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Yahoo steps into market research ring

NOVEMBER 24, 2011 – An internet giant is working to direct its extensive suite of media outlets and tools toward conducting market research. It will be surveying the same people it aims to promote goods and services to, as part of an effort to give its advertising clients more insight on campaign designs and messages.

Advertising Age reports that Yahoo is venturing into a field that other “social-media players … (have) been slow to embrace” as a new source of revenue or as a tactic for catapulting themselves into a higher advertising bracket: market research.

The company began launching research projects over the past year to gain more insight on the shopping habits of various demographic groups. Yahoo’s latest study subject is moms, and it’s using online communities, surveys, social-media listening and video ethnography to find out what makes mothers shop and (more importantly) buy, the magazine reports.

Lauren Weinberg, the vice president of strategic research and insights for Yahoo, told the news outlet that the company’s new research initiative is an effort to drive revenues higher, but is not necessarily a source of profit on its own.

“It’s all tied to revenue in some regard,” she said. “These are things that clients come to us and say, What can you tell us about what’s going on with tablets and how we should incorporate that into our digital strategy?'”

Weinberg told Ad Age that Yahoo isn’t trying to butt in on market research firms’ territory, and is rather planning to work with these agencies to foster more collaboration and bring together a variety of perspectives.

“It’s definitely a big tool we can leverage in terms of just kind of getting out in the marketplace and having different conversations with our clients,” she said of the new service.

The study will run in France, the U.K., the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, China, Russia and India, the magazine recounts, and will set up online communities in these countries with 100 moms in each.

The business strategy may give the internet company a new direction, as a November comScore report shows it is currently losing ground to Google when it comes to the core search market.

Google sites accounted for 65.6 percent of the total search queries submitted in the month of October, the company found. Yahoo was in a distant second place with a 15.2 percent share of searches.