Yahoo’s Mayer Sees Mobile Ads Following Search Business

Medium warrants reinvention, but has vast potential

In an online ad industry slightly panicked over the puny prices being derived from mobile ads, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer sees an interesting, and very hopeful, parallel. 

During an interview with Charlie Rose near the close of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mixx Conference, Mayer spoke of her early days at Google, when people often said they loved search but saw little in the way of ad potential.

Given Google's massive success selling search ads, "that's almost a punch line in itself," she said. And she sees mobile ads following a similar path over time, as long as the groundwork is laid out correctly, starting with an overall "reimagining" of the Web. 

Mobile has "a whole new set of design challenges, and very different things work there," she told Rose before a packed room at the Crown Plaza in New York's Times Square. But ad success will happen with mobile, Mayer insisted, pending "the right format, the right model, targeting, and right quality of advertising content."

That's crucial for Yahoo, as Mayer has made mobile the company's priority since assuming the CEO job more than a year ago. Yahoo boasts of 350 million-plus monthly mobile users, and Mayer has repeatedly echoed a desire for Yahoo to own people's "daily habits" in mobile.

Among the other highlights of Mayer's sitdown with Rose:

  • She said she receives 12,000 resumes a week, as the talent pool attracted to Yahoo has been reinvigorated. "Technology and media companies live and die by the people," she said, reiterating her philosophy that great talent breeds great products, which then leads to traffic and ultimately great revenue.
  • Yahoo's latest app, for Yahoo Screen, houses everything from originals to Saturday Night Live clips. Mayer said Yahoo will continue to invest in originals via "precision bets."
  • On the Emmy nomination for Yahoo's Burning Love, she said, "I'm not sure we'll have a huge lineup. We'll have a small suite."
  • Mayer claimed to never read articles written about her, but was pleased with her recent photo shoot in Vogue. "It was a nice photo," she said. When offered two dress options, the CEO went with blue. "I never wear black."

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