Google said that search and ad revenue fell to $24.502bn during Q1 2020, but the company’s overall revenues beat expectations despite it being a difficult period for general business.
Google noted that there had been a “significant slowdown” on the ad side of its business during March after a strong start to the year.
The outbreak of the coronavirus was largely to blame as search and ad revenue slumped from the $27.185bn figure recorded in Q4 2019.
Overall ad revenue came in at $33.76bn, also down from $37.934bn quarter-over-quarter.
While the drop-off in Q1 was notable, eMarketer principal analyst Nicole Perrin believes that Google’s search business will bounce back in the long term.
She noted: “The deceleration to Google’s display ad businesses, including Google Display Network and YouTube, was lower, and again fell in line with our relatively optimistic scenarios for digital advertising in Q1.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai expects Q2 to be a difficult period for its advertising business, though it expects an upturn further down the line when the global economy begins to normalise.
Google also revealed on Thursday that its clampdown on “bad actors” in the ad space continues to gather pace after it removed 2.7bn ads from its platform in 2019.
It also said that “tens of millions” of malicious ads related to COVID-19 had also been taken down.
Google has deployed a dedicated team to improve its enforcement systems and deploy new tech to flag misleading ads since the onset of the pandemic.
It also banned any ads for face masks entirely in March due to a flood of content that violated policies.
The latest news comes a week after Google said that it will start rolling out a verification programme for advertisers to improve transparency and the quality of ads.