Widget advert networks coming of age; good or bad?

December 10, 2007

So, after attending a widgets conference I’m now gripped by all things widgety and waiting to see the latest developments in this area of the web marketplace. I didn’t have long to wait…

Clearspring have just announced the launch of a widget ad network called (wait for it) WidgetAd Network. They’ve been serving adverts as widgets for a while but are now offering a network to widen the distribution possibilities.

It’s the next in a line of widget ad announcements. Advertising.com launched WIDGNET as a network to serve widget ads last week.

My concern would be if widgets end up being seen as the new MPU. They have so much more potential than that, I’ve got a list of applications I want to embed in a widget for my employers benefit, and all will show a decent ROI. Brands need to think differently.

A widget is not just a display point (like a traditional banner)! It is an interaction point, an engagement point, an application container and a way to automagically seed your websites functionality onto other websites quickly and easily. And all this is down to the user to say, yes please I’d like to grab your widget and embed it in my page/site. It’s direct response with user permissions thrown in for good measure, you can’t get much better than that.

So please, don’t just embed a flash banner in a widget and think that you can get away with it. You could seriously damage the potential of widgets and give users the wrong impression.

Keep them smart, keep them engaging, keep them useful and you’ll see real ROI and drive the kind of brand loyalty and qualified visitors that we are all looking for from these networks.

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