marissamayer

Yahoo's Ad Business Struggles as Traffic Spikes

  |  January 29, 2014   |  Comments

Yahoo failed to turn around its display advertising business in the last quarter, sending stock down more than 7 percent.

Yahoo closed another quarter in which it failed to turn around its display advertising business, sending company stock down more than 7 percent the following morning. While Yahoo sold more ads and reported an increase in overall paid clicks, the prices it commanded for both were down.

The company would be getting hammered by investors if not for its lucrative, decade-long investment in Alibaba Group, which currently stands at 24 percent. That proverbial gift that keeps on giving is coming to an end, however, as Alibaba is widely expected to go public later this year. 

Yahoo banked $174 million in net income on $1.26 billion in revenue (or $1.2 billion excluding traffic acquisition costs), marking an 8 percent year-over-year decline in profit and a 6 percent decrease in revenue. Display ads revenue slid 6 percent from the year-ago period to $533 million, while search revenue was down 4 percent to $464 million.

The number of display ads sold by Yahoo increased 3 percent, but the average price per ad dropped about 7 percent from the previous year. Yahoo’s search business follows a similar trend, with paid clicks jumping 17 percent, but price-per-click dipping 3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012.

On the earnings call, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer reinforced her commitment to grow revenue, increase traffic across Yahoo’s properties, and continue to focus on opportunities in mobile. Unfortunately for investors, Yahoo still doesn’t make much of anything off its mobile business, even though mobile revenue nearly doubled in 2013.

"In the context of a larger business, our mobile revenue is still not material but the growth trend is very promising," says Mayer. "We believe there are ad products that have the potential to monetize better on mobile than on desktop. Basically when you look at ads that are specifically designed for the mobile experience we believe we can outperform we have seen in traditional display." 

Yahoo welcomed more than 400 million users on mobile devices during the quarter, Mayer says, adding that "mobile, social, video, and native grew nearly 60 percent year-over-year."

The company’s buying spree shows no signs of waining either. Yahoo acquired eight companies -- Aviate, PeerCDN, Evntlive, Ptch, SkyPhrase, LookFlow, Bread Labs, and Hitpost -- during the recently closed quarter.

"We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth," Mayer says in a prepared statement. "We are extremely heartened by the year-over-year traffic increase we experienced in 2013, an early sign of return on our investments and the acquisitions we've made."

Yahoo repurchased 129 million shares during 2013 for a total of $3.3 billion.

ClickZ Live San Francisco Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Kapko

Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at matt@kapko.co.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

US Consumer Device Preference Report

US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

  • Sr. Marketing Specialist, PPC
    Sr. Marketing Specialist, PPC (Charter Communications) - StamfordSr. Marketing Specialist, PPC– Digital Marketing Charter Communications...