The new CEO of struggling Internet giant Yahoo! could be set to ditch search in favour of a mobile future.
In her first public appearance since becoming Yahoo!’s third chief executive in less than a year, Marissa Mayer, the former Google hot-shot, faces the task of restoring focus to a firm that has already lost significant ground on its main industry rivals.
Given her vast insider knowledge about Google, Ms Mayer has surprised many industry experts by shifting attention away from SEO and search, in favour of mobile offerings to capitalise on Yahoo!’s existing strengths.
With around 700 million users still visiting a Yahoo! website each month, the firm still ranks top globally as an Internet destination. However, it is the resultant lack of business generated from this that Ms Mayer is desperate to address.
The 37-year-old said she was determined to get Yahoo! to update its websites, including sports, news and email elements – to ensure they become much more smartphone-friendly.
She said: “Our top priority is a focused, coherent mobile strategy… it is clear that at some point in the future Yahoo! will have to be a predominantly mobile company.
“Mobile represents not only a daily habit, but a platform shift we have to ride in order to be relevant.”
Despite major revamps being required to get back in line with the competition, Ms Mayer suggested Yahoo! would not be investing in a different business strategy, instead opting to improve its performance by exploiting the best opportunities that already exist – including its search and display businesses.
She outlined plans to ensure the firm will be more competitive with Google in the search market.
In terms of display, she said Yahoo!’s substantial audiences, combined with the correct focus, would be able to generate more interest from potential advertisers.
Yahoo! will invest in new targeting technology, to boost its offering for advertisers, allowing them to buy ads automatically, and ensure they are seen by the right users.
Whether Ms Mayer’s strategy is truly future-proof, with Google, Apple and Facebook all focussing on mobile too, remains to be seen.
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