Google’s US search query growth (GOOG) reaccelerated modestly in March, says Comscore (per Imran Khan of JP Morgan), which should ease concerns that Google bombed the quarter. Query growth (searches) is not the same as paid click growth (revenue events), but the two are related.
Overall US query growth in Q1 did decelerate sharply over Q4, and we continue to expect this will be reflected in Google’s Q1 revenue. Revenue estimates have already come down, however, and the March Comscore data suggests that US revenue will be in line with or even modestly ahead of current estimates. (Note that this is US revenue, not overall revenue).
Google Y/Y U.S. Query Growth
02/08: 26% (Yikes)
03/08: 30% (Phew)
In the past couple of quarters, there has been a loose correlation of queries and revenue: In Q3, US queries were up about 50% and US revenue jumped 46%. In Q4, US queries grew 40% and US revenue grew 40%.
We believe the current consensus for US growth in Q1 is about 25%-30%. Query growth of 30% suggests that US revenue will likely be in line-with or slightly ahead of that.
Yahoo, MSN, Ask, et al
How did all the other search engines do? No major changes. JP Morgan’s Imran Khan has the call:
- Yahoo! domestic core search market share fell to 21.3% in March from 21.6% in February. For the first quarter, Yahoo! domestic core search volume was down 2% Y/Y vs. a 3% decrease in 4Q.
- MSN domestic core search market share declined to 9.4% in March from 9.6% in February. For the first quarter, MSN domestic core search volume was up 9% Y/Y, consistent with 4Q’s 9% Y/Y growth.
- AOL March domestic core search market share declined to 4.8% from 4.9% in February. For the first quarter, AOL domestic core search volume was up 1% Y/Y vs. a 12% Y/Y decline in 4Q.
- Ask Network domestic core search market share increased slightly to 4.7% in March from 4.6% in February. For the quarter, Ask Network domestic core search volume was up 11% Y/Y vs. a 7% Y/Y increase in 4Q.
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