Google Earnings Call Insights: Enhanced Campaigns and Hardware Categories

Google, Inc. Class A (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Enhanced Campaigns

Ross Sandler – Deutsche Bank: Nikesh, I just had one kind of high level question on Enhanced Campaigns in the transition. So can you just give us a little bit more color about the ROIs that most of your customers are seeing? You mentioned a few comments, but are they going up? Do you see a significant opportunity in providing conversion tracking across different screens? What do you think will happen with search budgets if and when you can solve that problem?

Nikesh Arora – SVP and Chief Business Officer: Thank you for the question. I think it’s fair to say that over the last nine months we’ve had to do a super herculean task to take millions and millions of campaigns as Larry mentioned, 6 million campaigns where we’ve had to work with our advertising partners to go and covert them towards and Enhanced Campaigns. And we’ve had some amazing insights both working with the advertisers and as well as our teams, as many advertisers have discovered that they were not addressing the noble opportunity appropriately. They discovered new inventory, they discovered better ROI and better conversion. Of course we had disobeyed the conversion analytics will work across every team and be able to be made available to all of our advertisers. So, we believe that as we get more and more – as we get better in terms of being able to provide more targeting and more comprehensive ad solutions from mobility and across all screens. The ROI should continue to improve. So, I’m very optimistic in the longer-term, because we believe mobility provides more context to advertisers in terms of where the users are where they have been, which would allow for more accurate advertising and advertising which is almost like as good as information for them. So, if that begins to happen, we think the advertising ROI continues to increase and hopefully that means good things for such budgets.

Hardware Categories

Ben Schachter – Macquarie Securities: One question for Larry and one for Patrick. Larry, when you think about hardware, are there other hardware categories beyond just phones and tablets where you believe Google can potentially build meaningful businesses? And then Patrick, in Q1, we didn’t really see the usual uptick in expenses that you kind of see annually. But then now, we do see it in Q2. It sounds like some of that with the accounting issue around depreciation, but can you help us understand what happened there more?

Larry Page – CEO: Thanks Ben for the question. I think we’ve been an early innovator in smartphones and we’ve been really excited about starting Android when no one really thought it was going to be interesting. And I think it’s always a mistake to assume that technology will be static. So, I think assuming over the long-term we are going to have new kinds of devices and ways of interacting with computing and the internet. Obviously we are excited about Google Glass and new ways of interacting with hardware and new types of hardware. With any technological change you probably overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term. So I think we are really excited about making those investments. We are making sure we are positioned to live the future and that’s why I won’t be using Glass because I feel like every time I am using Glass I am living that future. That’s really, really exciting to me.

Nikesh Arora – SVP and Chief Business Officer: Why don’t I jump on the next question, so on the issue of expenses, look our expenses in Q2 were completely in line with the objectives we set for ourselves. In general we continue to exercise financial discipline and monitor our product profitability, but it’s on that basis that we recognized that significant opportunities are ahead of us and with the view to the long-term we continue to invest significantly and intelligently to fuel these opportunities. The fundamental issue is, as I said a number of times on previous calls, if you want to hire X amount of people you have a target for the quarter, or for the year and they come in sometimes a bit over, sometimes a bit under. But the real question is, are you still on the right trajectory for the long-term you are shooting for. So that’s really the issue between Q1 and Q2.

A Closer Look: Google Earnings Cheat Sheet>>