The company posted total revenues of $86.3 billion in Q4 2023, which was 13% more than the previous year's figure. It was mainly driven by growth in Google Cloud and Google Advertising divisions.
In FY 2023, the company reported revenues of $307.4 billion, up 9% y-o-y. It was mainly driven by growth in Google Services and Google Cloud units. Further, operating Margin increased to 27%, and Operating Income was recorded at $84.3 billion. Earnings for the year (diluted) were recorded at $5.80, down from $4.56 in the previous year.
IT software and Services industries suffered at the start of the pandemic from a fall in demand for software and web services as consumers were more focused on essentials and not discretionary products. That said, the industry saw companies with a portfolio of software as well as services aimed at remote collaboration benefit due to the growing number of people working from home. As a result, Google's revenues saw significant growth in 2021. However, the growth slowed in 2022 due to the tough macroeconomic scenario.
Below are key drivers of Alphabet's value that present opportunities for upside or downside to the current Trefis price estimate for Alphabet:
For additional details, select a driver above or select a division from the interactive Trefis split for Google at the top of the page.
Google.com and Google's international sites (e.g., Google.ru, Google.com.br, and others) offer a dedicated platform to conduct searches on the Internet through PCs and wireless devices.
Google makes money from contextual advertising, known as keyword advertising, that is shown based on the type of search a user conducts. For example, a user searching for "NYC restaurants" would be shown a variety of ads on the right-hand side of Google's search results about restaurants and food services in New York City.
Advertisers on Google bid for keywords (such as "NYC restaurants ") to display their advertisements on the Google search page. Google AdWords allows these advertisers to display advertisements in Google's search results and the Google Content Network through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. The pricing of keywords, the inventory of keywords available, and the frequency of user search impact how much money Google makes on search.
In addition to advertising on its search engine, Alphabet makes money by placing advertisements on other Google-owned properties such as the video-sharing site YouTube, email service Google Mail (Gmail), etc. Alphabet also makes money by facilitating the placement of advertising on its "partner" websites (via the ad-serving platform AdSense), from which it receives a share of the advertising revenue.
Google search on mobile is increasingly gaining importance as more and more users are shifting towards mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for desktop-based web browsing.
We believe Google Search Ads division is much more valuable than Ad Partnerships for Search & Content, YouTube, Gmail, and other divisions of Alphabet due to the following reasons:
Alphabet's flagship search business, Google, continues to dominate globally. The company's superior algorithms and brand recognition have found favor with users, and to date, the search engine market has not boasted of a better search tool. Given the current trends, Google's dominance is expected to continue, although one cannot discount technologies such as Apple's Siri as possible future threats.
As web penetration increases across emerging markets like India, users are expected to become increasingly familiar with and comfortable using web search as the flagship tool to look for information. In addition, web browser development has made it easier to do a web search promptly. For example, Google Chrome obviates the need to open the Google homepage to perform a search. The above factors should contribute significantly to growing global web searches for every PC device.
The mobile revolution would have a significant role in how Google search is utilized. Smartphone and tablet capabilities are improving by leaps and bounds. This includes personal usage like finding restaurants and utilizing maps and GPS (Global Positioning System) and professional uses such as sending/receiving emails and making presentations. As bandwidths increase in emerging markets, mobile device functionality is expected to come at par with PCs in the coming years. This should lead to a substantial increase in mobile devices in use globally.
We expect increasing adoption of Internet search-capable mobile phones, higher mobile Internet speeds, and increasing partnerships between search engines and mobile phone manufacturers (e.g., think Google search on iPhone). Google's open-source mobile OS, Android, should greatly benefit from this, using Google search as the default option. Android also has the advantage of being used by multiple manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, HTC, and most Chinese vendors.
In contrast to search, which is more functional and commercial, online video and social networking are more entertainment-focused, whereas ads are generally seen as a distraction. Currently, advertisements displayed on such platforms are graphical and static, which does not drive the same recall as a moving video (e.g., television ads). As YouTube and other video-sharing sites figure out better ways of displaying ads that are not intrusive and do not interfere much with the user experience, advertisers will be willing to pay more for such ads, driving up overall video advertising monetization.