The Widget Widget Web: How can advertisers/marketers/brands use widgets?


As you would know from my previous posts, I am a fan of Widgets and I believe in the potential of Widgets (both web and mobile) to transform the web experience as we know it.

When I spoke at Ajaxworld , Adam Sah of Google gave a fascinating presentation about Widgets(which Google calls gadgets).

In that presentation (or I think in the Q/A after words), someone asked about the commercial/marketing potential of widgets.

As you can imagine this is a fascinating subject.

Since then, I have been out to find any instances where widgets were actually being used for advertising/marketing

One such example is the freewebs community(by co incidence – Zeki Mokhtarzada, Freewebs Co-Founder and CTO was also a speaker at Ajax world but I missed his talk because I was jet lagged :( – but I first heard about freewebs at Ajaxworld)

With 11 million web sites and an Alexa rating of 345, freewebs is one of the top 150 trafficked site in the world according to comscore

But my interest lies in: How can advertisers/marketers/brands on a community use widgets for marketing?

Freewebs tried this out with Sony to promote the film Zathura

Consider the options for an advertiser like Sony for a film like Zathura

The traditional option is ‘banner ads’ for a site like free webs.

But can more be done by Widgets?

Lets face it, no one like banner ads(my ad blocker kills them all!) ..

But widgets enable Sony to provide an application(which is essentially a game, content etc etc) related to the movie and more importantly allow users to interact with it.

For the 11 million web site owners of freewebs, the widget was ‘digital candy’ – something to embed within their web site.

Indeed 11,000 web sites took this up within six weeks(note unlike banner ads, widgets are not intrusive. The website creator has to ‘choose’ the widget in his site.) The widgets had been viewed 600,000 times and crucially, there are still over 15,000 widgets embedded on the site and still delivering content long AFTER the original movie has gone!

This is powerful stuff!

Thanks to Zeki Mokhtarzada, and Shervin Pishevar for their help with this blog

If you have any other instances of widgets being used for marketing, I am happy to include them!


  1. javaliker says:

    our web site plan to web widgets ,such as msn widgets,IM widgets,rss widgets ,weather widgets, calander widgets ,I hope you can help us !