Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Posts Tagged ‘placements’

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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Cloverfield widget mania – the making of a monster widget!

Posted by widgetgirl on December 28, 2007

Last week I briefly mentioned a widget that Paramount launched for their new movie Cloverfield. Little did I know that this widget would become a phenomenon! Paramount knew what they were doing when they created a contest to see who could spread the widget the most. The end goal being that whoever has the widget “grabbed” (new placements created from their placement) would win a private screening of the movie in their home town.

Specifically, the contest works like this:

  1. Visitor clicks on the widget to view the video trailer.
  2. The Producer of the movie, J.J. Abrams, pre-rolls on the trailer to introduce the contest and encourage visitors to grab the widget and place it on their web site.
  3. Visitors can then register for the contest by entering a screen name and email address for the contest. By doing so, the placement ID assigned to their instance of the widget will be registered to their contest registration information.
  4. The visitor then places the widget on their social networking profile page, blog or web site for others to grab for themselves.

Check out the steps for the contest here:

Cloverfield Landing page Cloverfield Contest Entry Cloverfield Trivia Quiz Cloverfield Trivia Quiz End

The first thumbnail is what the actual widget looks like. The second thumbnail is the screen that displays when you click on “Grab this!”. The last two thumbnails are of the widget trivia quiz. I obviously didn’t take the time to answer all of the questions, so forgive my score of 2 out of 20. You can go check out the widget on the Clearspring widget home page here.

Some interesting things to note:

The Cloverfield widget has experienced monster growth (no pun intended) due to the contest and the mysterious nature of the movie. The widget was publicly launched on December 7, 2007 and to date has over 17M views and over 25k placements – yes, 25 THOUSAND placements. That means that visitors have clicked on the “Grab This!” link on the widget and placed it on a web page where it has been viewed at least once. Those are some amazing statistics. What drove this?

  • Paramount hit the jackpot with a two-pronged approach:
    • Widget content that is engaging and interactive. The widget contains a streaming video trailer of extraordinary quality, a contest with compelling prizes and a trivia quiz. One thing to note too is that the trivia quiz is updated every few days and encourages visitors to come back frequently to check out the new questions.
    • Strong seeding strategy – Paramount reached out to bloggers that they were familiar with and had them place the widget on their sites on the same day that the widget was launched. They also created a Facebook Canvas page to seed the widget inside of Facebook for maximum spread. You can go directly to the Facebook page here.

Facebook offers some very creative merchandising options for advertisers. The viral aspect to be able to hook prospective movie goers directly to the Cloverfield community provides a channel for engaging these customers and building interest and a direct relationship with consumers.  The page (like any other Facebook page) includes features like:

  1. Fan section – this is a section to join the Cloverfield community.
  2. The Wall – a place for Facebook users to write comments about the movie.
  3. Information section – details about the movie such as the web site, director, actors and summary of the plot.
  4. Photo album – pics from the set of the movie.
  5. Movie ticket and location finder tool.
  6. Facebook apps – the Cloverfield widget plus a new widget that displays the leaderboard stats.
  7. Reviews
  8. Discussion board

 Cloverfield FB landing page   Cloverfield widget on canvas

No need to tell you what my favorite widget is this week.  This is a fun one to watch.  The contest ends on December 31st at 12am PST.  To see who the winner is, you can check out the leader board here.   Happy New Year!

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