Six months into her tenure as Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer still has her work cut out for her. Among her top priorities? Developing a consumer-friendly way to integrate advertising into mobile content.
In a television interview with Bloomberg TV from Davos, Ms. Mayer spoke of an opportunity to surprise people with a new type of advertising for mobile that would benefit users just like Google developed around search.
"There's usually a way you can introduce advertising such that it's not intrusive, that it actually adds value to the end user and that it actually enhances the experience," she said, mentioning that outsiders used to always ask her how Google would make money from search in its early days. "And that's what we need to work on." Unfortunately, she gave no hint of how far along Yahoo is in uncovering it nor what it might be.
In addition to mobile advertising, Ms. Mayer acknowledged the challenge of simultaneously revitalizing Yahoo's web properties and products for the desktop and improving how they translate on mobile phones -- all while trying to break new ground with mobile innovation.
In the wide-ranging 30-minute interview, Ms. Mayer also discussed an appreciation for user-generated content (while noting that Yahoo Groups hasn't been refreshed in 11 years); her belief that internet companies should make all the data it has stored on users, including search queries, available to that person to take with them to other services; and, perhaps most importantly, Yahoo's focus on working on a form of personalization that would allow the company to "provide a feed of information that is the web ordered for you and is also available on your mobile phone."
The full interview is below.