Google Boosted Profits in Fourth Quarter

By Cameron Scott 

social networks, social media, search, technology, googleAfter a shaky third quarter, Google’s profits rose by 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $2.89 billion, as advertising revenue grew despite continued erosion of the average cost-per-click.

“We hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half. In today’s multi-screen world we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit,” said CEO Larry Page in a statement.

The company today reported total revenues of $14.42 billion for the quarter. Nearly 90 percent of the revenue, or $12.91 billion, in the quarter came from Google. The amount was up 22 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, before the company acquired Motorola. Nearly all — 95 percent — of revenue came from advertising.

Motorola Mobile revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 came to $1.51 billion. Its operating loss, however, was $353 million.

Google plans to sell Motorola’s Home division in 2013 in an ongoing effort to make Motorola profitable.

An important metric, cost-per-click, or how much Google earns each time a user clicks or taps one of the ads it serves, continued to decline. The metric’s decline has slowed since it first worried financial analysts, who see it as a key measure of Google’s profitability on the mobile platform. Cost-per-click fell 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, but just 2 percent from the end of the third quarter of 2012.

Google has 53,861 full-time employees, 37,544 in Google, 11,113 in Motorola Mobile and 5,204 in Motorola Home, which will soon be sold. The company’s total headcount rose over the quarter, even as it made layoffs at Motorola.