Widgets — a primer

2 min read

Marketing Strategy

Today we continue our primer series with an excerpt from the IAB’s User Generated Content, Social Media, and Advertising – An Overview.

Widgets, portable applications that allow both users and sites to have a hand in the content, have recently become a popular form of brand or news distribution. The publisher is able to control the content and the user is afforded the luxury of placing that content on his or her page, be it a blog or social networking profile. Users can also simply pass the widget on to friends.

Publishers have started to recognize the value of this new type of content syndication. Widget distribution platforms, such as Clearspring, provide the publisher with the infrastructure and distribution channels in the form of a plug-and-play system, rendering lengthy contracts and syndication partner deals unnecessary.

A publisher who has created a widget can upload the widget onto Clearspring and elect to which sites and formats (e-mail, social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace) they wish to make the widget available.

The platform then manages code conversion and listing the widget in application directories. Just as the widget and content is portable, so too is the advertising on the widgets. Generally, a publisher can elect to pay a usage fee to the platform distributor and sell the advertising or they can elect to have the platform distributor sell the advertising for a revenue share. Alternative to advertising in and around widgets embodying content, widgets can be the advertising message itself.