Baidu (BIDU) expects Q1 revenue of RMB9.24B-RMB9.52B ($1.526B-$1.573B), above a consensus of RMB8.67B ($1.43B).
Q4 results beat estimates thanks to a 9.4% Q/Q and 34.8% Y/Y increase in revenue per online ad customer to $3,452, and in spite of a 2.8% Q/Q drop in active online ad customers to 451K. On a Y/Y basis, the latter figure rose 11.1%.
Traffic acquisition costs rose to 12.3% of revenue from 11.7% in Q3 and 9.6% a year ago, as hao123 directory site promotions and a mix shift towards contextual (ad network) ads continues taking a toll.
SG&A spend soared 34.6% Q/Q and 135% Y/Y to $307.7M thanks to mobile product promotions. R&D spend rose 15.9% Q/Q and 80.1% Y/Y to $208.8M.
Bandwidth costs rose to 5.9% of revenue from 5.3% a year ago, and context costs doubled their revenue share to 3.8%.
Mobile accounted for over 20% of Q4 revenue.