The world’s largest digital advertising platform wasn’t immune from brands pulling back spending as consumers tighten their wallets.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube among other divisions, missed analyst estimates on earnings per share and revenue during its latest quarterly report on Tuesday. The company posted earnings of $1.06 versus the $1.25 Refinitiv analyst estimate. Revenue came in at $69.09 billion compared to the $70.58 billion projection, slightly below the 6 percent year-over-year growth Wall Street was expecting. It marks the slowest growth rate since 2013.
“We’re sharpening our focus on a clear set of product and business priorities,” said Sundar Pichai, Alphabet and Google CEO, said in a statement. “Product announcements we’ve made in just the past month alone have shown that very clearly, including significant improvements to both Search and Cloud, powered by AI, and new ways to monetize YouTube Shorts. We are focused on both investing responsibly for the long term and being responsive to the economic environment.”
With advertiser budgets shrinking, digital ad-reliant companies are feeling the crunch. About $54.48 billion of Alphabet’s revenue from this quarter came directly from advertising. YouTube, surprisingly, saw its revenue shrink 1.9 percent year over year, only earning $7.07 billion in the quarter. The company is also facing increased competition from other platforms that provide entertainment, including TikTok.
"When Google stumbles, it's a bad omen for digital advertising at large,” said Evelyn Mitchell, Insider Intelligence principal analyst. “Not only did Google miss analyst expectations for topline revenue, YouTube ad revenues shrank for the first time since Google started reporting YouTube earnings separately in Q4 2019, due in large part to persistent competition in streaming and short video.”
September was the fourth consecutive month that advertising spending decreased, according to Standard Media Index’s Core Data report. Figures declined 5 percent year over year. Snap, which missed revenue estimates during its third quarter and did not provide guidance for the upcoming Q4 2022, blamed “platform policy changes, macroeconomic headwinds, and increased competition” in a letter to investors.
Alphabet did have a bright spot in Google Cloud. The division reported earned revenue of $6.87 billion this past quarter, a 37.6 percent increase year-over-year. However, losses in the division widened to $699 million from $644 billion from the same period a year before.
Pichai previously said in September the company may undergo some layoffs and hiring freezes, adding he wants to make the company 20 percent more efficient. The company has also cut funding to some divisions including in-house incubator Area 120, as well as shut down digital gaming service Stadia.