Sunnyvale, California -- With all the turmoil that has surrounded the once-dominant internet portal since the past several years there may still be hope for the company. Besides, chopping off 50 of its properties as new CEO Scott Thompson looks to make the popular company a litter learner and more nimble. Yahoo this week announced an expansion of its small business promotion platform, presenting them with a new marketing dashboard that is designed to allow the analyzing of website data to maintain a firm grasp on a business' exposure across social media and other promotional platforms.
As part of its suite of tools, the Yahoo Marketing Dashboard meant as a one-stop shop allows small business owners to view their sites' traffic, keep track of their search rankings and monitor buzz on 8,000 sites, including Twitter and Facebook.
The basic offering has free components, but Yahoo is presenting a number of premium add-ons for a fee. For $19.99 per month, for instance, a business owner could expand the amount of data visible through the aforementioned reputation monitoring feature. It includes Local Visibility--which looks at local listings sites like YP.com, Yelp, Google and Citysearch, to help business owners ensure their businesses are listed, and listed correctly.
Apart from that, Yahoo is trying to bring search submission back; for $9.99 per month, Yahoo says it will submit a company's website to over 100 search engines and directories.
Furthermore, it also provides Reputation Tracking tool, which gathers ratings, reviews and mentions from more than 8,000 sources and displays a breakdown of positive, negative, and neutral reviews so marketers can get a sense of what people are saying about them online. With an upgrade ($24.99/month with a three-month commitment), small business owners can gain access to all of these reviews, ratings and mentions, so they know where to focus their marketing attention.
The latter is somewhat cringe-worthy, and raises questions about just how worthwhile Yahoo's new offering is. On the other hand, there are aspects to Yahoo's offering that it appears the company got right. For example, recognizing that Google Analytics is extremely popular, Yahoo's dashboard allows businesses to pull in their Google Analytics data as well.
Yahoo's ambition in launching a marketing dashboard for small businesses is not that difficult to grasp: small business is of great importance to Yahoo and its competitors, such as Google. But serving small business and keeping a small business customer happy can be difficult.
“The number of online marketing options are increasing...It looks like a new company or a new way of connecting with consumers emerges each day, and for small businesses who do not have agencies or a lot of background support, this proliferation of options is pretty challenging to manage,” Yahoo's director of product marketing for Yahoo Small Business, Shannon Parker Hane, stated.
In order to further simplify the task, the company has engaged with Constant Contact and Orange Soda to display data for email marketing campaigns and search engine marketing efforts, respectively, when the Dashboard users are customers of these providers. Both are companies focused on the small business market.
A web site analytics display--which uses data from Yahoo Web Hosting, Yahoo Merchant Solutions, or Google Analytics--is also part of the dashboard.
On the other hand, the most basic of the marketing campaign insights can help small businesses refine their investments. “You can see over the long term the metrics you really need to know,” said Hane. “You can dig in and see which key words are driving clicks, conversions and delivering the best cost-per-click.”
Nevertheless, time will tell whether Yahoo becomes such a company, but as it tries to reinvent itself, trying to cozy up to small business probably is not the worst idea.
The dashboard will be available broadly starting this week.