Report: Yahoo Search, Mail & Home Page Saw Usage Declines In 2015
The Information article, which contains a few bright spots, also says that Yahoo is struggling to convert users to mobile.
The Information has gained access to what it describes as “confidential internal data” at Yahoo. With the ominous title, “The Death March of Yahoo’s Core Products,” the article details traffic declines for key products at Yahoo.
The data, apparently put together by multiple product teams at Yahoo, document usage between December 2014 and 2015. According to The Information, three critical products — Yahoo Mail, the Yahoo home page and Yahoo Search — each saw declines of varying but meaningful degrees:
- Daily users on Yahoo’s home page declined by 16.5 percent.
- Yahoo Mail dropped by 11.5 percent.
- Yahoo Search fell 8.8 percent.
Time spent on these properties apparently also declined. By comparison, the data show that “Tumblr has been doing relatively well.” Yahoo Weather is apparently another bright spot, especially in terms of mobile usage.
Yahoo Mail is critical because that’s where most of Yahoo’s user data for targeting comes from. Yahoo’s home page drives traffic to other properties, and Search is a key source of revenue.
The data also reportedly suggest that Yahoo has yet to make the full transition to mobile. The article asserts that “about 22 percent of Yahoo home page daily users are on mobile, compared to 90 percent for Facebook.”
While Mail and the Yahoo home page apparently saw relatively consistent usage on mobile, Yahoo Search experienced mobile user declines. Google’s dominance of mobile search is much greater than it is on the desktop, making the mobile search market harder to crack and less competitive.
The article goes on to speculate about which of Yahoo’s properties could be successfully sold or separated from the company. CEO Marissa Mayer, in the last earnings call, promised product simplification and a focus on areas of core strength within the company.
Mayer said that roughly 15 percent of Yahoo’s workforce will be cut, and several international offices will be closed. She added that the company will seek to divest some assets in the hope of generating $1 billion in cash.
Mayer further explained that the company would be reorganized into two broad groups. Advertising would be divided into two units: Gemini and BrightRoll. The company’s consumer products will focus on seven primary offerings: Search, Mail, Tumblr, News, Sports, Finance and lifestyle content.
While The Information’s report is credible, we have not seen the underlying data and so advise some caution in accepting its accuracy and drawing conclusions.