Shares of Meta Platforms (META -4.13%) have fallen more than 75% from their all-time high set in 2021. The share price is down nearly 22% just since the company reported a disappointing third-quarter on Oct. 26.

Shareholders are becoming frustrated with Meta's increased spending, especially considering the slowdown in revenue growth this year. But for smart investors, there are a few bright spots to pay attention to, which signal a return to form is in the cards for those willing to remain patient with the company.

Here are two bright spots investors should be cheering right now.

1. Users are still growing

Meta continued to add new users in every way that it measures them.

Facebook saw an increase in daily active users (DAU), driven by Asia and the "rest of the world" segment. Europe and North American DAU count remained flat. On the monthly active user measurement, the more saturated geographic regions contributed a bit to the growth, helping Facebook reach 2.96 billion monthly active users.

The family of apps also grew users, adding 50 million daily users and 60 million monthly users across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Management called out strong growth for WhatsApp in North America, where standard SMS is the primary form of mobile messaging.

The continued user growth despite reaching more than 3.7 billion people with its apps is indicative that Meta's network advantage is still working in its favor. If you want to connect with your friends, colleagues, or just about anyone in the world, you can find them on one of Meta's apps. And that's not going to change anytime soon.

Investors should expect Meta to continue to show slow and steady user growth. That's despite assertions that Facebook isn't cool anymore and competition is eating into Instagram.

2. Reels is a success

Management had a lot of good things to say about Reels during the third-quarter earnings call.

Users stream 140 billion Reels across Instagram and Facebook every day, a number that's up 50% from just six months ago. What's more, engagement on Reels is incremental to time spent on Instagram and Facebook. While it might take away engagement from the feed and Stories to some degree, overall time spent is still going up on those apps thanks to Reels.

That's important because many investors are worried about the threat of TikTok to engagement on Meta's apps. And Meta's management said it now believes it's gaining share from TikTok in short-form video.

Meta did the same thing with Stories. As Stories started to grow popular on Snap's Snapchat, Meta copied the format. It was able to invest and grow the format, stymieing Snap's progress in stealing away users and time spent from Instagram.

Reels monetization efforts are going well, too. Reels engagement displaces time spent on its higher-monetized formats like feed and Stories. Management estimates that displacement currently costs it $500 million per quarter. But it's made strong progress on Reels monetization, tripling its revenue run rate to $3 billion in just the last quarter. It expects to neutralize the headwind caused by the shift to Reels in the next 12 to 18 months.

A return to growth will come

These two highlights signal that the core of Meta's business is still in good shape. It's gaining users and those users are spending more time in the apps.

Those highlights are obfuscated by challenges like economic uncertainty curbing ad spend and changes in Meta's ability to track advertisement conversion. At the same time, those challenges require it to invest more in its advertising products, coming up with new formats and better tracking capabilities. That's on top of management's decision to invest in metaverse products and services. The result is a big increase in capital expenditures and a big decline in profit margin.

But as economic headwinds ease and Meta's efforts to improve its artificial intelligence for advertising bear fruit, the company is poised to see a strong return to very profitable growth. Patient investors should be rewarded for holding shares or buying more at these levels.