Monday, February 24, 2014

Yahoo Aims to More Deftly Blend Ads With Content

I think we should start a Marissa Meyer termination countdown. I can't remember any good news about Yahoo since she took over as CEO.

In any case, at NYT:
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — To Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo, fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle have achieved the holy grail of advertising.

“The ads in those magazines are as interesting as the photo shoots and the articles,” she said in an interview last week at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. “I miss the ads when they are not there. I feel less fulfilled.”

This year, her goal is to start making the ads on Yahoo just as compelling and just as integrated with the news and information people seek on her company’s websites and mobile applications.

One early example: Recipes from Knorr, the soup brand owned by Unilever, are sprinkled around regular articles from Yahoo writers, food magazines and blogs on Yahoo Food, the digital magazine the company started about six weeks ago.

Ms. Mayer, who oversaw Google’s signature search products for several years, also hopes to develop new search tools and ads geared to mobile users — the company’s first steps to innovate in its original business since 2010, when it began a 10-year deal to outsource search to Microsoft.

“We’re not sure that a list of links that people have to pick through is the right experience on the phone, and we’re going to start to play with context, applications, other ways to address those search needs,” she said.

Better, more useful ads would certainly make Yahoo’s 800 million monthly users and its legions of advertisers happier all around.

But for Yahoo, much more is at stake. New ad formats that go beyond the company’s traditional banner and search ads are its best hope of finding fresh sources of revenue, which it badly needs after years of decline.
Yeah, badly.

See AdAge, "Yahoo Slips Behind Google, Facebook and Even Microsoft In Online Ad Share."