Alphabet Inc. Earnings: 3 Metrics to Watch

By Daniel Sparks Markets Fool.com

Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has put its first-quarter earnings release date on the calendar. The internet search giant will report results for its most recently ended quarter on Thursday, April 27. After missing estimates for earnings per share in its most recent quarter, investors will be watching the company's profitability closely.

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Here's a preview of what to expect from Alphabet's EPS in Q1, as well as a look at two other key metrics worth examining when Google's parent company reports results later this month.

Image source: Google.

Earnings per share

For Alphabet's first quarter of 2017, analysts are expecting non-GAAP EPS of $7.39, on average. Notably, analyst estimates are no longer based on an EPS calculation that excludes stock-based compensation, as Alphabet has opted to begin including stock-based compensation in its non-GAAP results. So, Alphabet's year-ago EPS figures don't represent an apples-to-apples comparison. But, for reference, Alphabet reported GAAP and non-GAAP EPS of $6.47 and $7.50 in the first quarter of 2016.

The reasoning behind Alphabet's decision to include stock-based compensation in its non-GAAP EPS? Stock-based compensation has become a material and regular cost to running Alphabet, CFO Ruth Porat explained in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call.

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Revenue growth

Another key item to watch in Alphabet's first quarter will be revenue growth. On average, analysts expect Alphabet to report revenue of $24.21 billion, up a nice 19.5% year over year.

Analysts are interestingly expecting a slight deceleration in the company's year-over-year revenue growth rate. In Alphabet's fourth quarter of 2016, revenue jumped 22% year over year, or 24% on a constant currency basis.

Beyond checking in on Alphabet's revenue growth, investors may want to look for some insight from management into what the main drivers for revenue growth during the quarter were. In Q4, Alphabet's revenue growth was primarily driven by mobile search and YouTube. Did these drivers remain key catalysts in Q4?

Other revenue

Not to be confused with Alphabet's "other bets" segment, Alphabet's "other revenue," is another important segment to watch. Accounting for over 10% of Alphabet's revenue, the segment has been growing rapidly, thanks to revenue from the Google Play store, hardware sales, and the company's cloud businesses.

Google Home. Image source: Google.

In 2016, Alphabet's other revenue grew 41% on a full year basis. And in Alphabet's fourth quarter, other revenue increased 62% year over year.

In Alphabet's fourth-quarter earnings call, Porat said the company sees "tremendous potential" in Play, hardware, and cloud.

A specific area of Alphabet's other revenue for investors to look for more details on is hardware. Having just launched its voice-activated smart speaker (Google Home) and a new smartphone (Google Pixel) in Q4, Alphabet had some insight into these products' potential. Fortunately, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during Alphabet's fourth-quarter call that the early success of these products was "promising."

Alphabet reports its first-quarter results after market close on Thursday, April 27. Stay tuned at The Motley Fool for more Foolish coverage of Alphabet, as well as a close look at the company's results once they go live.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.