Last Friday, Google’s (GOOG) retail blog published — and then unpublished — what seemed like positive stats for Cyber Monday: Paid clicks increasing from 9% to 39% year-over-year for queries like “department stores” and “comparison shopping.” (The point of that post: To encourage retailers to keep advertising during the holiday season.)
Google has since re-published the stats, but has added new qualifications. They’re not actually Cyber Monday stats, but a “a sample of advertisers in various retail verticals” during Thanksgiving week, ranging from the Tuesday before it through Cyber Monday. Google also adds a disclaimer in light grey text: “Note: this is a sample of retailers only and should not be viewed as indicative of our financial performance during this period.”
So, what to make of the stats, now that they’re even more vague? It still seems like good news that parts of Google’s business — the ones they choose to tell us about — measured by paid clicks, are growing up to 39%. (Actual revenue growth could be more or less, depending on ad pricing.)
But as UBS analyst Ben Schachter notes today, it’s still tricky to put this data into context. He expects the correction to “raise some eyebrows among investors.”
Especially as other reports suggest the search market is “soft” in Q4.