After an earnings report that came in below analyst expectations, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer spent a good portion of today’s analyst call making the case that she can still turn the company around.
Mayer said that Yahoo was “not satisfied with our results this quarter.” However, she also argued that “a transformation of this size and scale will take multiple years,” and that this was just “a short-term setback in our pursuit of growth.”
A big part of the call involved contrasting Yahoo today with where it was two years ago — to the point where Mayer was actually showed before-and-after screenshots of products like Yahoo Mail. She said that when she joined, the company “lacked a clear vision for the future,” which it now has.
Among many other things, she said that more than 60 different Yahoo products and services have been shut down during that time, with the resources redirected “to products that are fundamental to our vision for growth.” And she repeatedly trotted out the fact that Yahoo is seeing more than 450 million monthly active users for the first time.
“Speed as a strategy has worked for us,” she added, claiming that that’s been particularly true on the ad side. She also suggested that Yahoo can provide a “unified approach” to advertising: “We are the one place where you can buy search, dispaly, native, mobile, video, all in one place — audiences, also.”
If that’s all true, then what happened in the most recent quarter? Mayer said Yahoo faced “two key issues specific to our business,” unrelated to broader trends in online advertising. First, she said the transition to the company’s new ad-buying product, Yahoo Ad Manager Plus (which the team apparently refers to as “YAM Plus”) was delayed, while ad-buying on the old platform slowed. Second, she said that premium advertising didn’t contribute as much to revenue as the company had hoped.
Both issues, she argued, can be fixed in the next “one or two quarters.”
Oh, and just in case you were wondering: Nope, no one asked Mayer why she was late to that big advertiser dinner.