Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is set to release its Q3 2013 earnings on Thursday, October 17. While the company continues to innovate and introduce new products and services, the revenue growth in its core ads is slowing down. This has forced the company to look at other revenue streams to sustain growth. Apart from launching Chromcast during the quarter, the company also launched Motorola’s Moto-X phone. With these new launches Google is aiming to not only improve online ad revenues, but also rake in more dollars by selling devices. In this earnings announcement, we will continue to closely monitor the growth in Google’s core search ads business. Additionally, we will keep an eye on the Motorola division for signs of growth.
Google’s Device Strategy To Boost Online PC Ads Revenues
Google derives most of its value from advertising where it competes primarily with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). According to our estimates, standard PC search ads account for over 30% of Google’s overall value and 60% of its revenues. However, the recent trend in earnings indicates that the growth in online PC ads revenues is slowing down. Additionally, the company’s market share of the U.S. search marketplace has been stagnant at 67%, according to latest data by comScore. 
However, standard PC search continues to be the cash cow for Google. The company is exploring new avenues to boost market share in the PC search ads division. In order to maintain its dominance in PC search, Google is tying up with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as HP, Acer and Toshiba to launch the next generation of Chromebook. This is an important development as the Chromebook will route all search queries through Google by default, and Google can improve its market share if Chromebook sales increase. With a dominant market share, we expect advertisers will continue to earmark more funds for search ads on Google. We expect that revenues from PC search ads will continue to grow due to a rise in the number of searches and resulting paid clicks. However, revenue per search (RPS) for PCs is declining as advertisers are increasingly routing their budget spend towards mobile devices. In this earnings announcement, we continue to closely monitor the RPS metric for better understanding of this trend.
Mobile Ads To Drive Revenue Growth
We currently estimate that mobile search ads contribute approximately a third of the firm’s value. According to our estimates, the company’s mobile revenues more than doubled in 2012 to around $5.2 billion from $2.5 billion in 2011. Gartner has predicted that worldwide mobile ad revenue will exceed $11 billion in 2013, and that the growth rate for ad revenue will exceed 400% during 2011-2016.  Even though mobile search ads are expected to only generate 17% of the company’s total revenues in 2013, we expect this figure to reach to almost 30% by 2016.
Google continues to bolster its search capabilities on the mobile platform by increasing support for mobile devices that run Android OS. Currently, there are over 900 million Android devices worldwide, and its share in the smartphone OS market is on the rise. The market share grew to 80% of total shipments during the second quarter, up from 69% last year. In our opinion, the smartphone market is key for Google’s mobile revenue growth over the long term because more users will access Internet via mobile devices. During this earnings announcement, we will focus on Google’s mobile advertising run rate and growth in Android platform usage.
YouTube Revenues In Focus
In a previous note, we argued that Google is systematically targeting TV ad dollars with the launch of new services and devices such as Chromcast for YouTube. Considering the explosive growth in online video ads spent, we expect YouTube to be a key contributor to Google’s revenue growth going forward. We expect that the unique user count for YouTube will rise during the quarter due to increasing popularity of this platform. Also, it will be interesting to see to what extent the new partnerships that Google has forged with prominent media studios have increased YouTube’s monetization.
Motorola Mobility Sales
The Motorola Mobility division continues to post operational losses since its acquisition by Google last year. Although Google sold most of Motorola’s non-core mobile business, it has re-introduced Motorola in the mainstream mobile market with the launch of Moto X smartphone. We will be looking out for the sales number of Motorola’s new offering during the quarter. Additionally, we want to know Google’s strategy to stem losses at this division.
We currently have a $865 price estimate for Google, which is in line with the current market price.Notes:
- comScore Releases August 2013 U.S. Search Engine Rankings, September 11 2013, www.comscore.com [↩]
- Gartner Worldwide Mobile Advertising Revenue, January 17 2013, www.gartner.com [↩]