UPDATE: Google’s Q1 numbers are out, and it grew paid clicks by 20%. So, yes, comScore is the boy that cried wolf. Or is it?
Yesterday we asked if Google’s Q1 would be a “hit” or “miss” and offered numbers from comScore which suggested the news might actually be good.
OK, scrap that.
comScore has now released the “paid click” data for March and, according to the WSJ, it’s not looking good for Thursday’s quarterly report (emphasis added):
The March data from research group comScore Inc., released late Tuesday, marked the third-straight month that Google’s paid clicks, the source of nearly all of its revenue, has disappointed analysts.
ComScore said Google’s U.S. paid clicks grew 2.7% in March compared with the same month last year. That meant Google’s U.S. paid clicks for the first quarter grew just 1.8% compared with the year-earlier period, a sharp deceleration from the company’s 25% growth rate in fourth quarter and 48% growth in the third quarter.
It now almost feels like a foot race between Google and comScore with the winner earning credibility. If Google’s Q1 numbers suck, comScore will be the “go to” company for web metrics. If Google knocks it out of the park, then comScore becomes the fabled boy that cried wolf.