Yahoo’s Turnaround Strategy: A Mobile Dev Suite That Combines Flurry, Gemini and BrightRoll

yahooThis is what Yahoo’s been cooking ever since it snapped up Flurry in July – a mobile developer suite made of five new and enhanced mobile products.

And these are the top-line takeaways: Gemini native ads and video ads from BrightRoll are now available via the Flurry SDK. And comScore will integrate with Flurry to let developers independently verify and share their app data with third-party partners. Finally, Yahoo announced enhanced analytics functionality, updated search monetization and an app marketing tool that taps into inventory from Gemini, Tumblr and select off-network Yahoo partners.

The announcements came at Yahoo’s first mobile developer conference held Thursday in San Francisco, where monetization was the watchword of the day.

“Advertising is fundamentally what our business has always been about,” said Marissa Mayer, who has been banging the mobile drum since she took the reins as CEO in 2012.

But it’s not just about news tools or advertiser relationships. Data access will drive monetization, said Prashant Fuloria, Flurry vet and Yahoo’s newly appointed SVP of advertising products.

“We’ve got this really cool thing – we’ve got the data. Lots and lots of data,” Fuloria said.

Roughly 575 million of Yahoo’s approximately 1 billion users access Yahoo content via mobile. Flurry’s SDK is integrated into 630,000 apps, giving it a presence on 1.6 billion devices. All of that data ostensibly flows into Yahoo’s personalization engine, the same one that recommends content based on behavior and powers Gemini, Yahoo’s native and search marketplace. “We treat ads as we treat content,” noted Fuloria.

But while the suite and data access are clearly necessary moves for Yahoo, there’s nothing too revelatory about the announcements.

Its large audience notwithstanding, for Yahoo’s mobile aspirations to hit paydirt, developers need to get on board. Although Yahoo has expanded its mobile head count from 50 two years ago (when according to Mayer it was more of a “hobby” than a business driver) to around 500 today, Facebook and Twitter are arguably far ahead of the game.

But Fuloria is optimistic.

“Today is about the future of Yahoo as a mobile platform, about the future of Yahoo as your mobile partner,” said Fuloria, addressing the audience of about 1,000 mobile developers, referring to Yahoo’s access to cross-device user behavior as one the “best kept secrets in Silicon Valley.”

“The insights Yahoo has into its users and their daily habits across devices is virtually unparalleled – are you surprised? Well, think about it,” Fuloria said. “With Yahoo, we have great insight into how you view content – news, finance and sports – and thanks to Yahoo search, we understand your intent.”

Perhaps. Although some might contend that Yahoo still has a bit of an identity crisis in terms of where it stands from a product perspective, the combination of mobile and search through Gemini could be an interesting differentiator for Yahoo. Since Yahoo integrated search into the Yahoo app, users have increased their in-app searching fourfold.

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