Yahoo Gets More Personal To Attract Users

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 13, 2014

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In September last year, Marissa Mayer labeled Yahoo as a “personalization company.” She said she prefers not to call it a digital company, a social company, or even simply an interactive news engine. Personalization, according to the CEO, has gained utmost importance in reaching customers and so Yahoo will keenly focus on this category as its differentiator in the online marketplace. Currently, Yahoo is putting this personalization vision into practice.

During its keynote address at CES last week, Yahoo announced its acquisition of mobile startup Aviate, a company whose technology categorizes Android apps on users’ home-screens based on the users’ preferences in different contexts, such as time and location. The acquisition is in sync with the company’s personalization efforts it announced for the coming months, as part of its key mobile prediction and that this is something marketers should take notice.

According to a Business Insider report, until now, Aviate is only in private beta, but will be fully integrated into the Yahoo platform later on this year. It has been touted as a strategic acquisition with Yahoo spending $80 million on the startup.

Apart from this, Yahoo has also pitched News Digest, its new mobile-centric news offering, as well as a major revamping of its ad platform, in which Yahoo emphasized its efforts to make the platform more coherent and streamline the experience for advertisers. The report states that Yahoo may soon use Aviate’s algorithm to dish out personalized content, while offering marketers an opportunity for more personalized advertising.

Mayer has also mentioned that it will continue to work in the area of personalization with numerous technology acquisitions that are currently being integrated into Yahoo’s offerings both online and mobile. Experts believe that Mayer’s plans to smarten up Yahoo’s ad products by integrating mobile and desktop products can prove to be beneficial for the company in the long run. Moreover, these efforts have given a very important position to both Mayor and Yahoo in the world of technology. Ever since she’d stepped in, she garnered Yahoo the attention that Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Microsoft have been getting till recently.

However, there are risks and challenges ahead for Mayer. Ad personalization in itself is a highly competitive area, believe many. Facebook is now the second-most important ad platform after Google, overtaking Yahoo thanks to the growing importance of social advertising. It is here that Yahoo has to work several times harder to come to terms with the latest trends.

Mayer however argues that “Yahoo’s mission is to make the world’s habits inspiring and entertaining.” There’s a subtle difference from offering to change the world, as Google, Facebook and Twitter often have, believe experts.

Yahoo’s strength lies in its ordinariness, seeking to appeal to the mainstream. As long as Mayer can ensure it remains as intertwined into its users day to day life, then she will succeed. Just the same way they believe personalization technology is here to stay, even though the pressure is on for executive leadership to implement it successfully to its audience at large.