'Facebook Effect' Boosts Site Traffic
The Internet audience measurement company has dubbed it "The Facebook Effect," but the trend highlights one of the myriad benefits marketers can gain from playing with widgets--namely, extra site traffic.
For example, Slide, a media-based social network, created a widget that let Facebook members trade photo slideshows with their friends. Just six weeks after launching the application on Facebook's platform, daily unique visitors to Slide.com grew from 312,000 to more than 1 million--a whopping 256% increase. Global traffic also surged by more than 200%, with daily uniques growing from 753,000 to more than 2 million.
Both Quantcast and Nielsen have launched widget-tracking services, as advertisers increasingly create these portable applications to foster user interaction with their brands.
Facebook now lets developers nab consumers with widgets without taking a cut of any profits--but industry-wide, solutions for quantifying the benefits of hosted applications are still being tested.
"Widgets are a great way to increase exposure, but there's no such thing as a free lunch," said Konrad Feldman, co-founder and CEO, Quantcast. "There are revenue-sharing models emerging that take care of the widget creators, the application hosts, and even the content publishers. Ultimately, the economic balance will be worked out."
Another social media site, HOTorNOT, saw a 98% increase in U.S. traffic as a result of launching an attractiveness-rating rating widget on Facebook--growing from just over 180,000 unique visitors to more than 350,000 daily. James Hong, HOTorNOT's co-founder, has said, "we are thrilled [that Facebook's open platform] is helping us introduce our Web site to the next generation of Internet users." But a key question that remains is one of who and how much publishers like Hong are willing to pay for that increased site traffic.