New From Google Labs: Google Plutocrat
The broader advertising recovery may take time, but search advertising is clearly beating a hasty path back toward normalcy. Or it is in Google’s case anyway.
Reporting third-quarter results after market close Thursday, Google (GOOG) topped estimates, posting net income that rose to $1.64 billion, or $5.13 a share, from $1.29 billion, or $4.06 a share in the same period last year. Net revenue for the period ended in September rose nearly one percent to $4.38 billion. Excluding items, earnings for the quarter were $5.89 a share. Consensus estimates had been calling for $5.42 a share and $4.24 billion in net revenue. The chart below shows revenue sources within Google (click to enlarge).
Impressive. Seems paid clicks grew 14 percent compared to the same period last year, and four percent compared to the prior period. Cost per click was down six percent year over year, but up five percent sequentially.
“Google had a strong quarter–we saw seven percent year-over-year revenue growth despite the tough economic conditions,” said CEO Eric Schmidt. “While there is a lot of uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery, we believe the worst of the recession is behind us and now feel confident about investing heavily in our future.”
Good to hear. Google’s shares, which have already risen more than 50 percent in the past six months, are on another upward tear. They rose 1.82 percent to $539.27 on the news in after-hours trading.
Earnings call highlights via The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew LaVallee:
4:32: Call starts. The cast is the same as last quarter: Mr. Schmidt, CEO; Patrick Pichette, CFO; Jonathan Rosenberg, SVP of product management; and for the first time, Nikesh Arora, president of global sales operations and business development. But there’s a twist–they’ll be using Google’s moderator to vet questions with voters. They vote on “the most relevant questions,” which go to the Google execs, the operator says.
4:35: “While there’s obviously a lot of uncertainty about the pace of the economic recovery, we believe the worst of the recession is behind us,” Schmidt says.
He adds that Google now has the confidence to invest “heavily” in its future. “It’s all good news from our perspective, at least in looking at the quarter.”
4:37: Says “we want to really get to the perfect search engine” and that many advertisers would like to spend more with Google if the company’s product allow them to do that.
4:38: Schmidt says “we’re open for business in making strategic acquisitions, both large and small.”
4:39: It’s Pichette’s turn. “At a high level, we’re very pleased with our Q3 results,” he says. The quarter benefited from growth in AdSense for content and display initiatives.
4:41: U.S. revenue up 4% to $2.8 billion. U.K. revenue decline affected by foreign exchange as well as ongoing macroeconomic weakness, Pichette says.
4:42: Operating expenses rose from the prior quarter, mostly due to payroll, equipment and facilities-related expenses.
“We believe the worst of the recession is behind us,” he says.
4:44: Brazil was a standout in Latin America, Arora says. We’re beginning to see signs of recovery in Europe and Africa, particularly Spain. In Asia, China performed strongly as an emerging market.
4:46: Looking at the display-advertising business, those have also shown strong results, he says.
On YouTube, new advertisers and partners are helping with monetization efforts. Ninety percent of the top 50 advertisers have run YouTube campaigns with successful results–recent examples include McDonald’s and Hewlett-Packard.
4:47: YouTube has signed deals with all four major record labels and several independent labels. Earlier today, Google announced a partnership with Channel 4 in the U.K., which will bring full-length programming to the video-sharing site.
4:48: Arora adds a personal shout-out to the sales team.
4:50: Rosenberg calls the new AdWords front-end one of the company’s biggest investments of the year. Advertisers have new reports, can run more efficient campaigns and can get new features faster thanks to the platform, he says.