Yahoo is not doing well, but Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has plans to fix it. The one thing that Yahoo really has going for it is that its core offerings focus on the Internet’s daily habits. They offer email, search, news, finance, and sports. It is the company’s current goal to improve the Yahoo experience for its 200 million monthly active users who use Yahoo on their mobile devices. The hope is that revamping the mobile app will encourage current users to stay with Yahoo, and also attract new users. Mayer plans to focus on “the dozen or so applications that people use all the time on their phone,” to encourage both users and advertisers to spend more of their time and money on them.
Mayer is smart to target investors, but this strategy does not appear to be working in Yahoo’s favor. Yahoo has continued to lose its market share in its core business of display advertising even after Mayer left Google to take over as CEO last year. EMarketer predicts that Yahoo’s share of the United States display ad market will continue to fall to 8% in 2013, down 1 percent from last year. Google will increase its lead to 18%, and Facebook will grow to 15%, both up from the previous year. When trying to sustain a company of this size, it is crucial that investors see innovation and potential.
Yahoo has recently bought a handful of small companies, including mobile app maker, Alike. Mayer hopes that this will speed up the process of redoing and releasing quality apps to entice new users and investors. Mayer also said that Yahoo will likely downsize the 60-70 apps that it currently offers to roughly a dozen. There are clearly apps that aren’t attracting enough users to be sustainable. Mayer believes that many of these apps do not fit into Yahoo’s key focus areas. The company is working to make Yahoo email a better experience on mobile devices, and they are also promoting Yahoo Groups. Mayer cited Yahoo Groups as an “ideal place to do group communication,” but it will go up against strong competitors like Google and Skype.
One of Yahoo’s past downfalls was that it seemed to lack a true identity or mission. With each passing year and each passing CEO, Yahoo was all about something different. In 2007, Yahoo’s mission was to “connect people to their passions, their communities, and the world’s knowledge.” In 2009, CEO Carol Bartz said that Yahoo’s mission was “to consistently deliver awesome consumer and advertiser experiences, everywhere in the world we do business.” The current mission statement reads, “Yahoo! Creates deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe.” While these statements have the same general sentiments, the words are inconsistent. If heads of the company cannot keep straight what Yahoo is about, how can users and advertisers be expected to do so? When you develop your app or company, pick a mission and stick to it.