announced its Q4 earnings, and CEO Larry Page is "super excited." Revenue for the full year was up 29%. The quarter missed Wall Street's expectations, but Page has no reservations. It was a big quarter for Google+, and Page says that's a key to the company's strategy. "By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+," he says, "we will create amazing experiences across our services."Google just
Page says Google+ "now has 90 million users globally," which is more than double what he announced three months ago. This quarter, Google integrated Google+ into search, so now it's a part of life for anyone who uses Google (unless they opt out). Page says that 60% of Google+ users "engage daily," and 80% are active weekly. That either means Google+ has 54 million daily active users, or, as Forbes points out, it might be sleight of hand, saying only that 54 Google+ users use Google services daily. But since Google+ is built into most of Google now, including search, that distinction is pretty moot.
One of Page's priorities as CEO is to increase "velocity of execution," and he touts Google+ as an example of that strategy paying off. Page says Google+ has shipped "a new feature every day since we launched in June." That's more than 200 updates in total. "Understanding who people are, what they care about, and the other people who matter to them is crucial if we're going to give users what they need when they need it," Page says.
Page says Google is trying to "double down on the really big bets we have made." It closed many existing products last year to make space for Google+, Android, Gmail and Chrome, the projects Page focused on in today's earnings announcement. With 65% of Web searches, 90 million Google+ users, 350 million Gmail users, 250 million Android devices and the #2 desktop browser in the world, Google has an abundance of opportunities to display its ads. What Page didn't say in the earnings call is that the returns on those ads are in decline. Google's average revenue per click declined by 8%, and with all these fancy new features Google is building, its costs for gaining new traffic rose by 18%.
The average Google was paid for each click dropped 8%, while the company's "traffic acquisition cost" rose by 18%.— Horace Dediu (@asymco) January 19, 2012