I recently interviewed Jeremy Lockhorn, Director of Emerging Media and Video Innovation Avenue A | Razorfish, right after his speaking session at the adtech Chicago conference, Widgets and Applications – The New Media Network. Jeremy explains how video widgets are being used in business applications, and tips for companies looking to get involved in either developing or marketing video widgets.
Widgets are the new kid on the block in terms of New Media, but they have already become incredibly pervasive in the social media market, and arguments are now being made about their SEO potential.
So what exactly is a widget? Jeremy explains that a widget is a tiny piece of code that you can embed on an individual website, a social networking profile (like a MySpace page or Facebook profile), or a mobile app (just to name a few common applications) that can capture some kind of functionality. "Its kind of a micro-website embedded into a tiny square," he says.
Some examples of video in widgets:
- Weather updates
- A trailer for a new movie
- A music video playlist
- Sports highlights
- News alerts
- And yes, even icons of search results from a video sharing site or other search engine
Nearly all widgets for the web are also free to use and distribute on your own – a big bonus for the consumer and a great means of a company's widget going viral.
Misconceptions businesses have about widgets:
Because widgets are relatively new, there are a lot of the same misconceptions businesses have about widgets that they'll have with other types of social media marketing.
"I think the biggest one is thinking that you can just put up a widget on Facebook or MySpace and it will just have a life of its own and really take off." says Jeremy. "It's the same kind of misconceptions with what you see with viral marketing – the misconception that "if its great, I must not need to do any media support behind it." What we do to counter that is encourage people to think about a widget campaign, or any kind of social media campaign, as diligently as anything else, and do as much planning behind it as they would for any other kind of media campaign. So investing in media to promote that widget is just as important as anything else you do from a marketing perspective."
Video widgets and business strategies
So how are widgets being used in business apps that Razorfish Avenue A is already doing? Jeremy explains there's two models. One, they partner with companies that are already producing popular widgets, and work with them to embed advertising inside those widgets. "So we're tapping into an existing fan base and associating ourselves with those brands and those widgets." says Jeremy.
The other is creating their own widgets for our own clients. "So if the client has a valuable site piece or site functionality they want to get in front of an audience, they can create their own widget with us and distribute that via the same mechanisms, basically."
Jeremy offers the following tips for a company looking to get involved in widgets, including the video widget space:
- Think about it from the perspective of the consumer. Widgets and social media are about having a dialog. Its much more of a 'pull' rather than a 'push' type of marketing. Hear what the consumer is already talking about your brand or your product category, and create a unique piece of value that your brand can authentically say or associate itself with.
- Find a good distribution network to tap into, like a Facebook or a MySpace, or another social network site suited for widgets.
Tip for creating a Video search Widgets
The main goal for widgets, so far, is its viral effect in increasing traffic. But with social media sites like Facebook allowing spiders to their member profile pages and the increase use of widgets on social networks, widgets can provide an excellent opportunity for link building (one example featuring multiple links in a widget which is covering in this post.) While icons of video clips itself are not something that has ever been proven to have any affect on search engine rankings (hello, ?), a widget with text links next to the results can be a new way of pulling people to your site with outside content.