Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

Archive for December 4th, 2007

Santa and his Widgets – the key to building a widget strategy

Posted by widgetgirl on December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving is past us and now it is on to the Christmas season. The holidays also bring Santa movies and the likes that only stick around through what a few of my colleagues refer to as “Festivis”. Widgets that promote movies seem to be some of the most popular and viral that I have seen thus far. The content meets all of the criteria for a good widget:

  1. Relevancy – promotion of an upcoming or current event.
  2. Engaging content – usually streaming video.
  3. Opportunity to interact – video to watch, clickthrough URL to pursue.
  4. Supporting marketing campaigns on tv, print and internet display ads.
  5. Strategic promotion – so many of these widgets are ad served which increases exposure and grab rates.

What are the steps for creating a good widget strategy?

  1. Determine where widgets fit within your marketing strategy – brand awareness, direct response or audience extension.
  2. Generate ideas for content that is engaging, has longevity and is viral in nature (you want a widget that is worth sharing). One easy way to do this is to leverage existing content or tools on your own web site that you know your visitors find popular. In the case of movies, leverage story lines and character features to produce interaction options that will appeal to your target audience.
  3. Develop content that aligns with your target audience – if the movie is rated “G”, I think you probably know who you are going after ;) In most cases though, companies are engaging their development resources (most likely Flash developers or creative services teams – internal or agency) to turn those content ideas into rich creative assets.
  4. Ensure that data collection is in place. I cannot stress this piece enough because it is at the root of ensuring you can optimize your widget for maximum spread and distribution. There are three target areas for data collection: 1) Instrument your widget for custom events when possible. What this essentially means is utilize custom eventing APIs provided by your widget serving platform (like Clearspring of course) to capture events that are specific to your widget. If you have a blue, red and yellow button on you widget, you are going to want to know which color your visitors are clicking on – you have to define these areas and pass the keys for them to enable reporting on these type of events. 2) Insert a tag for your site’s web analytics tool. If you have the bandwidth and can afford to do it, tag your widget. You won’t get all of the rich spread and relational data points that your widget serving platform can provide, but you will be able to track that off-domain audience and understand your extended audience reach. 3) Append campaign codes or query string variables to track incoming links back to your site. If you are the web analyst looking at your widget traffic, you are going to want to know which widgets are driving audience back to you web site.
  5. Use a widget serving platform, like Clearspring, that will provide sharing tools for visitors viewing your widget to use. Companies like ours are building the bridges to all of the social networks and blog vendors so you don’t have to.
  6. Seed your widget where visitors can find out. You don’t want to bury your widget on your web site, you want visitors to find it easily and know that it is available for them to grab. One of the cool things about movie promotions are their large advertising budgets :) Don’t you wish we all had one of those….sigh. Studios love to ad serve their widget (purchase an ad buy and run a widget as the piece of creative instead of just a regular banner or rich media asset). More on this topic in the future, but think about your effective CPM….it goes down the more your widget spreads and is viewed off the ad position.
  7. Measure and optimize your widget. Near and dear to my heart, Clearspring analytics provides very robust analytics to measure where your widget is being viewed, where it is spreading from and how visitors are interacting with it. There is a lot of rich data that can be mined and analyzed with respect to widgets. Use the data to evaluate how your widget is performing and then adjust accordingly. Creating a baseline of metrics will help you as a marketer understand if your widget strategy is working – and provide a comparison for future campaigns.

Widget strategies provide a new set of challenges for marketers. They don’t differ from traditional marketing, they just require taking the tools that we already have at our fingertips and rearranging how we use them. The Fred Claus widget below is a look at a widget strategy well executed.

  • Widget includes interactivity such as the “Sibling Rivalry Quiz”, streaming video trailer of the movie.
  • Call to action – “Get Widget” is prominently placed and “Visit Site” invites users to learn more about the movie.
  • This widget was ad served which created more visibility for the widget to be “grabbed”. Many widgets are simply placed on a company’s website and new placements of the widget are generated from there. Ad serving takes that seed placement and puts it on steroids so to speak. Your widget will be viewed across multiple websites and to a larger audience – which in turn creates more opportunity for more of those “first generation” placements. A larger “first spread” almost guarantees a larger “second generation spread” and so forth.

If you are reading my blog, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what resonates and what you’d like to hear about in future posts!

Cheers!

Fred Clause

Posted in widget analytics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.