Yahoo may bolster its mobile-ad offerings by making a big purchase today.
The company is buying Flurry, a mobile analytics and ad service, as first spotted by Re/Code. Yahoo will likely report the deal later today. Web traffic is shifting to mobile devices, and Yahoo is far behind its competitors such as Google and Facebook in that area. Flurry could provide the services that Yahoo needs to catch up. Advertisers will spend nearly $33 billion on mobile advertising this year, according to industry-tracking firm eMarketer, and Yahoo is searching for a bigger piece of that.
We’ve reached out to Yahoo and Flurry. We’ll update this post with any new information.
While Flurry is an ad platform that matches up marketers with apps, the company is also extremely valuable due to its analytics technology. More than 500,000 apps and games use Flurry’s software-development kit to track a ton of information about customer behavior on more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets. That data enables advertisers to get a bigger return on their marketing budgets.
This rumor got started thanks to an anonymous post on the mobile app Secret. The now deleted message read: “Flurry is getting acquired by Yahoo. Not sure for how much.” TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo may drop anywhere between $300 million and $1 billion for the company.
Flurry started in San Francisco in 2005, and it has grown into one of the most-important companies in app advertising and analytics. The technology firm has established an especially strong connection with game developers. Those companies use Flurry to maximize revenue from the revenue that they make from their games.
More than 170,000 app developers use Flurry, and the tech firm’s SDK tracks more than 150 billion sessions every month. For Yahoo, Flurry would give them an instant relationship with a huge number of the people and companies responsible for the mobile-app economy.
Since 2005, Flurry has raised $74 million in funding.
Yahoo has made a number of mobile-related acquisitions recently. These include the Blink mobile messaging service in May, mobile-marketing firm SPARQ in January, and the intelligent Android homescreen replacement Aviate also in January. The company clearly sees its future in mobile, but it also sees Facebook and Google capturing more of that market every day.
Combined, Facebook and Google represent more than two-thirds of mobile-ad spending worldwide. With spending approaching $33 billion this year, that’s up nearly 85 percent from 2013. With that kind of growth, Yahoo likely cannot afford to treat mobile with anything but urgency.
“Last year was the year we began to make investment in mobile,” Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said in a presentation at TechCrunch Disrupt in May. “We’re late. We’re behind.”
Mayer went on to explain that Yahoo is now “mobile first.”
Acquisitions like Flurry and Aviate are perhaps the best way for Yahoo to make a dent on market because the company has had little luck with its own apps. Yahoo Mail is the only one of the company’s products to regularly chart in the top 100 on iOS or Android. Yahoo Weather and Flickr, meanwhile, languish well outside relevancy.