Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has a problem on her hands. Two out of three of Yahoo’s biggest sources of traffic, namely email and search, are declining rapidly, according to new private ComScore numbers reported by AllThingsD. That only leaves its prime location homepage as one major area that is growing. Considering Mayer’s goal is to take Yahoo back to its roots “as a consumer internet company” that could prove to be a huge problem.
In the US search traffic fell by 24% from December 2011 to December 2012 and Yahoo Mail traffic was down 12% for the same period as people continue to dump their Yahoo email accounts.
The only place where there is good news is the Yahoo.com homepage. That grew from 109 million monthly unique visitors in December 2011 to 114 million in December 2012.
“Private stats from comScore show that those three areas have continued their longtime decline over the last year, in some cases dropping significantly. In November and December, for example, compared to the same two months a year ago, U.S. search was down 28 percent and 24 percent respectively, while mail was down 16 percent and 12 percent.
“This matters a great deal, since the troika of homepage, mail and search have been the critical driver of the Yahoo value ecosystem for advertisers. The impact of those drops is felt all over Yahoo, whose music, movie, games and travel site have also seen massive drop-offs in traffic year over year in those same months,” reports AllThingsD.
This is a massive problem for Yahoo as it is business built on big numbers and to see search and email wither away like this is deeply troubling for Mayer.
There is one other bright spot and that is Flickr, which is up 37% to 26.7 million unique monthly visitors year on year.
It is an impressive rise, but if Yahoo had not inexplicably ignored Flickr for years the business would have been a lot bigger by now.
Instead Flickr has been largely superseded by the likes of Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest and by social media more widely. And that’s Yahoo’s problem all over.