Monday, 10 March 2008

How important are widgets?

Business Week recently published two counterpoint articles on the use and value of widgets. The first piece was called Widgets: The Future of Online Ads and describes the ways that widgets are becoming an essential tool for web users to manage the massive amount of information available and for advertisers to make their brands more noticeable. It relates the current trend in widgets to the explosion of TV channels and the methods that viewers now need to use to identify and watch the programmes they want to see.

The second article challenges the first, with the title Why Widgets Don't Work. It argues that the current fad for widgets is over hyped and not the ideal solution for marketers to put their message across due to the different mindsets of user groups. Widgets may not serve a commercial purpose, due to the way that the article points out that 'A Google user is walking into a store. A Facebook user is walking into a bar'. It concludes that 'a clever widget is nothing more than a jukebox in the back of the social throng, a nice diversion, but really not part of the core conversation'.

There are probably elements of truth in both of these views and certainly the use of widgets needs to be creatively focused on a target market to achieve its objectives. They are also still in the development and proving stage at the moment, but potentially can still be used as effective marketing tools, possibly for brand building or for generating website traffic or even user loyalty.


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