiny.
The US government is concerned about the presence of foreign investors, including Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talal and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in the consortium with which Musk obtained more than $7 billion in May to finance his operation.
Bloomberg indicates that this national security analysis could be directed by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), chaired by the Treasury Department.
“In accordance with the law and its practices, the CFIUS does not publicly comment on the transactions that it may or may not examine,” a Treasury spokesman told AFP.
On Thursday, The Washington Post revealed that Musk plans to lay off nearly 75% of Twitter’s 7,500 employees if he manages to buy the platform.
“Twitter is long overdue for cost cuts due to lack of growth,” Wedbush’s Dan Ives said. But for the analyst, firing three quarters of the workforce would be “too aggressive” and would harm the company.
With information from Reuters and AFP.