Google reports record 2012 revenues

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google's reported fourth quarter revenues of $14.42 billion, up by 36 percent on the same quarter last year - and bringing annual revenues up to over $50 billion for the first time.

Excluding traffic-acquisition costs, the company saw net revenue of $9.83 billion, up from $8.13 billion last year. The results exceed analysts' expectations, with a recent poll by Reuters revealing an average forecast of $9.6 billion.

"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter. Revenues were up 36 percent year-on-year, and eight percent quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half," says CEO Larry Page.

"In today’s multi-screen world we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be at Google."

On the advertising front, cost-per-click was up two percent on the previous quarter, but down six percent on the previous year. The fall is related largely to the fact that many consumers are using mobile devices for search, where Google's ad rates are lower.

Aggregate paid clicks, which cover clicks related to ads served on Google sites and on the sites of partners, were up by 24 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, and up nine percent over the third quarter of 2012.

Overall, advertising revenue was up by 19 percent, compared with a rise of 25 percent a year ago. The company's own sites accounted for two thirds of this, generating revenues of $8.64 billion for the quarter. Partner sites brought in $3.44 billion, up 19 percent on a year ago.

Motorola Mobility continues to cause problems for Google, reporting an operating loss of $353 million during the quarter. However, as the company points out, it's early days yet for the unit, which was only formally acquired by Google six months ago.

The company sold Motorola Home to Arris last month, and says its revenues would have been as high as $15.24 billion if the unit had been included.