Google has never been one to conform to market predictions about its quarterly earnings–something to keep in mind when reading Efficient Frontier’s gloomy prediction for 2008’s fourth quarter.
U.S. search advertising spending fell 8% in the fourth quarter of 2008 from the same period in 2007, according to a new study from search advertising firm Efficient Frontier, which had been tracking mostly flat growth for 2008. The study — which covers an undisclosed portion the $750 million in annual spending the company manages globally — marks the first quarter of negative annual growth in the several years Efficient Frontier has been gathering such data, says James Beriker, president and CEO of the firm.
Wall Street analysts are still betting on a double-digit increase when Google announces its Q4 earnings on Thursday–and I tend to agree with that prediction.
I suspect that Google did see a slow down in Q4, but should manage to "massage" the numbers to show double digit–or close to it–growth. However, I’m a little more pessimistic for 2009’s outlook. With Google shutting down more non-core products, laying off employees, and closing offices, I suspect the company is already seeing a decline in business and is bracing for the impact of the recession.
What are your expectations for Google’s Q4 numbers? Increase, decrease, or remain flat?