2 | Widgets: The New Ad Units
Why Care About the Widget?
Empowering consumers has become an important theme on theInternet. The power o the online ad market has shited rom the sellerto the buyer—who has more choices than ever beore. Widgets giveconsumers ultimate control o what they see and interact with becausethey are sel-selected. comScore reports a total o 604 million people,or 65% o global Internet users, viewed or engaged with a widget inMarch 2008. Widgets have multiplied as users o social networkingsites and personalized portals have increased. According to theInteractive Advertising Bureau (IAB), UGC sites are projected to attract101 million users in the U.S. and earn $4.3 billion in ad revenue by2011; Advertisers are working to leverage this tremendous reach. AWeb page today can consist o content rom multiple widgets. (YouTubepopularized the rst major use o widget technology—all o the site’sembeddable videos are actually widgets). Ad serving companies andad networks are adding the ability to support ads which consumers cantake with them, making advertising a portable widget.“A consumer who downloads a widget is a hand-raiser andthus extremely valuable to marketers. But the viral part o theequation is a huge challenge.”—Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer
Watz a Widget?
Aiding content syndication
Consumers are likely to be ound in niche Web destinations, makingit more important to reach consumers where they “hang out”—ratherthan orcing them to click through to a site. Widgets move brandsbeyond the single Website model and turn the entire Web into a content-distribution system, allowing companies to distribute their content tomultiple locations.
Potential viral advertising
An attractive eature o the widget is their ability to spread virally. Viral-widget distribution turns customers into brand advertisers. Accordingto JupiterResearch, users between 18 and 24 were six times more likelyto get their widgets rom riends than rom a company. Widgets spreadrapidly because they can be easily shared and installed on a page;when someone adds an application to their prole on Facebook, theyare asked to share the application with their riends and a noticationo the install appears in their riends’ News Feed. But going viral is arrom a guarantee—there is vigorous competition or attention. A recentAdonomics report cites that o 13,000 Facebook apps in January 08,only 52 had more than 100,000 active users, and just 141 reached onemillion installations. It’s important to keep in mind the possiblity thatyour widget may go nowhere. It shouldn’t be the sole campaign ocusand should be included in a wider Internet program.