Yahoo Looks to Catch Up in Mobile With Flurry Acquisition

In an effort to expand its mobile ad business and attempt to compete with Facebook and Google in the mobile space, Yahoo has agreed to purchase mobile analytics and advertising platform start-up Flurry.

Founded in 2005, Flurry aims to deliver “the optimal mobile experience through better apps and more personal ads.” The company gathers audience data from more than 540,000 mobile apps and uses the data to create audience segments to help advertisers target with in-app ads.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. But through the acquisition, Yahoo can now use Flurry’s wealth of data to target ads on its owned-and-operated sites, potentially translating into mobile ad revenue growth.

From a strategy perspective, Flurry’s technology will empower Yahoo to rival Facebook and Google in the mobile space.

Both Facebook and Google have been drastically improving their mobile ad businesses: Earlier this year, Facebook released a series of mobile monetization updates, including the launch of its mobile ad network, while Google purchased mobile ad network AdMob back in 2009.

And the two tech giants will keep building on their mobile momentum, as eMarketer predicts that mobile will represent 63.4 percent of Facebook’s net digital ad revenues this year, and 33.8 percent of Google’s.

Compared to Facebook and Google, Yahoo has been lagging behind in the mobile space, despite the fact that its chief executive (CEO) Marissa Mayer has repeatedly spoken about making Yahoo a mobile-first company.

“To date, Yahoo has failed to make a successful mobile transition to the extent that companies like Facebook have,” says Craig Palli, chief strategy officer of Fiksu, a mobile app marketing tech company.

According to him, prior to the purchase of Flurry, Yahoo was unable to truly harness and leverage mobile data. But now, through the acquisition, Yahoo can access data from hundreds of thousands of apps and more than 1 billion mobile devices.

“[This deal] finally provides Yahoo with the underlying data fundamentals they need to move forward, and [become] successful in mobile,” Palli notes.

In the second quarter of 2014, Yahoo’s mobile display and search revenue saw 100 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth, respectively. And its mobile monthly active users increased 36 percent YoY.

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