Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, who seems to have an unlimited supply of moles and sources within Yahoo, is reporting that she’s been told by someone inside the company that Yahoo’s mobile ad revenues are only $125 million annually — with most of that coming from search.
According to Swisher:
[D]irect mobile revenue hovers only around $125 million annually, mostly from search revenue on mobile devices. While users are consuming lots of Yahoo Web pages on their phones, which could technically boost the sales numbers higher, rendering most desktop-created ads on mobile is not the same thing as the significant mobile revenue Yahoo needs to generate.
In a way, this is remarkable, considering how far ahead of Google in mobile Yahoo was at one point. The years of internal turmoil and leadership turnover have exacted a heavy toll in terms of lost opportunity in mobile. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer may be able to rectify that with her intensifying focus on mobile.
Mayer has been talking about mobile quite a bit in recent interviews. And Yahoo has made several mobile-related acquisitions, mostly for the teams.
However, the company is playing catch-up at this point. Consider that on a previous earnings call Google said that it now had an $8 billion annual mobile “run rate,” most of which is made up of advertising and probably search advertising in particular.
However, if Yahoo can improve its mobile assets and apps — the new Yahoo Mail and Flickr are two examples — it may be able to develop a fairly compelling proposition for advertisers. That’s because signed-in Yahoo users could be targeted across devices in a way that’s difficult for companies other than Google or Facebook to do. Even Google, which is trying to get everyone to sign in to Chrome, faces challenges as consumers move from device to device.
It’s important to note that the $125 million figure is hearsay. We also don’t know the level or quality of the source. Therefore, we don’t know how credible a figure it is. Regardless, it’s a safe bet that Yahoo is fairly far behind its biggest competitors in the race for mobile ad revenue.