Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Yippee" for 'Yahoo!?' Don't celebrate just yet.

You do remember, Yahoo! – right?
Turns out Yahoo! is still very much alive, and recently released a few changes aimed at making their brand more social media friendly.
First, new social sharing features within Yahoo! News that makes sharing/recommending articles easy. Devised through a partnership with Facebook, the new feature simplifies peer-to-peer recommendations and allows readers to automatically share the stories they’re reading with Facebook friends.
Next is something Yahoo! is calling the Social Sentiment Slider. Placed directly below news content, the widget poses readers with a question related to the article, allowing them to record their opinions by simply sliding their cursors across an interactive scale. Jaguar signed on as a launch sponsor with additional brands to be announced soon.  In beta, initial tests showed the feature to boost both purchase intent and brand likeability by approximately 12%. (And you gotta figure, the Facebook tie-in is bound to help increase brand visibility within Facebook user feeds as well.)
So there you have it. Two steps in becoming more social. Innovation is great (and in Yahoo!’s case, deeply needed). But is optimizing for social share the only way Yahoo! can evolve?
Well, when it comes to search, it would seem Yahoo! continues to lose ground:

Forget search and let Google run with it. (Find the entire comScore Report here) 
What about email?
Stats from September break down the big 3 email providers by active users:
1.       Hotmail 369M
2.       Yahoo! 275M
3.       Gmail 193M
Opportunity strikes! To earn its keep,
Yahoo! needs to provide advertisers with better targeting, increased ad interaction and, where applicable, the ability to include social share.
But even with the second largest user base, Yahoo! desperately needs to refocus on holding user attention.
Ever try to change primary email addresses? (Notifying family, friends, utilities and all your favorite retailers?) It’s no easy task.  A high exit barrier Yahoo! has relied on for far too long.
What does the Yahoo! user base look like?
I found this great inforgraphic that breaks it down here.(try not to get offended by the characteristics associated with your browser of choice)

So, Yahoo! users are less tech-savvy (when compared to Google). Their family is priority #1 and they are extroverts. How can Yahoo! improve their site experience, thereby keeping them in front of ads longer?

1.       Streamline the email user interface (UI)
·         Clean, simple lines. More intuitive navigation.
2.       Reduce SPAM (Google figured it out)
·         Mail/contact lists requests alike. (Anyone else getting these daily?)

3.       Tight(er) integration with Flickr (you know, that company you purchased back in ‘05?)
·         Make sharing photos with family and friends a breeze via Yahoo! mail – it will keep users logged in longer.
4.       (Further) personalize the homepage
·         The Trending Now box was genius. It transformed the static search engine into a living, breathing thing. Here rises another opportunity for integrating with social. By cross-referencing a user’s “likes” and “followers,” related trends can be given heavier weight and promotion within both Trending Now and the primary news vignette.
Yahoo! and Google can co-exist. Like Target and Wal-Mart, it’s just a matter of aligning innovation with the unique needs of one’s target market.
Keep it up, Yahoo!. We believe in you.

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