Friday, May 9, 2008

First, Widget Ads Then a Widget Ad Calculator

Metrics for social media are one of the vexing issues in the space. Marketing services firms of all kinds continue to develop solutions, though they can hardly be described as “integrated” at this point. DoubleClick, acquired by Google in March, describes itself as not just an ad serving network but as a provider of digital marketing technology and services. It has just added a Widget Calculator to its product line. That’s nice, but first you have to understand Widget Ads.

According to DoubleClick the widget ad format allows advertisers to convert “Rich Media creative into a widget that can be shared virally across social networks and blogs.” They tout the benefits as:
•Integrates a viral component into any campaign
•Gives you reporting and control over viral campaigns
•Makes the creative implementation as easy as building a rich media ad.

If you go to their gallery page and play the 10,000 BC ad, you’ll see it behaving just like any rich media ad. Looking at this screen shot you can see the Downloads bar; click on that and you’ll be able to download the image as wallpaper or 1 or all of a set of “buddy icons” as gifs—to do with as you please, presumably. There’s a set of photos you can view. When you decide to “Grab This” you get the code that allows you to embed the 10,000 BC ad widget on any one of a number of your pages. Cool, huh? More importantly, that’s what makes it viral. Functionality has been added to a basic ad, violá a widget!

So, how is your widget performing? That’s where the widget calculator comes in. Shown here in action, it allows users to view the performance of a specific widget. Note that the calculator is also viral, “Share This Widget.” My guess is that if a marketer has several widgets, the first sharing will be with herself.
And that brings us back to “integrated.” If you have a bunch of widgets active, you’re going to have to have a bunch of widget calculators. That’s the state of the art at the moment. But I’m sure technology will catch up with usage. Is the next step a widget dashboard?
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