At Least Yahoo’s User Engagement Numbers Are Sort Of Up

Yahoo’s fourth quarter results are as underwhelming as most people expected: earnings were at $0.24 a share from $1.17 billion in revenue. But some of the brightest spots, beyond new chief executive Scott Thompson now taking the helm, are the engagement numbers.

Take a look at the slide below, from the company’s earnings deck. Worldwide unique visits to both Yahoo-branded sites and to Yahoo properties were up by 12%. Since this data is from comScore, I pulled the measurement firms’ latest numbers to provide a little more detail.

They show that Yahoo staged a minor visitor recovery over the last three months of the year in the US, ending with nearly 176 million monthly uniques. Worldwide, it did so through November, but then dropped slightly last month to end at nearly 692 million uniques. (ComScore graphs below, US first and world second.)

Page views, meanwhile, were mixed, based on the data provided by Yahoo. The “Communications & communities” category, which includes Mail, Groups, Flickr and a hodgepodge of other products, fell by 13%, the biggest drop in two years. Search declined 4%, the worst quarter since Q2 of 2010.

Media, which includes the Homepage, the mobile web apps, News, Sports, Finance, and other content sites, was the gainer. It continued to build on single-digit gains, with a 7% increase in the past quarter. Media also continued a streak of growth in minutes that started in the third quarter of last year. Communications also has seen very large gains in minutes, which appear to be from its new Mail rollout.

The company has some more color on the content effort, via the earnings call today. The so-called “Tentpoles and Anchors” (aka the “Mixed Metaphor”) strategy. The company focused on covering big events like the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and the British Royal Wedding. It’s planning to build on that in 2012 with coverage of the US elections and the Olympics. It also hired more editorial staffers last year, added the ABC News content partnership. Yahoo Screens for destinations now includes 14 new shows. One in six Americans online watched one of these videos in December. It also extended Yahoo Publishing to more than 136 sites, added its social bar to news and other content sites, and added a new mail platform to 80% of global users, and created new iPad experiences.