NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- How do you grow $13 billion by more than 20% a year? That's a question facing investors ahead of Google's (GOOG) (GOOGL) earnings Wednesday, after the bell. And it's one that a majority of investors on StockTwits.com believe the world's dominant search engine can answer.
Sentiment on the stock is 65% bullish. Many cashtaggers believe that Google's growth warrants its price, with a 2015 estimated earnings ratio of 17, based on Google's $545.20 share price at Monday's close.
Most of Google's growth will come from advertising. Last quarter, Google grew its Google sites revenue, which primarily consists of search advertising, by 22% from the prior year to $10.6 billion. It made a total of $12.92 billion in net income last year.
But Google is so big now that it can't rely on advertising alone to justify its multiples. The digital advertising market is expected to be $121 billion this year, and grew about 16% from the prior year, according to a report released this month by ZenithOptimedia, a unit of ad giant Publicis. And there is more competition for those dollars, with social media giants like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) vying for a bigger slice of the pie.
Google is working to grow its non-advertising revenue beyond last quarter's $1.65 billionn -- or 10% of sales. Today, it began selling Google Glass, its Internet- and video-enabled glasses, albeit only for one day. The price is $1,500.
Late Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google had purchased drone maker Titan Aerospace, presumably to improve its map product but also to expand Internet availability to folks worldwide. That may help to grow the online advertising market faster than ZenithOptimedia and others predict. Titan Aerospace confirmed the deal on its web site.
Google has also aggressively moved into mobile and, not so aggressively, into payments. Google Wallet, unfortunately, is a bit of an also-ran in the e-payments space. But Google's Droid phones gained considerable market share from Apple (AAPL) iPhones, and now are the dominant handsets.
Despite Google's efforts at diversification, some investors maintain that the search giant is still primarily an advertising shop and, given its size, can't keep growing faster than the online ad market. Some bullish investors bought protection against an earnings miss this week.
But most investors believe Google keeps innovating -- and using its cash to acquire innovation. And it just needs one new business to take off in order to support its $366.43 billion valuation.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.