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What to Expect From Google Earnings Today

Analysts' consensus is that Google will tally net revenue of $13.21 and earnings per share of $6.54.

It’s still about mobile. Google reports its third-quarter financial results after the market closes on Thursday, and since the company doesn’t break out its ad sales figures for mobile versus desktop, the important metrics to look for are its cost-per-click rates — what advertisers pay when users click on search ads — and its paid click growth — money Google gets when people click on ads that appear on its sites and its partner sites.

Mobile ad rates are generally much lower than they are for desktop, and as more people use their smartphones and tablets to access the Web, online publishers and ad companies like Google will see slower revenue growth.

Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets, who offers his usual helpful Google earnings cheat sheet (see below), expects Google’s paid-click growth to be noticeably down. And Doug Anmuth of J.P. Morgan said Google’s cost per click should decrease less than it has been in recent quarters, because people are starting to pay more for mobile advertising.

Meanwhile, a new report from the Search Agency said Google had 88 percent year-over-year click-through rate increases on smartphones in the third quarter. The company also measured big gains from Google’s shopping feature, product listing ads, saying they doubled in impressions over the last year.

Another angle to consider: Ben Schachter of Macquarie says that, beyond this quarter, Facebook’s strength and Apple Pay will have positive effects on Google as they lift the overall market.

Online video ads have generally remained strong since they command higher rates overall, and Jefferies expects Google’s YouTube unit to have $5.9 billion in video ad sales this year, growing to $8.9 billion next year, giving it an independent valuation of $26 billion to $40 billion. Google doesn’t break out numbers for the video unit, but it often comments on the strength of YouTube.

The markets took a sharp downturn yesterday with factors like weak retail sales and continued economic troubles in Europe depressing investor interest. Google took a three percent hit Wednesday before recovering its losses a bit to end the day down 1.47 percent.

The Street is looking for adjusted profit of $6.54 per share.

In product news, Google this week previewed its new phones, tablets and set-top boxes, and announced it will finally start charging for its shopping delivery service. Plus, not that this will come up on an earnings call, we sussed out a coming investment in augmented reality company Magic Leap.


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