Yahoo Canada focuses on personalized content with redesign

Yahoo Canada has redesigned its home page and it’s telling that the company’s country manager doesn’t mention search first when asked how people typically use the site. “We have a wide range of demographics,” says Claude Galipeau during an interview, in answering a question about the users who choose Yahoo over the search leader Google. […]

Yahoo Canada has redesigned its home page and it’s telling that the company’s country manager doesn’t mention search first when asked how people typically use the site.

Default version of Yahoo.ca's new page

“We have a wide range of demographics,” says Claude Galipeau during an interview, in answering a question about the users who choose Yahoo over the search leader Google.

“It’s generally people who want to be informed, who want to have fast breaking news, who want to check their stocks, who want to check the weather, who want to watch video, who want to catch up on celebrity news, and who want to search the web, and who want to use mail.”

While many web users probably can’t remember the last time they strayed from Google to try another search engine, Yahoo is the fifth busiest website in Canada (behind only Google.ca, Google.com, Facebook and YouTube), according to measurement company Alexa.

And a large part of its appeal is the breadth of content hosted on the site — in addition to the search box.

“We say we’re in the top five as a general website and we’re No. 1 in a number of categories — often in sports, we’re No. 1 in finance, we’re No. 1 in celebrity news,” Galipeau says, adding that the new redesign is focused on feeding users the content they want across all the devices they use.

While the look of the new home page isn’t dramatically different, the behind-the-scenes code was crafted so the site can learn what kinds of links users frequently click on and highlight that content on future visits.

Users who sign in or connect their social media accounts should get the best experience, although others who don’t will still get some personalization through the use of tracking web cookies, adds Galipeau.

“Our objective is really to increase engagement by being extra relevant,” he says.

“The content stream is progressively personalized based on your activities, what you choose to read, and any signals you give Yahoo.”

Yahoo is now seeing about half of its traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, which prompted a “mobile-first” design philosophy, says Galipeau.

“We’re trying to make sure we exploit the full characteristics of a tablet as well as a smartphone — and make sure the experience also works on desktop,” he says.

“Mobile is really the future and that’s why we’re designing the entire Yahoo experience to be mobile first, but to work across all devices.”

Galipeau says Canada is considered one of Yahoo’s “top-tier” markets based on users’ enthusiasm for the online world.

“We’re considered to be a top-tier country for a number of reasons,” says Galipeau.

“One, our usage on the Internet is extremely strong; we’re one of the highest, if not the highest, consumers of online video; we’re phenomenal users of search; and we’ve been web surfers for well over a decade, so we’re a well practised, mature, sophisticated Internet user base.”

Media Articles

Giving marketers the inside edge

SPONSORED: In-app video from Flurry and its marketplace now available to Yahoo advertisers

Yahoo Canada’s Year in Review

SPONSORED: Tapping in to what matters most to users

The search for social marketing’s J.D. Power

Aimia CMO John Boynton says social marketing needs metrics that look deeper

Canada’s Hottest Ads: A very foodie November

...with a light dusting of holiday cheer

Toronto Star hires Rethink

Agency to focus on promoting the paper's print edition and tablet news products

Former Quebecor CEO to head St-Hubert restaurant chain

Robert Depatie starts new role in February

Why there needs to be a victor in the mobile wallet wars

Retail Futurist Doug Stephens says convenience will reach a tipping point