SAN RAMON, Calif. — Google’s digital advertising network has shifted back into high gear after an unprecedented reversal during the early stages of the pandemic.
The robust first-quarter advertising growth announced Tuesday provides the latest sign that advertisers are expecting the economy to roar back to life as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and burst out of their pandemic cocoons.
That is particularly true in the travel industry, a key part of the ad market that drastically curtailed its spending last year after governments around the world imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Google vast digital ad empire is now benefiting from that recovery.
The company’s ad sales surged 32% from the same time last year to nearly $45 billion during the January-March period. Its’s the third consecutive quarter of accelerating ad growth for Google following an 8% decline during last year’s April-June period. That marked the first time Google’s quarterly ad revenue had fallen from the previous year since the company went public in 2004.
The resurgence enabled Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., to easily surpass the analyst estimates that help set investor expectations.
Alphabet earned $17.9 billion, or $26.29 per share, more than double what it reported the same time last year. Total revenue, which also includes Google’s cloud-hosting service and device sales, climbed 34% from last year.
Analysts had projected earnings of $15.76 per share on revenue of $51.5 billion, according to FactSet.
The performance pleased investors, who drove up Alphabet’s stock by 4% in extended trading after the numbers came out.