Brace Yourself Mayer, Saving Yahoo Won't Be Easy: Analysts
Rethinking the Ad Business
But maybe it will be Mayer's experience at Google that will give Yahoo a renewed life, especially in the advertising business, something that is core to their success, said Mortensen.
"If they can at least regain some share in display advertising, that's a make or break for the company," Mortensen said.
But in regards to advertising, "Yahoo's fallen way behind in the space," said Ken Sena of Evercore Partners. But Mayer's tech background may help the company retool how it goes about advertising.
"In terms of how advertisers buy, increasingly they're not buying it through Yahoo, they're buying it through other platforms like from Google and then they're getting Yahoo's inventory through that," Sena said.
With Mayer's tech background, she may be able to increase the efficiency of the Yahoo's ad platform and add optimization tools that would entice advertisers.
Last month, Yahoo hired former Admeld CEO and Google executive Michael Barrett, who also will likely be assisting in reforming the company's advertising business.
"Bringing in someone like Michael Barrett or Marissa Mayer, you have people who can really shift through those ad assets and decide what assets can they keep and what assets can they start to parse out," Sena said.
Part of why Yahoo may have lost ground in advertising is because it didn't have the necessary talent to turn the business around. Mayer will be key to helping the company snag some of the most innovative people for new projects, Mortensen said.
"The problem now is brain drain the last few years and it's only gotten worse lately, and Marissa Mayer will probably be in a position to reverse that and start attracting talent and develop talent that Yahoo really badly needs," Mortenson said.
Mayer herself has invested in various startups including uBeam, a company focusing on wireless chargers; Square, a payment company that utilizes mobile devices; Minted, a social commerce company; and Brit, a media technology company.
But new talent is just one aspect of what Yahoo needs to renew itself, and Mayer's appointment is just the first step in a string of other changes that are sure follow.
"Change is necessary. The stock's valuation implied no growth, but that's accurate. There hasn't been any growth in free-cash flow in almost five years," Mahaney said. "So something dramatic needed to be done. It's impossible to describe this as anything but dramatic."