Google parent Alphabet finally broke out YouTube ad revenues, for the first time, in Q4 and 2019 full year earnings. Total Alphabet 2019 revenues reached nearly $162 billion. Google advertising revenues accounted for $134.8 billion, with YouTube contributing $15 billion for the year.
While earnings beat analyst expectations, fourth quarter revenues were lower than expected: $46.07 billion vs. $46.94 billion expected. In addition to YouTube, Alphabet announced that its Cloud business has a $10 billion run rate. As individual businesses, these revenues would be significant.
YouTube exceeds Amazon’s full-year ad revenues. Google, Facebook and Amazon are the top three digital ad platforms. However, Google’s $134.8 billion in 2019 ad revenue is nearly 2X Facebook’s ad revenue of $69.7 billion. And Amazon’s 2019 ad revenue of $14.1 billion is less than YouTube’s $15 billion.
For some additional context, YouTube is larger than all of the following traditional media channels in the U.S.: consumer magazines, newspapers, out-of-home, trade magazines, yellow pages and others. Only digital as a whole, traditional TV and radio (just barely) are larger. YouTube brought in $4.7 billion in Q4 alone.
Why we care. We always knew what a massive revenue driver YouTube was and is. Now Google has officially confirmed it. It may not be coincidence that earlier today Google also announced a new policy for dealing with disaffirmation on its ad platforms, including YouTube. The company said it had “developed policies that prohibit deceptive practices and abuse such as voter suppression and misrepresentation in our products, including Google Ads, YouTube or Google Play.” Undoubtedly, Google wanted to avoid being accused of profiting off deceptive ads or disinformation, as Facebook has been accused of doing.
YouTube claims 1.5 billion monthly active users and a growing roster of ad units, including Shopping ads. YouTube also offers streaming music and TV subscription services.