So What’s New?

Widgets? Yes or No?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on December 10, 2008
Tags: , , ,

picture-7Widgets can be fun and cool. I must admit that when I bought my new Mac a few years ago and it came with a “dashboard” full of widgets I thought they were fun and I do believe they have their place for some companies. For example, EBAY has a widget that track auctions you are watching. I personally use the weather bug, a lava lamp, and a cheap gas locator. However, There are thousands and thousands of widgets online now and the odds of your company’s widget standing out among the crow is small. By using widgets, you have to give up knowing what the ROI on your investment is as you cannot track who has your widget and how many people it has been passed on to. You have no control over who gets your widget, it is left to other customers who send it on themselves to their friends. (Havenstein, 2008)

Widgets are commonly used on social networks like Facebook. Ben Kunz suggests in his article, “Why Widgets Don’t Work”, that people that use interactive communications have three modes: receiving, hunting, and doing. While people are on Facebook they are doing and are not hunting for new products so they will be difficult to reach. Kuntz suggests using widgets only if they reach hunters, hit the right target, is useful to your customer, and can be launched even if it doesn’t go viral. (Kunz, 2008) Widgets can be fun and useful but only as an extension of an overall interactive marketing plan.

Paul Sacco, senior manager for online development and strategy at Southwest said that they hit 2 million downloads within the first year of their fare alert widget “Ding”. In third quarter of 2008, they had 10 million. Bob Garfield writes that “Branded widges are the refridgerator magnet of the Brave New World”. I would have to agree. I had never really thought of them that way. I love the way Macs can hide there’s on the Dashboard so they don’t get in the way.

Garfield goes on to write that widgets are powerful because your consuemrs actually look for them, download them, use them, and pass them along to their friends. However, widgets are only as good as the novelty, once the fun and thrill is gone they are forgotten. Widgets are cost effective too since they cost very little to produce, however their reach can be small. A lot of bang for your buck though.

Some problems with widgets are right now they are not compatible on every platform, so you may need to make a few versions.. They are also hard to track who has them. Another problem is that people only have so much room for so many icons, applications, widgets, and everything on their computer. (Garfield, 2008)

Overall, I think the widget is cool and fun and underutilized. For some companies like Southwest, it’s a gold mind!

For further reading on this topic:

Widgets are Made for Marketing, So Why Aren’t More Advertisers Using Them?

Companies Struggling to Find Widget Advertising Strategy, ROI.

Why Widgets Don’t Work.