Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Posts Tagged ‘web analytics for widgets’

Hello World – Widget Analytics Have Arrived

Posted by widgetgirl on October 11, 2007

Hello current future and contemplative web and widget analysts! Welcome to “Widget Analytics”. This is my very first post on widget analytics – an intro to widgets. I have been pondering the thought of writing a blog for a long time, but haven’t been ready to commit. Well, the time has come!

So what are widgets? There are web widgets and desktop widgets. Most of my blogging is going to be focused on the web widget. Widgipedia’s definition of a web widget is as follows:

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. They are derived from the idea of reusable code that has existed for years. Nowadays other terms are used to describe a web widget including: gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini and flake. Web widgets often but not always use DHTML, Adobe Flash or JavaScript programming languages.

Ok, so what does that mean to me as a web analyst? Up until recently, it really didn’t mean much because widgets weren’t a part of the marketing channels that I was analyzing. Email newsletters, display advertising, paid search and organic search were the primary ways that we lured new visitors to our web sites. Social networks and the open sharing of content is changing that model. Now we can take content on our site, widgetize it, and allow the user to share the content across the web.

What does this looks like in laywoman’s terms:

  1. Liza comes to my web site and sees a piece of content wrapped as a widget.

  2. She clicks on the “grab it” or “share it” button on the widget.

  3. A menu appears to allow Liza to grab the widget and do one of the following:

    1. Push it to her favorite social network (like MySpace, Facebook, iGoogle or Netvibes)

    2. Grab the embed code and put it on any web site she chooses

    3. Email it to a friend

    4. Send a text message to her friend Jeff containing a link to the widget

  4. Tony goes to Liza’s MySpace page (where she published it because she chose door number 1 above) and sees Liza’s widget.

  5. Tony decides that he wants this widget too and once again begins the process of grabbing the widget.

So from my site to Liza, Liza to Tony, my widget spreads across the internet from site to site. Tony does not have to come back to my site to get the widget, yet I still have control over the content. If you think about the path here, there are some very interesting things to analyze!

  • How many unique visitors saw my widget? On my site? Liza’s MySpace page? On Tony’s site?

  • How many times has my widget been viewed?

  • How many times has my widget been “grabbed” or “shared”?

  • Were did Tony “grab” my widget from?

  • Where has Liza “spread” my widget to?

  • Is my widget continuing to spread or is it (gulp) starting to die?

There is a lot to analyze and there aren’t standards around how to measure this just yet. The IAB has standards around rich media and the WAA has standards for web analytics, but no one has formally nailed down the widget analytics standards. As this evolves over the next few months and years, I hope to be able to provide the widget analyst audience (aka web analysts with their widget hat on) a place to keep up to date on widget analytics awareness. Your email, comments and questions are desired – so please reach out!

Ending note – for anyone attending the E-Metrics conference in DC, please come check out my presentation on Monday October 15 from 5-6pm. I am speaking on “Optimizing creative and landing pages for advertising campaigns”. However, you’ll also get a sneak preview of widget analytics 😉

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