Growth Wanes at Instacart, GopuffRead more

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Bloomberg.

Alphabet's Boom Time

Photo: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Bloomberg.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Alphabet in 2021. Amid a multifront regulatory assault levied against the company, Alphabet today reported a solid fourth quarter that brought revenue for the full year to $257 billion. That number was 41% higher than what it reported for 2020. The company has not grown that fast since 2007, which tells you just how out of the ordinary last year’s expansion was. 

It’s a good bet Alphabet increased its digital ad market share in the quarter. While we’re yet to hear from the other big ad-based internet companies, Meta Platforms and Snap in particular had flagged that their fourth quarter revenue could be constrained by Apple’s ad tracking changes as well as other macroeconomic factors. Most notably, supply chain constraints were expected to curb some merchants’ appetite for advertising during the holiday season. But Alphabet executives, in their commentary on a call with analysts, emphasized that their ad performance was broad-based and made no mention of supply chain issues or Apple. They talked up the strength of retail advertising.

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