Google reported $8.13 billion in sales, excluding revenue passed on
to partner sites. Gross revenue was $10.58 billion, up 25% from a
year earlier. Net income was $2.71 billion, up from $2.54 billion
in the year-earlier period but down slightly from $2.73 billion in
the third quarter of 2011.
More important for Google, the world's biggest search engine
became less dependent on search advertising alone: Display revenue,
including network ads and YouTube, has become a $5 billion
annualized business, according to CEO Larry Page. In October 2010,
Google announced that display had become a $2.5 billion business.
"I'm most excited by the fact that we improved our velocity and
execution," said Mr. Page, noting that the fourth quarter was the
first time that revenue had passed the $10 billion mark.
In addition to the $5 billion run rate for display, Google
reported that its DoubleClick ad exchange had 130% growth in
spending year-over-year. One driver of display growth was marketer
interest in buying for specific audience categories -- such as
hybrid-car buyers or adventure travelers -- which the technology
now can target , according to SVP-Advertising Susan Wojcicki. She
said display's growth is also being driven by brand advertisers'
interest in YouTube's relatively new TrueView format, where
advertisers pay only when viewers opt-in to watch an ad.
Ford, General Motors,
Electronic Arts and L'Oreal were
cited as marketers moving ad spend toward Google's display network
Google's share of U.S. display-ad revenues grew to 9.3% in 2011
from 8.6% in 2010, according to an estimate from eMarketer. It
predicts that Google will tie Yahoo in display ad revenues this
year, with each sharing a little over 12% of the market.
While Google doesn't break down its advertising revenues by
search, display or mobile, SVP-Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora
said that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had "led to strong
performance across the product portfolio."
Google didn't offer any specifics about its mobile business,
but reported in October that
mobile had become a $2.5 billion run-rate business, up from $1
billion a year earlier.
360i's CEO Bryan
Wiener said he had expected a strong showing from Google in mobile
-- where its share of search is dominant -- after Black Friday and
Cyber Monday, when mobile search exploded.
"What's lifting them seems to be a tipping point in consumer
behavior," Mr. Wiener said, also noting that he had expected
Google's display business to benefit from YouTube's redesign and
the momentum it generated for brand display advertising.
Mr. Page also reported that Google+ now has 90 million users,
vs. 40 million reported last fall. He said that 60% of users
engaged on the network daily and 80% weekly.
He also said that 700,000 Android phones are activated every
day, with 250 million now in use.