Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

Widget Grab Rates – the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted by widgetgirl on April 15, 2008

Widget grab rates, the percentage of views where a widget is grabbed and shared to another web site, is a highly watched metric for many publishers and advertisers. Watching this metric vary from widget to widget is an interesting phenomena. Akin to asking the question, “how do I improve my conversion rate?”, we hear the same question as it applies to widgets – “how do I improve my grab rate?”

Rockin’ grab rates, like conversion rates, break down to a simple set of strategies:

  1. Good content – are people even going to want to grab your widget? You can’t start measuring success or failure without a little self reflection. If the content stinks, it doesn’t really matter what your brand is or what you are trying to sell or promote. The widget needs to be entertaining, interactive and have a shelf life beyond one view.
  2. “The button” – visitors need to know that your widget is “grabbable”. I can’t tell you how many widgets I have seen where you have no idea that it is a widget. The “Grab” or “Share” button is not large enough or does not contain a call-to-action. Icons don’t work – customer need to be alerted to the fact that you can grab the widget.
  3. Get them at “Hello” – Just showing the visitor the “Grab” button is not enough. You need to do it as early in their exposure to the widget as possible. I have seen a few widgets where the sharing mechanism isn’t even displayed until 15 to 30 seconds into viewing the widget. We love our visitors, but you need to SPELL-IT-OUT-FOR-THEM. Short of having a blinking sign that says “grab me” as a pre-roll to your video, game or interactive Flash file, be sure you don’t hide the button until they have “experienced your brand”.
  4. Strategic Seeding – put the widget somewhere that visitors will find it. On your own web site, that means above the fold, on a page that visitors will associate the content with the widget, or even in its own web site section where you promote all of your widgets. Don’t hide your widget – just as you don’t hide your “buy now” or “sign up here” buttons on your site, widgets deserve the same amount of promotion depending on your goals for distribution and virality.

Widgets are like mini-web sites. They reflect your brand and reach audiences that may not normally be exposed to your brand or content. Given their sticking power and ability to travel, you need to optimize this channel just like any other marketing or distribution effort. Think of sharing as a conversion funnel, just as you may think of your own web site. Tuning and optimization are critical to achieving your goals because flinging your widget into the wild will not guarantee its success!

Madonna Widget

Check out one of the newer widgets on the Clearspring platform – the Madonna widget!  I am a big Madonna fan (no comments, please) and love the fact that you can watch an entire music video in this widget.  Check it out!

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