Yahoo's US Traffic Is Collapsing

Earlier, we noted that Yahoo has launched a new ad campaign in an attempt to address its collapsing traffic.

Several readers immediately exploded: Whaddya mean collapsing traffic!!!

As evidence, they sent links to charts like the one below that show that Yahoo’s worldwide traffic is basically flat, not collapsing.  We’re not arguing with that.  (And as shareholders and employees of Yahoo, we’re relieved to see it*).

Yahoo Global Traffic

Photo: Comscore

But the traffic collapse we were referring to is the one in the US, which is by far Yahoo’s most important market. A shocking 75% of Yahoo’s revenue comes from the U.S.  And on a revenue-per-unique basis, US visitors are far more valuable than international visitors–especially emerging market international visitors, which is where the international growth may be coming from. (See this chart.).

In the past 7 months, according to Comscore numbers published by the WSJ this morning, Yahoo’s monthly uniques have dropped from 125 million to 110 million.  For a site that has been growing for the past 15 years, that’s a collapse**:

Yahoo Traffic Collapse

Photo: Comscore, WSJ

Yahoo’s US traffic collapse is a major problem, one the company needs to focus enormous effort and brainpower on reversing.

We don’t think an ad campaign is going to do it. We’d rather see the company spend the $80 million on innovation and/or content.

* I’m a host of Yahoo TechTicker, a market-and-economic video show on Yahoo Finance (3 million viewers!). I’ve owned the stock since 1998.

** One reader argues that this is just seasonality. We doubt it, but we don’t yet have enough Comscore data to prove it (we’ve asked for it and will update when we get it).

Here’s a Comscore chart that shows a longer view, though.  Based on this chart, which shows US uniques, traffic rose through last summer and then declined precipitously.  On a year over year basis, though, it’s up, which supports the “seasonality” argument:

Yahoo US Traffic

Photo: Comscore

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