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Google Beats, But Stock Slides As Cost-Per-Click Tumbles

Google, aka Alphabet, reported Q2 earnings that beat on the top and bottom line, reporting EPS of $5.01, above the estimate of $4.45, and earnings per share excluding the $2.7 billion European Commission fine of $8.90, also above the $8.25 expected. Total Q2 revenue of $26.01 billion rose 21% Y/Y, and also beat consensus of $25.64BN.

Yet while Google's top and bottom line results were both impressive, the reason why the stock was down as much as 3.6% in the after hours appears to be that Google reported paid clicks in Q2 rose by 52%, well above expectations, while cost-per-click - which measures what advertisers pay when people click on search ads that show up alongside the results served up by Google’s search engine - declined 23%, a  drop from the -19% CPC reported in Q1 and down even more from the -15% in Q4 2015.

In other words, more people are clicking on ads, but those clicks are costing advertisers less money per click, and generating less sales for GOOGL. In short, a potential revenue mix concern where Google is compensating for lower pricing power (due to the encroachment of Facebook?) with higher ad volumes.

One thing is certain: the CPC trend is certainly not Alphabet's friend:

Additionally, Q2 Revenue ex-Traffic Acquisition Costs was $20.92 Billion, modestly below the $21.07 billion consensus estimate.

Some other details:

  • 2Q Other Bets revenue $248 million
  • 2Q Other Bets operating loss $772 million
  • 2Q Google advertising revenue $22.67 billion
  • 2Q free cash flow +$4.57 billion

While the stock initially responded favorably, surging to new all time highs above $1000, the latest print was down 2.5% as the market digests the potentially disappointing revenue mix data.