Cashing Out: Week of July 15th – 21st 2012 in Online Marketing News

Yahoo announces Q2 results as Mayer takes helm

Yahoo isn’t out of the woods yet. But investors are looking to newly appointed CEO Marissa Mayer to turn things around for the long beleaguered company, Ad Age reported July 17.

According to Ad Age, Mayer’s more than ten year history at Google may lend some “technical prowess” to the turnaround effort at Yahoo now beginning under her leadership.

And while the New York Times (NYT) cites eMarketer analyst David Hallerman, who says “bringing in Marissa Mayer gets people’s attention,” Hallerman also cautiously notes that “the sheer attention that they are getting because of hiring her will be helpful for a while. But it will only carry them so far.”

Meanwhile, as Mayer stepped into her new position, Yahoo released its earnings report for the second quarter, showing both the challenges Mayer will be facing as well as some hope for the company.

Yahoo managed to beat analyst’s estimates in some regards, reports TechCrunch. Its net income is up to $327 million from $237 million a year ago and its  27 cent earnings per share exceeded the expected 23 cents. But the company’s revenues of $1.2 billion are down one percent since the same period last year, an indication of the work Mayer has ahead of her.

According to the NYT, the largest problem Yahoo (and Mayer) will have to deal with is the company’s current “identity crisis,” in which the company has tried to juggle technology, content and media.

But, says the NYT, “The choice of Ms. Mayer, who oversaw some of Google’s most successful products — the search engine business, Gmail and Google Maps among them — suggests that Yahoo may turn its focus to new products, like mobile technologies.”

Google buys Sparrow for Gmail

As the Wall Street Journal reported July 20, Google will no doubt be putting its latest acquisition to work enhancing and streamlining its Gmail service.

Email productivity app developer Sparrow announced this week that it has been bought by the internet giant, saying in an official statement: “we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.”

Sparrow’s app, which is available for iPhone and Mac computers but not Android devices, helps streamline the use of multiple email accounts in a single place.

Sparrow CEO Dom Leca assured users that Sparrow’s service and support will continue to be available to users, though no new features will be released aside from maintenance and fixes.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PayPal acquires

TechCrunch reported that PayPal’s July 17 acquisition or – its first in more than a year – may help the company gain an edge on other payments systems.

Previously a PayPal partner, has developed technology that allows users to capture credit card information by taking a picture of the card on their mobile device. This tech makes it easy for app developers to process credit card payments without having to type in any information, says the NYT Bits Blog.

“The employees at will be joining the PayPal global product team in San Jose to help us create new experiences to make it even easier for consumers and merchants to use the PayPal digital wallet,” wrote PayPal’s VP of Global Product, Hill Ferguson in an official blog post, adding “the current technology will remain available to developers for use in their own applications.”

Facebook acq-hires Spool and Acrylic

Another week, another shopping spree for Facebook, which announced two acquisitions this week: mobile bookmarking service Spool and Mac and iOS app developer Acrylic Software.

It looks as though both deals are acq-hires; While Spool’s team will be joining Facebook’s, “Facebook will not acquire the company or its assets,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted a spokesperson as saying.

According to the WSJ, Spool, which makes Android and iOS apps allowing users to save online video and articles for later consumption, online or offline, said those apps will be discontinued.

Facebook’s second acq-hire of the week, Acrylic Software, is also an app developer. And while their personalized newspaper app Pulp and digital storage app Wallet aren’t being acquired by Facebook, Acrylic’s team is.

“It’s not clear what exactly the Acrylic team will focus on at Facebook,” writes TechCrunch, “but chances are the team will work on mobile-related products – an area Facebook could indeed use some help.”

Big growth for eBay in Q2

eBay released its second quarter earnings report July 18 and, not only were the results good, they were better than expected.

As reported by the NYT , the company more than doubled its net income since the same period last year, from $283 million to $692 million. And its revenue also increased by 23 percent in that period, to $3.4 billion, writes TechCrunch, narrowly beating Wall Street’s projection of $3.36 billion.

According to the NYT, which cited eBay CEO John Donahoe, those numbers are due to “the successful turnaround of the company’s marketplaces business, which delivered $1.8 billion in revenue last quarter — its highest quarterly revenue ever — and the continued growth of PayPal.”

“The eBay marketplace is back. PayPal is still growing faster and will eventually catch, but that is still a couple years away,” Donahoe told the NYT.

Targeted Tweets launch on Twitter

Mashable reported July 19 on an enhancement to Twitter’s Promoted tweets ad format that should come as especially good news to Twitter advertisers.

The social network is launching targeted Tweets, which will single out a specific audience segment rather than sending the ad to all of a brand’s followers, says Mashable:

“Promoted Tweets already has that feature, but the difference is now a marketer doesn’t have to first send the tweet to all of its followers. Advertisers using targeted tweets can segment by location, devices and platforms.”

Apparently, Twitter’s been testing targeted Tweets with a number of advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, and British Airways. Twitter used an example from the latter to illustrate how the ad feature would work, showing a British Airways Tweet targeted just to UK users.

Marketers interested in the new feature can sign onto the program at

Dish rolls out targeted TV ads

As advertising online has become increasingly personalized, television advertising has been left ever more in its dust. But Ad Age is calling Dish Network’s latest “a first for the TV industry.”

The marketing news site reported July 18 that, in partnership with WPP’s Group M, Dish has already “delivered household addressable advertising nationally in trials with 10 major advertisers to more than 7 million Dish subscribers.”

What this means is that targeted ads may no longer be the sole property of the internet, but could well become a major feature of TV advertising as well.

Relying on third-party technology and anonymous data, Dish wrote in a statement that they’ve managed to “to target advertisements to specific households,” in categories ranging from consumer goods to financial services.

“This is a game-changer for Dish, advertisers and marketers,” said senior vice president of DISH Media Sales Warren Schlichting, while Group M’s Michael Bologna agreed:

“Household-addressable advertising in a television universe, long considered a ‘holy grail,’ is finally starting to become a practical reality.”

This week in marketing studies and reports:

55 percent of smartphone owners run in-store price comparisons

According to an Empathica survey of 6,500 U.S. internet users, reported on by Mashable, 55 percent of smartphone owners have used their mobile device in-store price comparisons. But that’s not the only way smartphones are affecting the way people shop:

“Thirty-four percent said they’ve scanned a QR code, and 27 percent have read online reviews from their devices before making purchase decisions,” writes Mashable.

Mobile traffic on ecoms doubles in under a year

According to ecommerce agency Screen Pages’ study of traffic to its clients websites, 20.8 percent of visits are from mobile devices. That’s more than double the figure from nine months ago, says Econsultancy.

iPad driving 55 percent of mobile sales

Econsultancy reported July 18 on data from Affiliate Window’s network that found that 55 percent of all mobile commerce sales are driven by the iPad. The iPhone follows, accounting for 29 percent of mobile commerce sales, and Android is in third place, with 13 percent.


About Emily Wilkinson

Emily Wilkinson is a Montreal writer and editor who recently joined Her experience comes largely from her work at print publications like La Scena Musicale, where she alternated between positions as content manager, copy editor and journalist.
She believes in the importance of strong writing, be it in journalism or in other media, like blogging or even social networking. Her prerogative: though language will and ought to evolve, a good writer need never sacrifice the communicative power of text that is written with thought and care, whatever the venue.
Find Emily on Twitter @EditorWilkinson

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