Friday, February 1

Expandable widgets anyone?

The widget’s fifteen megabytes of fame has arrived. The number of widget sales people roaming the country multiplies every three hours. They’ll create widgets for your site, branded widgets for social networks, or let you advertise in their widgets. Which forces the next Web 2.0 dilemma – is a widget a creative execution or a media channel? A little bit of both, unfortunately, which isn’t going to help you explain it to your CMO anytime soon.

We've been meeting with a variety of widget reps, who tend to get younger and less sales-savvy in every meeting (another side affect of Dotcom 2.0). It's like the old days of rich media vendors, before half of them got consolidated and the other half went out of business. I expect the same to occur by the end of this year.

I also forecast a whole new range of measurement criteria and acronyms. Let’s migrate away from clickthrough rates (CTR) to Grab It Rates (GIR) –- the percentage of people who “grabbed” your widget and installed it on their MySpace page. And once we get involved in branded content within widgets, such as Facebook’s “poking” phenomenon, then we need the going rate for CPP (cost per poke) instead of CPM.

My fear is that we fall into the same trap as microsites, forcing the “if I build it, will they come?” scenario. Marketers will create tons of branded widget and then expect consumers to somehow find them, like them, and install them. And if you thought getting someone to spend more than thirty seconds on your Flash site was tough. Expect to see a wave of banner ads driving traffic to widget installer pages.

What’s your CTR/GIR X CPP benchmark goal?

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