Alphabet, Google’s parent company, closed out its last quarter of 2017 with revenue of $32.3 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $9.70, according to figures the company released today (PDF). Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected revenue of $31.87 billion and non-GAAP earnings of $9.98 per share.
Those numbers are up from the last three months of 2016, when Google reported total revenue of nearly $26.1 billion, with non-GAAP earnings of $9.36 per share.
It was a fairly ho-hum quarter for Alphabet, all things considered. Google’s advertising revenue grew 21.55 percent from roughly $22.4 billion during the last quarter of 2016 to roughly $27.28 billion during the same period in 2017. That was (unsurprisingly) the biggest driver of the company’s revenue growth, as it has been many times before.
There’s a darker edge to Google’s ad revenue. Its cost per click — how much advertisers will pay for people to click on advertisements — continues to decline both year over year and sequentially. Its traffic acquisition costs — how much Google pays other firms to direct traffic to its ads and sites — continue to rise, primarily driven by the ad market’s shift toward mobile advertising and other venues that carry higher traffic acquisition costs.
Revenue from Alphabet’s “other bets,” including its Waymo self-driving car subsidiary and Calico biotech arm, rose to $409 million for the last quarter of the year, compared to $262 million during that period in 2016. The operating loss attributed to the other bets has also shrunk year over year, from nearly $1.1 billion to $916 million.
The Google Other segment, which includes (among other things) sales of the company’s hardware, cloud services, and revenue from the Play Store, rose 37.7 percent year over year, from $3.4 billion in the last three months of 2016 to roughly $4.7 billion in the same period last year.
Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer, said in a call with analysts that Google Cloud revenue grew in part because of its improved enterprise readiness, along with an improved sales and marketing team to push its offerings to customers.
Like many other companies, Alphabet took a massive one-time charge at the end of this year to bring overseas cash back into the United States, following the restructuring of the corporate tax code. For that reason, the company lost slightly more than $3 billion in net income, according to generally accepted accounting principles. (GAAP earnings clocked in at a loss of $4.35 cents per share.)
Wall Street investors seemed displeased with Google’s results relative to expectations, sending the stock down more than 3 percent in after-hours trading, as of this report.
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