Analysts Look to YouTube to Buoy Google Q2 Earnings

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-07-14
 
 
 

Google will report second quarter earnings July 16 after the market closes, with many analysts expecting the search engine giant to post a solid quarter in the face of the lumbering economy.

Google does not provide financial guidance, though analysts from Thomson Reuters said they expect Google to notch $5.06 per share on sales of $4.05 billion. Sanford Bernstein's Jeff Lindsay expects Google to report revenue of $4.04 billion and EPS of $4.91. Citigroup's Mark Mahaney is more conservative for Q2, expecting Google to rack up sales of $3.82 billion and EPS of $4.72 per share.

BroadPoint AmTech analyst Benjamin Schachter said he expects Google grew Q2 sales one to two percent sequentially, noting that Google's search ad business "held up relatively well in Q2 in the face of a challenging broader macro environment. Advertisers faced with pressured ad budgets continue to redistribute media dollars online and toward measurable campaigns."

These analysts base their expectations on Google's paid click growth, gains in search market share and boosts from DoubleClick's display ad and YouTube's video ads businesses.

Schachter said in a research note Google is clearly increasing monetization on YouTube and experimenting more actively with a variety of different ad formats. Google's progress with its Android mobile operating system and Google Apps in the enterprise will also be the focus for analysts during the Q2 earnings call after the bell.

Google executives will also likely hear questions about Chrome OS, the company's widely publicized Linux-based operating system for netbooks. This OS isn't expected to appear in computers until late 2010.

Google has also taken several steps in the last six to eight months to cut costs, trimming headcount and shuttering several projects that weren't paying dividends. Despite those cutbacks, Google's Q1 was something of an anomaly, with the company posting its first decline in revenue compared with the previous quarter since it went public in 2004.

Google is hoping that its efforts may have made the company a bit more nimble to fight the furious charge of Microsoft Bing, the software company's revamped search engine that  blasted onto the scene more than a month ago.

Bing has been garnering solid and sometimes rave reviews for its results relevancy, which compare favorably to Google's own results. Bing also scored points from search engine experts for indexing Twitter tweets in July.

While it's still early days, Bing will put a lot more pressure on Google to innovate in search. Google has certainly responded in the second quarter, and executives will be sure to stress some 300-plus search engine enhancements for the period.

Some of these include visualization tools such as the Wonder Wheel, the Google Squared spreadsheet search tool, and smaller changes such as adding RSS feeds and hot queries to its Blog Search, or tag clouds to its Book Search.

The spotlight will also be brighter on Google when comScore releases its June search market data before Google issues its Q2 earnings Thursday. BroadPoint's Schachter said this will be among the most closely watched comScore releases in a long time, but doubts Bing will keep knocking on Google's door.

"While MSFT will likely show a moderate sequential gain according to the June data, we still have our doubts about Bing's ability to maintain a sustained attack on Google's share of Internet queries," Schachter wrote.

Still, it's impossible to ignore the buzz Bing has brought to the market, with search experts such as Danny Sullivan wowed by Microsoft's renewed efforts to fight Google on its home turf.

Microsoft is also reporting Q2 earnings after the bell, an hour after Google announces at 4:30 PDT.
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