Widget Analytics – Measuring the widgets in the wild

Helping web analysts navigate the measurement and tracking of widgets.

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Posts Tagged ‘widgets’

What is a placement?

Posted by widgetgirl on October 25, 2007

In my last post I discussed the concept of a Placement. A placement is the unique instance of a widget that has been placed on a web page. When a placement is created, a placement ID is assigned to identify that unique instance of a placement. When reporting on placements there are multiple ways to analyze them.

There is one metric I want to cover in this post – but three different dimensions to analyze that one metric over. This is a starting point and could easily spawn new metrics or additional interpretations of existing metrics.

Before we dive into definitions, let’s revisit how widgets can spread and what the nodes look like for spreading.

  1. A widget is seeded on mywebsite.com where visitors can come and grab the widget.
  2. When the widget is grabbed, mywebsite.com is given credit for sharing the widget.
  3. The visitor who grabbed the widget from mywebsite.com and puts it on theirwebsite.com has now created a new placement.

Each one of these scenarios presents three different ways to look at the website mywebsite.com.

  • Scenario 1:
    • Placement definition – The instance of a unique placement ID. A placement ID is assigned when a visitor invokes the sharing services on a widget and successfully shares the widget to a social network or grabs the embed code.
    • Placements metric definition – The count of unique Placement IDs.
    • In scenario number 1, mywebsite.com is a domain with a metric count of one placement.
  • Scenario 2:
    • Viral Hub (a categorization of domain) – A domain that has generated one or more placements.
    • Viral Hubs – The count of the placement IDs by domain that have generated at least one new placement.
    • In scenario number 2, mywebsite.com is a Viral Hub with a metric count of one placement.
  • Scenario 3:
    • Heritage (a categorization of domain) – The domain(s) from where a new placement originated.
    • In scenario number 3, theirwebsite.com has a metric count of one placement. And when we ask the question of “where did the placement on theirwebsite.com originate from”, we know that the heritage domain is mywebsite.com.

Confusing – a little bit. Where does this leave us?

mywebsite.com –> theirwebsite.com

theirwebsite.com <– mywebsite.com

Mywebsite.com generates a new widget placement to theirwebsite.com. Theirwebiste.com is now a new placement of a widget. Mywebsite.com is the domain where the placement on theirwebsite.com originated. Yes, it is one big vicious circle, but each scenario lends its own analytical value when analyzing how the widget is spreading. The next step is applying it to your own business.

Widget Optimization

Strategic Questions:

  • Where should I be seeding my widget so that it can become a viral hub and generate new placements?
  • Where has my widget been placed?
  • Which viral hubs are generating placements into specific sites (heritage)?
  • For non-seed placements , what new viral hubs are emerging?
  • How do I get future widgets out to non-seed placements that are strong viral hubs?
  • Should I build relationships or partnerships with non-seed placement viral hubs? What if they are individuals?

There are a lot of business questions to be asking when analyzing your widget strategy. There are three takeaways:

  1. Build your widget to be engaging and relevant to your audience.
  2. Seed your widget where it has the highest probability of being grabbed.
  3. Understand how your widget is spreading and focus on optimizing those distribution points.

Here is a link to my favorite widget of the week!

If you go to the bottom right side of the ivillage.com web site, you’ll see the “Daily Blabber” widget.  Click “grab it” and you can add it to your own site or profile page.

Catch you next week…..Jodi

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Posted in widget analytics | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

E-Metrics Summit – Marketing Optimization Notes

Posted by widgetgirl on October 16, 2007

It is day two at the E-Metrics Summit in Washington, DC. During my presentation yesterday there were a lot of great questions around how to wrap your widget and get it launched into the wild. Thank you everyone who came to listen. This is such a new area and the thought of releasing your content outside of your domain (and then trying to measure it) can be a little mind boggling.

Wrapping your widget and the foundation for how to widgetize your content was a harder concept for folks to grasp than how to measure your widget. Understanding how the technology works is a pre-requisite for learning how to analyze it. So how does this “wrapping your widget” thing work? Disclaimer – this is the laywomen’s definition, not a technical one 😉

A widget creator can take any piece of content and drop it into the Clearspring flash container through a multi-step process in our UI. The output of “wrapping your widget” is some embed code that you can place on your seed placement (see definitions below). The container allows for tracking of the widget (widget analytics) and the ability for visitors who view the widget to share or grab it for their own site. When a visitor clicks on “Grab It” or “Share It”, or whatever link or name you want to use as as widget creator, a service menu is invoked. The menu provides the capability to push or grab the content in the following ways:

  1. Push the widget to your favorite social network such as MySpace, Facebook and others
  2. Grab the embed code.
  3. Email a link to the widget
  4. Send a text message with a link to the a WAP hosted version of the widget

Warning – new definitions needed here for you web analysts.

Placement: A unique ID assigned to an instance of a widget on a particular page.

Seed Placement: A placement where a widget creator places their widget for others to view and grab.

Non-Seed Placement: A placement that has been generated from someone “grabbing” the widget.

More on Placements in my next post. Off to lunch here at E-Metrics!

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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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