Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Archive for the ‘viral hubs’ Category

Viral Hubs – spreading your widget the Kylie Minogue way

Posted by widgetgirl on February 11, 2008

It has been a little while since I last wrote about widget placements and mapping the topography of the true value of widgets – how far they are spreading and from where. Clearspring’s Viral Hubs report is one of our most popular and utilized reports within our analytics suite. This report displays the number of new placements that are being created from seed placements and off-domain placements (“in the wild” if you will). Specifically the report focuses on displaying the number of placements created from the domains where your widget has been seeded or where it has been placed.

A few weeks ago we noticed that a new widget had hit our platform in full force. For you music buffs (ok, you 90’s music buffs), Kylie Minogue launched a widget on our platform that was driving huge amounts of traffic – most particularly because it was on PerezHilton’s celebrity gossip blog. The “Kylie widget” as we like to refer to it here had streaming video in it and was spreading rapidly from Perez’s site. Mix a music star with a popular blogger that hits your target audience and the combination can be quite explosive.


“Spreading” and “viral” are two terms used frequently to describe widgets in general. The terms themselves though specifically boil down to a quantitative measurement for the number of new widget placements being created for a specific widget. You can check out another post of mine that dives pretty deep into Placements and what they are, but I am going to recap for you here.

Placement: The unique instance of a widget, as defined by a Placement ID and a URL.

This definition requires explanation. When a widget is placed on a web page for the very first time, we refer to this as a “Seed Placement” – meaning that the placement was not “grabbed” from anywhere else (you can get a “Seed Placement” from the Clearspring console when you register your widget with us). Each time the widget is “grabbed” (also referred to as “shared” or “spread”), the widget serving platform assigns a new Placement ID to that instance of the widget. So every time the widget is grabbed from another widget, it results in the creation of a new “Placement”.

The Placements metric is the sum of placements that have been created for your widget. When we analyze this data to see where a widget is spreading from, we refer to it in two ways:

  1. Viral Hubs – the source domains from where my widget is being spread.
  2. Grabs – the number of times that a new placement was created from my widget.

As you can see, there are a few building blocks here. The web analyst first needs to understand what a placement is. Then the analytical model extends on to “from where” is my widget spreading from – or more precisely, “which domains are creating new placements for my widget?”

When viral hubs are identified within the data, the marketing mind can take over and start strategizing how to optimize the spread for a widget (and future widgets). In the case of the Kylie widget, I would presume that they will try to get their widgets on to PerezHilton.com again in the future. Optimal “seeding” (the initial placement(s) of the widget) is the key to maximizing and optimizing the creation of viral hubs. Similar to finding those key sources of traffic to your web site, the viral hub is the lynch pin in matching your widget with the target audience maximum audience reach.

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