Microsoft/Yahoo - let the exodus begin
Updated - See new post for more info.
Back in November, Facebook launched their new SocialAds platform. Like many other folks, I decided to spend $50 to check out the platform. Like Fred, I decided to advertise for my fund - First Round Capital. Unlike Fred, however, I decided to test Facebook's targeting mechanism by running targeted ads to employees of large Internet companies -- including Yahoo and Microsoft.
One of the nice parts about Facebook's platform is their realtime statistics. Back in November, I saw that my Yahoo ad received 21,291 impressions with only 64 clicks -- a clickthrough rate of 0.30%. And my Microsoft ad received no clicks with 1,058 impressions. So when Microsoft announced they wanted to acquire Yahoo, it got me (and everyone else) wondering. Specifically, I wondered if YHOO/MSFT employees were indeed more likely to "look around" for new jobs -- and if so, how much more. Since I had baseline data from just 90 days ago, I decided to run the ads again.
On the Yahoo side, there was a 260% increase in clickthrough rate -- from 0.3% to 0.86%. That is not surprising. But on the Microsoft side, I was really surprised. When I ran around 1,000 impressions before, the ad did not receive one click -- now the same advertisement received 15 clicks. Microsoft's clickthrough rate increased from 0% to 1.19%. Maybe it's not just Microsoft's shareholders who are unhappy.
I acknowledge that this data is probably not statistically significant -- however, it probably is a good leading indicator of the exodus that will occur. And, while there has been a lot of discussion of whether a Microsoft/Yahoo combination would help or hurt Silicon Valley, the impact of this coming exodus has been largely ignored.
As talent leaves the big Internet/technology companies, there will be a flood of experienced folks looking to join (or start) startup companies. And that's a flood I look forward to.