Marissa Mayer should focus Yahoo on mobile
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer should make sure the company has a laser focus on apps and mobile in order to revitalize the brand
Marissa Mayer is now the CEO of Yahoo and she's facing a Herculean task if she wants the site to be as successful as her former company, Google. In a bit of unsolicited advice, I firmly believe that Yahoo needs to reposition itself as a strong mobile company in order to thrive.
"I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world," Mayer said in a press release.
Yahoo's new CEO will definitely take some time to assess what the company does right, but it needs to make a big move in mobile quickly. There's a great idea that I first heard about on the MacBreak Weekly: partner with Apple to make Yahoo an important part of iOS.
You can already make Yahoo (which is now powered by Microsoft's Bing), the default search engine on your iPhone or iPad but you have to dig through your settings to do it. Google is the default search engine in Safari and it's very poweful to be the default. We all know that mobile Web and search traffic is on the rise and iOS dominates the market share for mobile browsing.
A switch to Yahoo as the default would immediately give Yahoo a larger presence in the lives of tech-savvy customers, and the Bing-powered search is actually pretty good, so Apple wouldn't be sacrificing the user's experience. This could also let Apple deal a blow to Google on top of the fact that it will be switching away from Google Maps with iOS 6.
Getting on iOS would be amazing but it's easier said than done, so Mayer needs to make sure Yahoo has a strong multi-platform mobile strategy that encompasses HTML5 and native apps.
I really think IntoNow is a great app that turns your phone or tablet into a companion for watching TV, and it just needs some nurturing. Big, tent-pole shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones have garnered enough attention to warrant individual apps, but I think there's room for IntoNow to tap into that zeitgeist.
Yahoo also has some other interesting properties that could really resonate in the mobile space. While photo-sharing sites like Instagram sold for $1 billion, Yahoo let Flickr wither on the vine. Photo sharing is an important part of the mobile experience, so Yahoo needs to make Flickr cool again by making the apps slick and fun to use.
Are you ready for some football? I know millions of people are, and many of those will use Yahoo's service for fantasy foodball, but there's not a native iPhone app for that yet. You can still access your fantasy football from mobile, but creating a great native app would drive up engagement and make millions of football fans happy.
Making a bigger push into mobile doesn't mean just throwing everything against the wall and hoping things stick. I'm sure that Mayer will take a close look at what apps are out there and see what deserves to be cut. I recommend axing the Axis browser -- it's more of a tech demo than anything else.
Mayer is facing a tough row to hoe and Yahoo may be too far gone to save. But it has its best shot by becoming a true mobile company.