Google: Why comScore's Report on Our "Surprising" Paid Click Data Is Also Surprising
Google (GOOG) has finally gotten its say about comScore’s (SCOR) “surprising” reports on its lousy paid-click performance. Published on Feb. 26, that report suggested a material weakening in Google’s paid-click advertising business. It sent investors fleeing into the woods and singlehandedly knocked 7% off Google’s share price.
ComScore subsequently backed off its claims a bit, publishing a blog post called “Why Google’s surprising paid click data are less surprising” which explained that the decline in Google’s paid clicks it charted could have been the result of the company’s click-quality initiatives and not a slowdown in its business. But on Tuesday, comScore published another report that showed growth in paid search clicks is slowing. One of its key data points: Google’s paid clicks grew by just 1.8% year-over-year.
Well, Google reported earnings yesterday and according to its metrics, paid-click growth grew by about 20%. And CEO Eric Schmidt did not let that discrepancy between those two figures go unremarked: “The business model continues to work very well,” he said. “It’s also interesting to note that paid-clicks growth is much higher than has been speculated by third parties.”
“Third parties” in this case being comScore. Now, granted comScore’s metrics included U.S. clicks alone, while Google’s included worldwide clicks, so comScore’s estimate, in all likelihood, isn’t off by 18.2%. That said, it’s still off according to Google–which, with that one little quip from Schmidt, sent comScore’s shares down more than 7%, the same decline it suffered at the research outfit’s hands back in February.