The online media company is gearing up to launch its biggest global marketing campaign in years to promote its new positioning as providing a more personalised user experience.
Its brand message is underpinned by the new strapline “It’s Y!ou”. But some observers are already questioning whether it goes far enough.
The press and outdoor ads carry copy such as: “The internet is under new management. Yours”, “This time it’s personal” and “There’s a new master of the digital universe. You”.
But as Dare Digital planning director Toby Horry points out a lot of people found that out a few years ago.
“The message seems very generic to me. It’s saying that the internet is about you, but I feel that already,” he says. “If Yahoo! genuinely feels that its service is innovative then it should be doing more to highlight what those innovations are.”
What Yahoo! is at least trying to do with its new homepage however is carve out its territory as an online hub. While this may not convince the digital aficionados of the world, it may stoke the interest of the ‘average Joe’.
“The sort of people to use Yahoo! is probably not someone in a digital marketing agency sat in an office in Soho. Maybe for example someone like my mum would feel the changes helps her in what she does online,” Horry says.
Following such a line of argument could in turn mean that the new and improved Yahoo! could very easily grow its mass market appeal.
But Google already enjoys market leading mass market appeal and other observers argue that instead of throwing millions of cash into a new global campaign, it should focus its investment on further product innovation as has the strategy been at Google which has seen services such as Google Maps grow in use and popularity.
Agency Republic digital strategist Tim Sparke adds that while Yahoo! still has huge assets in the social web, with Yahoo! Mail, groups and answers, it has lost “a lot of mindshare and innovation” to Gmail and Facebook.
“Flickr and Delicious are brilliant properties to own, but what do they add to Yahoo! as a brand? They’ve had a problem integrating them into the Yahoo! portfolio and innovation seems to have stalled as a result,” Sparke says.
But the fact remains that Yahoo! continues to be one of the most trafficked internet destinations in the world and in the UK has more than nine million monthly users. If it can convince consumers of the simplicity and convenience of its new homepage, it could also increase the length of time users spend with it. And that’s got to mean something to advertisers in an era where it is in fact all about YOU.