The Wall Street Journal has a story about the attractiveness of widgets as a vehicle to reach younger demographics. To understand better what’s a widget, see my “What’s a Blog Widget” post from last January.
A study of attitudes about online advertising shows that, not surprisingly, preteens and teenagers don’t like banner ads and other interruptions from marketers. But the study found that in the right circumstances kids enjoy playing with ad-related features on their personal pages in social-networking Web sites. (…)
In particular, the study’s findings may boost advertisers’ use of “widgets,” which are small, easily downloaded computer programs that allow Web pages to be more sophisticated and interactive, with, say, animated graphics, videos, photo sharing, music or live chats. Media companies are rapidly recognizing the value of offering widgets to young people to make their content available online. And advertisers are starting to sponsor widget-based content as a way of spreading their marketing message or luring people to their Web sites.
According to a survey mentioned in the article, pre-teens, teenagers and parents don’t want to see ads in their profiles. They see their profile page as their own and do not appreciate the intrusion. But they will put branded content if they receive an incentive (coupon, giveaway, useful feature). “The study found that 20% of teens added content from a marketer onto their personal Web sites in the last month.”
What it means: widgets are just one of the ways you can distribute your content. Make sure they’re part of your distribution strategy but build-in an incentive as it’s as easy to remove them as it is to install them.