Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Widgets, Social Applications and RSS Feeds

Posted by widgetgirl on May 16, 2008

After my presentation at SportsMarketing 2.0 last week (Passion, Can you measure it?), I jumped in a cab and high-tailed it from the AT&T ball park back to the Palace Hotel for my panel at 5:00pm. Topic: Widgets, Social Applications and RSS Feeds – what are they and how to measure them. The panel was moderated by my good friend Robbin Steiff of Lunametrics. My co-panelists included John Marshall of Market Motive and Ori Soen of Musestorm.

I kicked it off with a slide presentation of “what is a widget?” Honestly, based on the number of conversations that I have had here at E-metrics, I probably could have paused there for 20 minutes. But this was the Advanced Track and Jim Sterne had given strict orders to bring our “A” game and hit the audience hard with a lot of content. My presentation broke down as follows:

What is a widget?

  • Wikipedia definition: “A web widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML-based web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation.
  • Simply put – it is a mini web page. And moving beyond the “web” definition, widgets can run on desktops and also on mobile devices.

What do widgets look like?

  • In this slide I walk through several screen shots of various widgets that have run on the Clearspring platform. There are still so many people that do not understand what a widget is. Really, it is just a piece of content that can easily move from one page to another. But a lot of the widgets that we see on our platform are creative applications that promote big brands or provide usability such as games and resource widgets.

What makes a widget sharable?

  1. Visitor clicks on widget to initiate sharing process.
  2. Visitor selects destination site or grabs the embed code
  3. Clearspring widget sharing tools seamlessly allow the user to add the widget to their start page, blog or social networking profile page.

Widgets are changing the game

  • Old – messaging to users was passive in the past. The advertiser had to ‘interrupt’ the visitor to get their attention. Through display advertising and messaging, the engagement was a onte-time experience.
  • Now – publishers and advertisers can interact with their customers and prospects like never before. Users are self-identifying by grabbing widgets and placing them on their pages. This user initiated interaction not only endorses the brand through affiliation, but also establishes a channel in which to communicate and message with the customer.

Killer reach through audience extension

  • Each of us knows that there is only so much traffic you can drive to your site. Audience can be built through branding, display advertising, SEM and email. Extending your audience off-domain (those visitors who are interacting with your content off of your primary domain) is a huge opportunity that is both exciting and a bit scary.
  • Check out the graph below. This is representative of what can happen when you let your content go viral off of your domain. The gray shaded area represents on-domain traffic while the blue represents off-domain traffic. The reach in views to your content off-domain is unlimited. I am not saying that building audience on-domain isn’t possible. What I am saying is that allowing your content to travel through the viral channels (enabled by technology) is a much more efficient way of building audience.

Widget Analytics

  • Widget Analytics has the traditional metrics that we associate with web analytics – Unique Visitors, View, Clicks, Average Time Spent and Custom Events.
  • What’s new? I’ll be brief here as you can read my other posts on Grabs, Placements and Active Placements.
  • What’s missing: Sessions (you can read my post on that one).

Widget-Watch: What is next on the widget analytics horizon? Or just widgets for that matter.

  • Standards – as many or you know, the Web Analytics Association formed a Social Media Standards committee specifically to address Social Media metric standards. Our focus is on setting definitions on metrics that may be used to measure various aspects of social media. This includes widgets, blogs, bookmarks, social networks, downloadable media, streaming media and mobile.
  • Integration with web analytics vendors – WA vendors can help you deduplicate your on and off domain audience so you can direct measure your reach. However, WA vendors can’t establish the spread patterns that only the widget analytics tools can measure. There is overlap in the space – but there are distinct questions that only each tool can measure.
  • Monetization models – how do you monetize your off domain content? Clearspring has several models to do so and more will emerge over the coming years. In-widget advertising is evolving and will be an exciting space to watch throughout 2008.

Overall it was a fun panel and I received a lot of follow up email and comments from many of you. If you were there in the audience and took away something meaningful that you are applying to your business, let me know. I would love to hear from you!



One Response to “Widgets, Social Applications and RSS Feeds”

  1. […] Widgets, Social Applications and RSS Feeds […]

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