Mayer moves Yahoo further away from search with new content push

Yahoo's new digital magazines, the acquisition of Aviate, and other content all prove that Marissa Mayer has a new vision for the giant.

Forget search. The future of Yahoo is content. Yahoo's loss to Google in the search engine wars was already quite evident before the 2014 International CES, but CEO Marissa Mayer revealed a new focus for the company during her Tuesday keynote at the tech trade show.

"A comment theme is us simplifying our business," Mayer said at the show. "Fundamentally when you look at Yahoo it's about four core areas: search, communications, digital magazines, and video. These are four things people do as part of their daily habits."

Mayer made a slew of announcements about new Yahoo products tied those core areas.

Riding the content wave

TV anchor Katie Couric is anchoring interviews and original content for Yahoo's mobile apps, while former New York Times technology columnist David Pogue will lead the Yahoo Tech digital magazine, one of the first magazines Yahoo will launch this year. The company also trotted out Nick D'Aloisio, the teenage CEO that made headlines when Yahoo last year acquired Summly, his summarization technology. Summly is now baked into another new app that Mayer unveiled at CES, Yahoo News Digest.

News Digest delivers two daily news summaries of current events to users, one in the morning and another at night, and pulls content from all over the Web--tweets, photos, infographics, maps, and so on--to make the stories more visually appealing.

D'Aloisio said the app is the best of both the tech and journalism worlds, because "the stories are algorithmically produced but editorially curated."

News Digest isn't a unique concept. Apps like Circa have been trying in recent years to solve readers' thirst for extremely short, but incredibly high-quality content. But Yahoo's news efforts needed a shot in the arm: News Digest is its attempt to stay relevant in the world of bite-sized information.

While 140-character news is on the rise, readers are also thirsting for visually rich long-form stories, which is where Yahoo's new digital magazines aim to compete. Mayer hired big-name journalists like Pogue for Yahoo Tech, which launched Tuesday along with Yahoo Food. As with News Digest, the concept of a niche digital mag is nothing revolutionary, but it offers Yahoo a chance to ride the wave of popularity of apps like Flipboard.

Pogue posed Yahoo Tech as a tech site for "normal people" who don't live in San Francisco or New York, hoping to garner mainstream users who don't follow tech blogs.

All about ads

Yahoo's digital magazines, like the rest of its products, are free, but that's OK: Yahoo has a whole new advertising plan. The magazines will incorporate native ads, the company has a new ad manager and ad exchange for businesses, and ads on Tumblr are about to get more sophisticated.

Tumblr CEO David Karp joined Mayer to talk about how Yahoo's ad tech will power the micro-blogging site's ads, and boasted about the reach of sponsored posts on Tumblr (which are re-blogged an average of 10,000 times). What does that mean for users? Highly targeted ads, and a lot more of them.

Yahoo says search is still a core part of its business, and Mayer kicked off her keynote announcing the acquisition of Aviate, which will use your phone's location and your daily routine to surface the apps you use most.

"We believe home screens should be smarter and more personalized," Mayer said. "Imagine that your phone could deliver the right experience to you at the right time instead of you having to search for it." A good example would be a fitness app that pops up when you're at the gym.

That's not exactly active search. But the company under Mayer is well on its way to becoming a content and advertising company. Ads have always key to Yahoo's business, but if the company can marry advertising and original content in a way that doesn't anger readers, it could become more than just the site you glance at for stocks and sports before making your way to other parts of the Internet.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Building a human-curated brand

If the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) sector and their measured worth are the final argument for the successful 21st Century model, then they are beyond reproach. Fine-tuning masses of algorithms to reduce human touchpoints and deliver wild returns to investors—all with workforces infinitesimally small compared to the giants of the 20th Century—has been proven out.

Will Smith

Co-founder and head of new markets, The Plum Guide

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing

As a Marketer, the ‘Scotty from Marketing’ meme troubles me.

Natalie Robinson

Director of marketing and communications, Melbourne Polytechnic

If you think it can benefit both consumer and seller then it would be great

Simon Bird

Why Ford is counting on the Internet of Things to drive customer engagement

Read more

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Instagram changes algorithms every time you get used to them. It really pisses me off. What else pisses me off? The fact that Instagram d...

Nickwood

Instagram loses the like in Australia; industry reacts positively

Read more

I tried www.analisa.io to see my Instagram Insight

Dina Rahmawati

7 marketing technology predictions for 2016

Read more

The saying is pretty tongue in cheek. It's not saying that marketers are bad people, nor that they don't take themselves seriously. There...

LYF Solutions

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing - The CMO view - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in