One of the big themes that CEO Marissa Mayer kept returning to during the webcast discussing Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings was mobile.
“Yahoo’s future is mobile,” she said, noting that the company now sees 340 million monthly mobile users. She didn’t offer any earlier mobile traffic numbers to illustrate growth, but to show the company’s commitment in this area, she said that the mobile team has grown by 6x. Many of those new team members have joined Yahoo through what Mayer called “tuck-in or talent acquisitions,” and she said we can expect those deals to continue at a similar pace.
The webcast actually kicked off with a discussion of the growth that Yahoo has seen with a number of new products, many of them mobile. For example, the number of daily active users to Yahoo Mail on mobile has increased 120 percent since the launch of the tablet app. And since launching the new Yahoo app enhanced by Summly, daily users have increased 55 percent and time spent has increased 60 percent. (One reason to highlight traffic growth: Offsetting the disappointment in the quarter’s flat revenue.)
Overall, Mayer said Yahoo’s traffic (as measured in pageviews) actually grew year-over-year — that might not sound particularly impressive, except that it reflects recent growth offsetting earlier losses. Mobile, she said, is “still early” but also “growing quickly.”
Mayer pointed to mobile as one of four key areas for Yahoo’s future growth. The others are search, display advertising and video, and the last two areas are ones that the company “will begin to clearly address” in the second half of the year, she said.
On display, Mayer acknowledged that Yahoo has “felt some negative impact,” particularly from the growth of programmatic ad buying. She said the company has been making progress with “early efforts” in areas like new ad formats, but later, one of the analysts asked whether the programmatic trend is going to continue driving ad rates down. Mayer argued that these technologies provide “an opportunity to do a much better job to match the right users to the right advertisements,” which could result in ads sold at premium rates.
Mayer also mentioned Yahoo’s Tumblr acquisition, which she said presents opportunities across all four areas. For one thing, she said, she’s working with Tumblr’s David Karp to develop native ads, which she said “can be every bit as good as the content itself.”