The Wonderful World Of Widgets

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Yesterday I attended the IAB Canada – Interactive Advertising Bureau – annual Interactive To The Max full-day event. In fact, because IAB Canada is celebrating their tenth year anniversary, this is the special "Genius Edition" of Interactive To The Max. First snow storm of the year notwithstanding, there we close to two hundred Marketing professionals who braved the Montreal white stuff to hang out. I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel called, Widgets And Mashups – Tools For Branding And Beyond. There were three panelists (Carrie Lysenko from The Weather Network, Chantal Rossi from Google Canada and Jerome Carron from Sympatico / MSN) who each presented for ten minutes, and then we had a great question and answer period for about twenty minutes.

Widgets are very hot right now.

In fact, I’ll be moderating the exact same panel in Toronto tomorrow for Interactive To The Max.

One of the big questions I had for the panel was about the "fear of the download." Between cookies, spam, viruses, spyware, phishing and people’s general distrust of downloading anything, I was quite surprised to see how many people in the audience (and on the panel) did not see the download issue as an issue at all. In looking at some of the global Widget stats, I’m guessing my fear that people don’t download anything and prefer web-based Widgets is wrong.

I also engaged the panel in discussing the low hanging fruit of creating widgets. Is there an easy angle to Widget success for Marketers?

While the answers were all about keeping it simple, providing value and making it easy for the consumers to grab and use, I actually found an article from MediaPost called, How Widgets Turn Distributed Content Into Distributed Marketing, that arrived in my In Box this morning (it must be the law of attraction at work).

The article (written by Chris Cunningham) includes his Seven Rules For Widget Publishing Success. Here they are :

Rule 1: Simple is the new Clever.

Rule 2: Bring the Bling.

Rule 3: Speak Dog.

Rule 4: Do What You Do Best.

Rule 5: Color Outside the Lines.

Rule 6: Be Contagious.

Rule 7: Be Useful.

Some of these are a little cryptic and require you to check out the full article here: Media Post – How Widgets Turn Distributed Content Into Distributed Marketing.

UPDATE: The crazy winter storm kept me from coming to Toronto. I’ll be (sadly) missing IAB Canada’s Interactive To The Max – Toronto.


  1. Hi Mitch,
    I was at the talk that you moderated about widgets that you mention here and at the meeting, I asked the question ‘How do we as advertisers measure the success of widgets in terms of brand metrics.’
    I didn’t feel that the panelists really answered the question but rather talked about increase in interactions, increase in traffic to websites , increase in time spent as key measures. In my opinion, these are all important and could be considered as basic indicators of increase in consumer engagement, but isn’t the only true way to measure brand metrics via an iTES eg pre and after online survey that measures any lift in brand metrics?
    What’s your POV on this ? I would love to see an ITES done on 1. branded widgets only vs. 2. Branded in-banner videos, and also vs. 3. A campaign that uses a combination of branded widgets and branded in-banner videos.

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