They are everywhere. They are on the sides of the website you just looked at. They are there, smiling as you reading your e-mails. They creep out at all hours of the night and are infesting the World Wide Web. The only way to get rid of them . . . is to turn off your computer and hide under your bed with a cross and garlic. They are not hiding in your closet, they are hiding in your cable or DSL connection . . . they are Widgets.
Widgets are small online tools that function like mini-sites. They are interactive ads that can be posted on pages that don’t even require click-throughs. According to this New York Times article “Google Program Enlists Mini-Sites as Selling Tools for Advertisers” 48% of Internet users in America use widgets.
The majority of my fellow classmates use them, quite possibly without even realizing it. When you log onto Facebook and add that Top Friends or iLike application, you are using a widget. When you get on AOL instant messenger (AIM) and a music video starts playing at the top of your buddy list, you are viewing a widget.
Companies like Honda and Siera Mist have their own widgets to provide content or tools to potential customers. Recently Google has developed a new interaction measure to document the interest in the ads. Here’s a little snip of the article previously mentioned:
“Google tested its Gadget Ads program this summer with a group of 50 marketers. To encourage more advertisers to make such ads, Google is offering to be host of videos for the ads in YouTube’s servers — a cost-saving for advertising agencies. And Google provides tools for updating the ads, even if marketers do not bid for ads in Google’s network. Marketers pay Google only for the ads that run in its networks and not for any downloading or saving of those ads that consumers may choose to do.”
Widgets are extremely beneficial for ad agencies because they are easy to create and cut marketing expenses. A benefit could be, “Instead of paying news sites to run videos from a movie’s premiere, for example, studios can make it easy for consumers to post the movie videos on their own sites or social network profiles, providing free advertising.”
Widgets are a marketers dream, allowing the customer to decide how long with want them to live.