Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz acknowledged during the company’s conference call that neither the company’s search ad business or its display ad business had performed as well as Yahoo had wanted. Bartz said however that the company didn’t get the sense that there was a slowdown in the online ad business. Instead, she said that a single slow week in June had negatively impacted the company’s display ad results.
“The second week of June we saw demand slow down as advertisers pulled back,” Bartz said. “The first three weeks of July indicate we’re back to normal.” Bartz also said the company hadn’t been able to monetize its market share gains in the search market as much as it had expected.
Yahoo is increasingly focusing on its content properties, and Bartz referred to several recent initiatives during her introductory remarks. For instance, she said that the acquisition of Associated Content “rounds out” the company’s content strategy, providing it with a “incredible resource to tap” to add more “personally relevant” content to its sites. She also said the company was working to add more of a “voice” to Yahoo News, like the one that currently exists on Yahoo Sports, citing the recent launch of a news blog as an example of that effort.
At the same time, Yahoo has been selling some of its businesses — like HotJobs — and outsourcing others — like Personals. During his own remarks, CFO Tim Morse listed several businesses he said the company would be reinvesting in, including Autos, Travel and Small Business. Interestingly, Yahoo had reportedly tried to put the Small Business unit up for sale last year.
Several analysts pressed Yahoo executives about the one week slowdown. Bartz didn’t say much more, although she said it involved big multinational advertisers, who might have been impacted by recent foreign exchange issues and therefore had been adjusting their marketing spending.
Executives were also asked why page views had fallen four percent during the quarter, especially considering the success of Yahoo’s World Cup coverage. Morse said the company had a more “holistic” of the importance of page views noting that the company could still increase ad revenues even if page views were down because of improvements in ad technology. But he did say it was “a little bit of a surprise to see it at that level.”