There’s been a bit of brouhaha lately about how Yahoo is stealing search share from Google, and the numbers back it up. To be sure, we’re only talking about a couple of percentage points -- but they do equate to billions of ad dollars.
Indeed, Yahoo is making noise on a number of fronts as the company strives for reinvention and relevance in search and beyond.
So what’s everyone yodeling about?
1. Firefox default. About two months ago, Mozilla chose not to renew its contract with Google as the default search provider for Firefox and went with Yahoo instead. With 15% share of the global browser market, this was a significant win for Yahoo, although it remains to be seen if consumers actively switch their default back to Google. Nonetheless, with this announcement, it became clear that the search wars are back on and it’s not just a two-dog race.
2. Safari default. Firefox is nice, but Yahoo could double-up by nabbing Safari’s 15% share, since Apple’s contract with Google expires next year. With the pervasiveness of Safari across devices and the lucrative Apple audience, winning this deal could pay nice dividends for Yahoo and put it back ahead of Bing in overall search share.
3. Microsoft alliance. Speaking of Bing, according to the Financial Times, Yahoo will have the opportunity to renegotiate terms with Microsoft later this month. One potential outcome could be “seeing Yahoo defect to Google.” This certainly seems unlikely -- but strange bedfellows are par for the course in tech these days.
4. Gemini. Not sure how it took me 250 words before referencing mobile, but I could easily spend the next 250 on how important it is to marketers and Yahoo alike. With as much as 44% of all paid search clicks coming from non-desktop devices, it’s clear that mobile has crossed the chasm.
In fact, when it comes to shopping, more than 50% is now done via mobile, per research conducted with Yahoo. Furthermore, 75% of consumers use mobile search for purchase-related information -- yet only 15% of advertisers customize search ad copy by device. So there’s clearly room for improvement in mobile search monetization.
To Yahoo’s credit, it sensed the migration five years ago and worked a clause into the Microsoft deal to develop its own mobile ad platform, which became Gemini. Today, Gemini is serving more than a quarter of all mobile search traffic across Yahoo and Bing for retailers, according to RKG. And let’snot forget that Gemini also represents inventory from another super-hot category, native.
To be sure, not everyone’s jumping on the Yahoo bandwagon, especially outside the search marketing community. Investors and analysts have raised questions about Yahoo’s business outlook following the spinoff of its Alibaba assets.
At the end of the day, the key to satisfying the Street is growing revenue. If the aforementioned trends play out in purple spades, everyone will be yelling Yahoo!