The collapse in Google’s US paid click growth has scared the bejesus out of Google bulls for the past few months, but Comscore’s April data suggests that trend has reversed. Lehman’s Doug Anmuth:
comScore’s domestic paid click data for April suggest a reversal for Google from the trends seen in 1Q as paid clicks on its [Google] sites accelerated materially to +19.6% Y/Y. This compares with -0.3% Y/Y in January, +3.1% Y/Y in February, and +2.7% Y/Y in March, and is the fastest growth since November ’07, when paid clicks grew 27.3% Y/Y. Although April’s growth rate could be inflated from an easier comp with Easter having been in April last year, we still believe April results were solid across Google’s domestic O&O business.
This Comscore data measures only US clicks and only Google properties–and Google’s international business now contributes a far larger percentage of the company’s growth (not revenue–growth). That said, it is hard to view the reacceleration in US click growth as anything but positive: One hangover concern from last quarter was the sharp deceleration in Google’s US business. April’s click data suggests the business may be be stabilizing.
Meanwhile, per usual, Microsoft and Yahoo took it on the chin:
Yahoo! and MSN’s paid clicks decelerated in April, suggesting improving trends were not evident across all players. Despite Google’s reacceleration in paid click growth, Yahoo’s April paid clicks fell -4.4% Y/Y and MSN’s paid clicks fell -9.0% Y/Y.
While April results for MSN showed an improvement relative to February and March where paid clicks decreased 13% Y/Y and 15% Y/Y respectively, April results for Yahoo! suggest a continued downward trend. In January Yahoo!’s paid clicks accelerated +15% Y/Y, +5.3% Y/Y in February, but then fell 3.1% in March, and fell 4.4% Y/Y in April. Prior to March’s decline in paid clicks, we note that Yahoo! had consistently seen growth in comScore’s paid clicks.
Conversely, AOL’s paid clicks appear to have stemmed their losses, growing 28.3% Y/Y in April, the first yearly growth rate reported for AOL’s paid clicks since July ’07. Ask.com’s growth rate was 95.8% in April, consistent with its growth rates of 112% Y/Y in January, 88% in February, and 78% in March.