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How many customers does Google have?

Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator)
Google 貼牌冰箱(Google Refrigerator) (Photo credit: Aray Chen)
Many people wonder about the number of customers that Google have. In fact, a lot of data is public and we can do quick estimates for the services about which we do not have any figure.
  • Google search: probably more than a billion users. 
    • Explanation: According to the world bank, 1/3 of the world population has access to the internet. The world population is about 7bn.So, 7/3 ~= 2.3bn people have access to the web. It's a conservative assumption that at least 50% of them use Google search. This leads us to a bit more than 1bn users.
  • Android: in 2013's annual report, Google states that more than a billion Android devices (phones, tablets, ereaders, ...) were activated globally as of September 2013.
  • Youtube: Google publishes the key figures of Youtube's audience here. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. I estimate the real figure to be closer to 500mn unique users/month
    • Explanation: The reason for this is that among the about 2bn people who have access to the web, many of them have a bad connection or a low end terminal or have another reason not to use youtube (lack of interest for instance). So I think google search has more users (fair assumption: 2x more) than youtube. Google search audience being in the 1-1.5 scale, youtube audience should be in the 500-750mn range. 
    • Potential explanation for this gap: It all depends on the definition of what a unique user is. I expect at least 50% of the users to not be logged in when they use youtube. So, Google identifies them through an IP address and maybe other identifiers such as the user-agent HTTP header. But many ISPs provide IP addresses dynamically ; so, several IPs can relate to a single user. In addition, I access Youtube through many terminals (several PCs, several phones, tablets, TV, media center...) and browsers, so it is as if I was several users for Google whereas I think I am a quite unique person ;).
  • Gmail: > 200mn users (from annual report)
  • Chrome: 20% market share
    • AdSense: my estimate -> 2 to 3mn publishers
      • Explanation: In 2013 annual report, Google says that they spend 9.3bn$ per year for content acquisition related to AdSense program. Based on my experience as a blogger, I expect the large majority of blogs to earn little money through AdSense. Let's make an assumption and calculate the number of users if that the average of the AdSense gains per partner is between 50$ and 500$/ month. 9bn$/(50$*12)= AdSense has max 15mn users and min 9bn$/(500$*12)~= 1.5 mn users 
        • In fact, I found the figure on blogger buzz: "AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense"
    • AdWords + AdMob: probably around 5 mn advertisers.
      • Google had 1 million advertisers in 2007, according to this article. Google has grown  a lot since then. According to their 2013 annual report, their revenues (all activities) have more than doubled since 2009. So let's take an assumption an consider that 3*1mn=3mn AdWords advertisers is a sanity check floor for our estimations.
      • The article mentions a spend of 16k$ in average for AdWord advertisers in 2007. I expect Google to have reached many small and medium enterprises since then, so my guess would be that this figure has decreased quite a bit. Let's take 10k$ as the average spend per advertiser, and see to what number of users it leads us. Google's total Advertising revenue was 50bn$ in 2013. That leads us to 50bn$/10k$=5mn advertisers.


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