Wow, that's fascinating. I always think Google's profits lately are from the same gross, but taking a higher percentage. But that's clearly not the case - they actually are growing their business.
The 5% growth in CPC seems low - not year over year necessarily, but it sure seems like CPC has tripled or quadrupled in my industry over the last 3-5 years or so.
Google is telling us that prices have gone up 5% total year to year, anecdotal evidence about CPC in certain sites or sectors are irrelevant. Did Google's traffic grow by 16% in a quarter? I'm almost certain that ad prices didn't grow that much during the summer so that explains what went on.
If we're talking about ads on Google search results pages...
Does that indicate better ads and less inappropriate ads being served?
Or does it indicate that organic SERPs provide worse results, forcing users to click the ads?
Or is it caused by the ads at the top of the page being almost indistinguishable from the organic SERPs and people click them thinking that they are the #1 result?
If we're taking about Adsense ads running on other sites...
Is this an indication that high ranking pages in SERPs don't contain what the searcher was looking for and hence when on the third-party site they click the ads to go to what they were really looking for (or perhaps just click in desparation, hoping it will contain what they were looking for)?