Friday, 7 September 2007

Widgets as a marketing tool

A recent article in AdWeek examines how the use of 'widgets' - small online programmes that users can download to provide content or tools - are becoming a powerful new tool for marketers, particularly on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

The story reports that some advertisers are now viewing widgets as a potential replacement to banner advertising as they can blend brand awareness with a useful application that users will keep. They can also be used to drive traffic to an advertisers website or increase the number of inbound links.

A case study of STA Travel is included, looking at the ways they have used widgets to target student travellers, providing them with downloadable tools for their social network pages, such as a travel countdown clock, a 'to-do' list, destination weather and special travel deals.

The article also reports on the comScore widget tracking service that was launched in April and indicates that the number of people who view widgets has grown from 177.8 million to 239.3 million in June - a 35% increase. Although ComScore doesn't currently keep figures on the number of people who download widgets, they may introduce such a service in the future.

The challenge for advertisers is to now develop the use of widgets to their potential target market, looking at innovative applications and developing the technology and awareness to spread the usage of such tools.

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