Artificial-intelligence (AI) has dominated headlines in 2023. The excitement is understandable -- almost every third-party research report I've looked at pegs the AI market at over $1 trillion by 2030.

However, I'm not ready to bet the farm on AI just yet -- there're almost certainly some overhyped AI investment options out there I'd prefer to avoid. Moreover, there are good investment ideas in the tech space that don't even need AI to beat the market. And I believe e-commerce marketplace eBay (EBAY 2.65%), enterprise-software company Zoom Video Communications (ZM -1.30%), and image-browsing platform Pinterest (PINS 0.89%) could be three such stocks.

1. eBay

Here's what eBay needs to do to deliver market-beating returns: Maintain its highly profitable core marketplace business and return those profits to shareholders.

I'd say that right now eBay is delivering on this investment thesis. The company's revenue dropped 4% in 2022 when adjusting for foreign currency fluctuations -- a small drop. And for the first quarter of 2023, management expects revenue to be up 0% to 2% year over year, which is holding steady enough.

Moreover, eBay's management is returning capital to shareholders in spades. In 2022, it used $3.1 billion on share repurchases and paid $119 million in dividends, for a total consideration of $3.6 billion. That's huge for eBay considering its market capitalization is around $24 billion.

In reality, 2022 was a continuation of a longer-term trend for eBay, as the five-year chart below shows.

EBAY Average Diluted Shares Outstanding (Quarterly) Chart

EBAY Average Diluted Shares Outstanding (Quarterly) data by YCharts

Looking ahead, the trend will continue for eBay. Management is still authorized to repurchase $2.8 billion in shares right now. And management just raised its quarterly dividend payout by 14% -- its fourth straight year of raising the dividend since it started paying one in 2019. 

These things can create shareholder value over the long term. Therefore, so long as eBay maintains its profitable marketplace business, it will have cash to keep this trend going.

2. Zoom Video Communications

Next, here's what Zoom needs to do to deliver market-beating returns: Grow its ancillary enterprise-level business units.

Zoom's fiscal 2023 ended in January. If you only looked at its headline numbers, you'd be concerned. After all, this once high-growth company only grew revenue 7% year over year in fiscal 2023. And management only expects 1% growth in fiscal 2024. 

However, dig below the headline and look at what's happening with Zoom's enterprise business. It ended fiscal 2023 with 213,000 enterprise customers, which was a 12% year-over-year jump. And full-year enterprise revenue was up 24% compared to fiscal 2022. That's strong growth just under the surface.

All of Zoom's newer products -- Phone, Rooms, Contact Center, and more -- are for its enterprise customer base. Early adoption for these products is strong. But investors often ignore these opportunities because they still make up a small percentage of the overall business.

For example, Zoom has 3,471 customers that spend more than $100,000 annually. Of these, only 498 (14%) are Zoom Phone customers. But this number was up a blistering 149% year over year. Adoption trends are strong, but it's still early. Also, consider that Phone is the most "mature" of Zoom's ancillary products. The runway is long for Phone, but even longer for Zoom's other products.

Zoom's growth is slow now but there's opportunity as newer products catch on. And for this opportunity, I believe the stock trades at a compelling price. Its price-to-sales (P/S) ratio is below five, within about 10% of its all-time cheapest. 

ZM PS Ratio Chart

ZM PS Ratio data by YCharts

3. Pinterest

Finally, here's what Pinterest needs to do to deliver market-beating returns: Hold on to users and wait for the advertising market to get back to normal.

At the end of 2022, Pinterest had 450 million monthly active users around the world, up a meager 4% year over year. The company generates revenue when these active users are shown ads. Therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, Pinterest's revenue for the fourth quarter of 2022 was only up 4% from the prior-year period as well.

Earlier in its journey, Pinterest's revenue growth far outpaced user growth because the company commanded better and better ad rates as its technology improved. To this day, it's actively enhancing the platform to improve results for advertisers, including recent integrations with Shopify and LiveRamp to better target consumers and measure results.

CFO Todd Morgenfeld noted that "Softening demand lowered ad pricing across the industry, including on our platform," in spite of improvement to its tech. But assuming the company can hold on to its 450 million users, these platform enhancements could help to reaccelerate revenue growth when demand from advertisers normalizes.

Like Zoom stock, expectations are low for Pinterest right now. On one hand, that's fair. It's near-term outlook is lackluster -- management is guiding for low single-digit revenue growth in the first quarter of 2023. But I believe it's reasonable to expect a return in advertising demand, which could be enough to boost revenue and lead to market-beating returns for the stock.

There will always be something creating buzz among investors -- right now it's AI. Last year it was the metaverse. Who knows what it will be next year. Savvy investors will keep an eye out for current trends without getting too caught up in all the hype. 

I'm sure there will be some good AI stocks over the long term. However, that doesn't mean that other companies are poor investments just because they don't fit the buzziest narrative. Indeed, as we've seen here, eBay, Zoom, and Pinterest still have market-beating potential regardless of how the AI space develops.