Yahoo Sees Weakness in Financial, Auto Ads

Yahoo is seeing slower growth in automotive and financial advertising on its network, and the weakness will hit its bottom line this quarter, Chief Terry Semel and CFO Sue Decker told investors during a joint appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XV Conference yesterday morning.

“They’re still growing, but they’re not growing as quickly as we would have hoped at this moment in time,” Semel said of the sectors, which he characterized as “two great industries that are under some pressure now.”

Softness in the two categories became apparent in the last two to three weeks, Decker said, and applies both to search and display advertising on the Yahoo network. Because of it, she said the company expects to report earnings toward the lower end of its guidance for the quarter.

She added it’s too early to speculate whether auto and finance companies are only temporarily shifting their budgets, or if the weakness spread into other sectors. “We’re going to watch and wait,” she said.

Yahoo’s stock price fell 11 percent following the comments.

Semel also fielded questions about the company’s social media strategy, its homepage redesign, and the looming release date for its new search marketing platform, code named Panama.

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