Online search giant Google exceeded forecasters' expectations with reported revenues of $14.42 billion for the last quarter of 2012. This is an increase of 36 percent over the Q4 2011, and an 8 percent increase over the the third quarter of 2012.
The company also said it achieved record earnings in fiscal 2012 of $50 billion, which Google CEO Larry Page said at a news conference was "not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half."
Looking at the advertising business, the aggregate cost per click, which indicates the amount advertisers pay Google, was down 6 percent year on year and fell for the fifth consecutive quarter. But the decline was not as drastic as some analysts had expected.
"We implemented policy changes this year that improved CPC growth but lowered network revenue," said Google senior VP and CFO Patrick Pichette during the online press conference. "We made changes based on what was good for users and advertisers."
Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of its network members, increased approximately 24 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011 and 9 percent over the third quarter of 2012. Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google's partners, increased to $3.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $2.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer, also spoke positively of the growth in revenue from Google subsidiary YouTube. He said viewers watched 4 billion hours of video and Google struck $8 million in advertising deals last year. Top advertisers also spent 50 percent more on YouTube advertising in 2012 than the previous year.