‘Yahoo’s future is mobile,’ says Mayer — but can Yahoo’s mobile make money?

Above: Flickr's iOS app now offers auto-upload functionality

Image Credit: Eric Blattberg / Yahoo
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In today’s earnings call, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer continued on a well-worn theme for the old-school company: mobile, mobile mobile.

“Yahoo’s future is mobile,” said Mayer. In a year, she said, “12 months from now, we [will be] all about mobile.”

She also noted in the call Yahoo’s record highs for mobile traffic.

For the third quarter of 2013, Yahoo’s mobile monthly active users totaled 390 million. That tally dwarfs Twitter’s mobile MAUs (161 million) and nearly half of Facebook’s mobile userbase of 819 million mobile MAUs.

“We believe there are some advertisements that will monetize on mobile more than on desktop,” Mayer continued. “When we have the right ads in the right place … it makes users tune in, not tune out.”

Mayer said the “tune in”-type ads are what the company calls native ads, or as Mayer phrased it, “ads that match the content.” One example she gave is Yahoo Stream ads, which launched in May.

While mobile ads, native and otherwise, are “not significant contributors to our revenue,” Mayer said, “It will take some time for our increased engagement to translate into revenue, but I am confident we are on the right path.”

That path currently includes a lot of investment in product — including new mobile rollouts for older apps such as Mail, Flickr, Weather, Sports, etc. — as well as acquisitions of smaller startups with a mobile-first approach. Mayer also said that the company is currently testing more formats for mobile ads, and “what those early tests show is very positive.”

While competitors like Twitter and Facebook are seeing a majority or near-majority of revenue coming from mobile, Yahoo still has a long way to go, no matter how prudent its path.