Alphabet's business is growing nicely recently. The company reported strong revenue growth in its fourth quarter, fueled by strength in advertising and a sharp rise in "Google other" revenue. Going into the company's first quarter, investors will be looking for more of the same.
Ahead of Alphabet's first-quarter results, here's a preview of some key areas to watch.
Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Alphabet.
Revenue and earnings per share
In Alphabet's fourth quarter, revenue rose 22% year over year to $39.3 billion, easily beating a consensus analyst estimate for revenue of $39.9 billion. Earnings per share also came in above analysts' consensus forecast for the metric. EPS was $12.77 -- higher than a consensus estimate of $10.82.
For Alphabet's first quarter, the consensus analyst estimate currently calls for revenue of $37.4 billion, up about 20% from revenue in the year-ago period. For EPS, the average estimate is $10.59, down from $13.33 in the year-ago quarter. Notably, however, Alphabet's earnings per share in the year-ago period saw a $3.40 benefit from a new accounting standard that changed the way companies account for equity security investments.
Of course, most of Alphabet's revenue is driven by its advertising business. But investors shouldn't overlook "Google other" revenue, or revenue from cloud, hardware, and the Android app store. Alphabet's Google other revenue in its fourth quarter was $6.6 billion, accounting for nearly 17% of total revenue.
This segment is seeing rapid growth. Other revenue was up 31% year over year in Q4. Even more, this growth was driven by all three of the segment's main constituents: cloud, hardware, and the Android app store.
With Google other revenue seeing accelerated year-over-year growth recently (31% growth in Q4 compared to 29% growth in Q3), investors should look for similarly strong growth in the first quarter of 2019.
Investors will also want to hone in specifically on any updates on Alphabet's Google cloud business -- the biggest contributor to the company's Google other segment. In the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said the company's Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has seen impressive progress recently, with GCP contracts worth more than $1 million doubling in 2018 compared to 2017. In addition, Alphabet said it is seeing strong growth in its cloud business across all of its major geographies and industries.
While Alphabet is unlikely to provide any concrete numbers on its cloud business in its earnings release, management will likely share some information about the company during its first-quarter earnings call.
Alphabet will report its first-quarter results after market close on Monday, April 29.