With a brightening economic backdrop and encouraging signs from the retail industry, some investors had hoped that Google's cost-per-click would remain flat or even increase from the seasonally strong fourth quarter, instead of declining 4 percent, said UBS analyst Brian Pitz.
"The trend looked more favorable based on the industry data that was floating around," he said.
The stock, which has risen about 5 percent since Monday, gave up those gains to trade at $566.20 after hours on Thursday. The stock had gained 1.1 percent during the regular Nasdaq session.
"They've had a strong last few days ... and some investors expected Google to beat by a wider margin and price-per-click to come in a bit higher than 7 percent growth," said Edward Jones analyst Andrew Miedler.
How about that; the analysts' view is that the performance is not up to expectations. Growth alone is just not enough.