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Yahoo's Ad Slump Rages On, And CEO Marissa Mayer Still Can't Say Exactly When It Will End

Yahoo's Ad Slump Rages On, And CEO Marissa Mayer Still Can't Say Exactly When It Will End

Jan 28 2014, 8:17pm CST | by

Another quarter , another drop in ad sales at Yahoo. When’s it going to end? That was the gist of virtually every question asked by analysts today at Yahoo’s fourth-quarter  earnings webcast....

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25 weeks ago

Yahoo's Ad Slump Rages On, And CEO Marissa Mayer Still Can't Say Exactly When It Will End

Jan 28 2014, 8:17pm CST | by

Another quarter , another drop in ad sales at Yahoo. When’s it going to end?

That was the gist of virtually every question asked by analysts today at Yahoo’s fourth-quarter  earnings webcast. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a firm answer from CEO Marissa Mayer .

After a seemingly unending string of quarters with declining display-ad revenues , they fell again , by almost 6%, to $491 million before the costs of acquiring traffic from website partners. As a result, Yahoo’s shares were down almost 6% in extended trading initially, after a 4% rise, to $38.22, in an up market. Later as the webcast continued, the recovered a bit but still down more than 3%.

Mayer provided little firm guidance on when display ads, which make up 41% of its overall revenues, would finally follow steady increases in traffic at the venerable Internet portal, up 20% over last year to 800 million users a month. In her initial comments on the webcast, Mayer did draw something of a line in the blowing sands, promising that its work on improving its services and increasing traffic will result in revenue growth this year, but probably not until the second half. Yet the company declined to offer a forecast for 2014 overall because, as Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman put it, it’s still tough to “identify an inflection point” for growth.

Yahoo is seeing improving trends in the display business, with 3% more ads sold. But price per ad fell 7% because fewer premium ads were sold. The new “stream ads,” he said, could be significant especially in mobile. But none of this is apparent in the numbers yet.

In particular, Mayer added, mobile ad revenue is still “not material” despite revenues doubling. That’s at a time when Facebook , Twitter, and even Google are seeing big jumps in mobile ad revenues. Tumblr? Despite increases in traffic and some revenue in the second half, still–wait for it–”not material.” Not least, video ads remain “nascent,” she said. And while few companies besides Google with its YouTube site have significant video ad revenues yet, others such as Facebook and Twitter are clearly focused on this area as well.

This year will mark one potentially important change, however. Not only has Yahoo vowed that revenue growth is its No. 1 priority, but Mayer herself said–twice–that she would be focusing her efforts much more directly on the ads and media side of the business. That would be a big change from the past, when ad agencies and marketers have said they’ve felt ignored by the former Google executive.

Skeptics would say she had better get more involved, since she recently fired her chief operating officer and de facto sales chief, Henrique De Castro, whom she said today was simply “not a fit.” She also repeated that she won’t be replacing him. “This gives me an opportunity to be much more involved with revenue opportunities,” she said.

That’s encouraging to some observers. Forrester analyst Susan Bidel said in an interview that it’s clear Mayer intends to focus her fix-it engineering mentality to the media business, evident so far in her hiring New York Times stars David Pogue and Matt Bai and onetime Today star Katie Couric , as well as creating digital magazines intended to draw more lucrative image advertising from traditional magazines and television. “It’s very hard to turn around a big ship, but they’ve made a lot of good moves in that direction,” says Bidel.

Bidel notes that the display ad business “isn’t brain surgery” and should be eminently fixable with the right products and services to provide a better context for ads, whether they be the native self-service “stream ads” that appear in the central news feed or more flashy display and video ads Yahoo is clearly working on. Still, she says, it’s not yet apparent what’s going to get advertisers to return to Yahoo. “The whole display business is a little up in the air,” she says.

More than a little, actually. And unless Mayer can stabilize it, let alone grow it, she will face more investor scrutiny and impatience with every passing month.

Marissa Mayer

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

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KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
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Update
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Update
8

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Update
7

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri ...
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Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the south ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 mil ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year invo ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramada ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Da ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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