Google reports record $50bn revenue for 2012

By Danny Palmer
23 Jan 2013 View Comments
Google chief executive Larry Page

A strong Q4 helped Google achieve $50bn (£31.5bn) in annual revenue for the first time last year.

The fourth quarter of 2012 saw Google generate revenue of $14.4bn (£9bn), up 36 per cent on the same period in 2011. Total revenue from outside the US accounted for 54 per cent of Google's sales for the quarter.

"We ended 2012 with a strong quarter," said Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page. "Revenues were up 36 per cent year-on-year, and eight per cent quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50bn in revenues for the first time - not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.

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"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," he added.

Shares in Google went up by around five per cent after the announcement of record earnings.

Of the search firm's total revenues in Q4, 67 per cent came from Google's own site, an 18 per cent increase on the previous year. Total advertising revenue improved by 19 per cent, while paid clicks increased by 24 per cent compared with 2011 and were up nine per cent compared with the previous quarter.

However, growth was made slightly trickier by a six per cent drop in the price paid by advertisers for cost-per-click, as much like Facebook the firm is coming to terms with monetising the increased use of mobile devices.

It represents the fifth quarter of decline in this area for Google, but the company remains confident that it can take advantage of opportunities to increase revenue from the smartphone and tablet market.

Overall, Q4 was more positive for Google than the previous quarter, which saw the firm miss analysts' expectations and figures leaked early, which caused trading in the company's stock to be temporarily halted.

In a less welcome development, Google has seen its share of the UK web search market drop to its lowest point in five years, according to research by Experian.

In what was the biggest month for internet searches, December saw Google sites account for 88 per cent of all searches made, with Microsoft's Bing gaining slightly.

"Clearly, Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines in the UK market. There are seven times more searches conducted on Google sites than on all the other search engines combined," said James Murray, digital insight manager for Experian Marketing Services.

"However, this is encouraging news for Microsoft as Bing once again starts to gain some momentum and traction in the UK search market," he added.

Murray indicated that Bing is in a strong position to further increase its share in the search market.

"Bing's availability across multiple Microsoft devices and becoming the default search engine on sites such as Facebook has also contributed to an increase in market share, as the way in which consumers use search engines continues to diversify."

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