Yahoo stock up, but consumer perception down in past year

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
July 15, 2013, 8:13 AM GMT+0

One year after Marissa Mayer assumed the CEO title at Yahoo, the company’s stock price is approximately 60% higher than when she started, but the company’s brand health measurements, based on consumer feedback, have moved in the opposite direction. This is according to YouGov BrandIndex, the only daily brand consumer perception research service.

Revelations in early June that the National Security Administration (NSA) collected massive amounts of consumer data from the top Internet companies seems to have been particularly damaging to Yahoo’s consumer perception, along with that of its rivals. The group’s brand health scores have just begun to rebound, although they are still nowhere near the levels they were before the news broke.

Competitors closing in

Yahoo’s gradual descent has also been closing the consumer perception gap between itself and the average perception of its competitors, including the likes of MSN and Bing. While Yahoo is still running ahead of the average of its rivals’ scores, its lead is the smallest it’s been in four years.

Yahoo and a composite of its rivals were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Index score, which is the company’s flagship brand health measurement. The Index score combines the following YouGov BrandIndex metrics: Impression, Value, Satisfaction, Reputation, Quality and Willingness to Recommend. All results are for adults over the age of 18. A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

Boost from Mayer

On July 16 2012, when Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo, the company’s Index score was 37 and 11 points over its rivals’ average score of 26.

By mid-November, Yahoo’s Index score had drifted to 30 while competitors stayed the same at 26. Yahoo hovered in the 30 to 32 range for five months while the rival average score barely moved.

When Mayer canceled the company’s work-from-home policy in April 2013, Yahoo’s Index score briefly declined from 33 down to 28, although it had largely recovered by the beginning of May. But the NSA surveillance news took Yahoo from 32 down to 25 over the month of June. The same incident dropped its competitors from 25 to 22, a few points below Yahoo.

Yahoo’s current Index score is still 25, while its rival composite score has crept up to 23, representing a two-point advantage versus 11 when Mayer began her tenure.

YouGov BrandIndex ( interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative US population sample, involving more than 1.2 million interviews per year. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 1.5MM individuals.

Index score for Yahoo versus competitors, year to date: