Widget Strategies & Social Platforms

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Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester Research), Hooman Radfar (Clearspring Technologies, Inc.), Walker Fenton (NewsGator), Pam Webber (Widgetbox), Ben Pashman (Gigya) discussed widgets strategies.

Jeremiah walked through the challenges facing developers as it relates to monetizing apps and walked the panel through how they view these challenges.

One word description of the business models of the panelists:

Forrestor – library, Clearspring – connector, newsGator -Kitchen, Widgetbox – Color Me Mine, Gigya – Spine for Social Media

Measurements and ROI

Not well developed today. How do we measure in a distributed world? Technically we can collect the data, but real communication gap in connecting web data and ROI. Do we get sales bump? Can we measure that like we can with coupons? Need to start with monetization strategy to decide how to measure so that we can structure data collection and measurement correctly.

Brand protection
How can we make sure Pepsi ad does not put next to Coke ad? You can’t. Consumers own the brands and they decide what’s relevant. Give consumers tools to market and evangelize on your behalf.

Distribution
How do we get widget distribution? Well known brands will get picked up, but problem for the remaining 99.9%. One option is to put the widget into ad units, but that might not have contextual relevancy. Getting close to the community may be the best option.

Monetization
How to make money? Everything that’s new, is not so new. There’s the social apps that are view/impression based. Starts with CPI (cost per install) basis. From a publisher prospective, extension of your content. This gets into revenue sharing deals that need to be worked out. The challenge is to get both parties to agree on the split. For advertisers, they want distribution they can pay.

We will learn a lot from the entrepreneurs out there about how to monetize.

Widget Strategy
How do we build a widget strategy? Need to understand full scope of process. need to define end to end success: conceptualization up front, distribution, measuring success on the back end. Start with objectives, for example, awareness=distribution, insight=installations. Take the top one or two things they come to you for and let them take it away with them. If its search, let them take your search with them. Really identify with your audience. Respect them. If it’s not popular on your site, it won’t be popular as a widget. Think of a widget as an extension of your website. Link it to your web monetization strategy.

Mistakes
What are the biggest misconceptions? Assuming it will be viral. eBay created a Facebook widget that doesn’t get used as compared to a third party widget that gets used on websites. The eBay widget doesn’t get used because Facebook is not about shopping, but the website widget gets used because it can be used to drive traffic to auctions.

Confusing information like a news feed with being social. To be social, it needs to be interactive, engaging and make my day. Really social apps that deliver value get lots of clicks.

Questions:
Can revenue be derived from utility as opposed to advertising? Look at Widgetbox – they make money. Lead gen applications like credit apps can be very profitable.

How do you work with a client to budget for widgets and media distribution? Costs can be anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000 for development. For distribution, look at online marketing campaign for examples.

[tags]gspwest08, graphing social, widgets[/tags]

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