Alphabet Q4 results miss targets but YouTube impresses as it breaks out its revenues

Shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet fell by 3.9 per cent in after-hours trading after it missed analysts’ expectations when posting its Q4 2019 results yesterday. It’s revenues of $37.57bn (£28.44bn) fell short of analysts’ estimates of $38.39bn, though they were up on the corresponding 2018 figure of $31.84bn.

For the first time, Alphabet drilled down into specific areas of the business, including YouTube and Google Cloud. YouTube generated $15.1bn in ad revenues for the whole of 2019, a 35.8 per cent increase on 2018.

Google Cloud also posted healthy revenues of $8.9bn, 53 per cent up on 2018. And while search and other ad services contributed the lion’s share of revenues at $98.1bn, this was only 15 per cent up on 2018’s figure.

eMarketer analyst Nicole Perrin said the fact that Google is breaking out YouTube ad revenues for the first time is big news, and that the results were better than expected. “This is something investors have been looking for, but the information should also give advertisers valuable information about the importance of YouTube as a digital ad vehicle,” she said. “YouTube is growing strongly according to this report, and revenues are above where eMarketer had thought they were. According to our October 2019 forecast, YouTubes global ad revenue was expected to grow nearly 20 per cent to $11.38bn by the end of 2019.