Commentary

Widget Me That!

Congratulations again widget! In merely a matter of months you went from a buzzword towards a tipping point, if not there already. It's time to do it right this time around.

As I wrote last month in "Widget Me This: A Buzzword in Perspective", widgets may be a major buzzword in the current digital marketing lexicon, however the term achieved that status based on merit.

The Web experience is evolving as we enter a more interoperable and platform-agnostic era. Content and experiences becoming portable databased assets with easy connections to any platform or channel will create another major shift in media consumption, and with it will come a world of new marketing and advertising opportunities.

Amazon last week announced its official entry into widget-world. Of course, Amazon has offered API's to developers for several years now, but never had offered widgets in such a manner. I think the angle is pretty slick. The original king of the affiliate program, rolled out these widgets for its affiliates.

Some of the widgets are quite clever ways of extending Amazon's product catalog and opportunity for relevant placement. An example of one of the more clever ideas is the Slide-show Widget, which "Makes elegant slide-show widgets out of images chosen from products across the entire Amazon catalog -- CD cover art, DVD's, books, anything!"

They also have rolled out widgets that add contextual links inside blog or site content. As a major player in the ecommerce world, Amazon will most likely incite a bandwagon of commerce related widgets to follow...and a bandwagon is not necessarily a bad thing when it progresses the market.

Like I've mentioned before, buzzwords are like folklore, they almost always have some firm root in reality. The trend of increasing demand for and supply of content and utility across digital boundaries, so to speak, is driving a lot of innovation and providing consumers with better experiences and features than ever before. Welcome to the brave new web.

Go Go Google Gadget

Another big announcement last week -- Google Gadgets are officially being integrated into the Ad Words program, which now combines the power and breadth of their massive market place of publishers and consumers, with an incredibly engaging and flexible means of reaching targeted audiences with relevant communication and commerce experiences.

Previous forays into graphical ads were not as successful, this may fuel some change in that regard.

The concept of digital media mobility, which I rant about regularly, is approaching a tipping point, or maybe we're there already. The ability to provide consumers with the experiences they want, and some they didn't realize they wanted, on-demand, anywhere, on any platform, is going to spawn another spurt of growth for digital media and marketing consumption in the near future. I'm psyched! This is great news!

In the spirit of Facebook opening up their back end to developers earlier this year, and Yahoo recently following suit, Google (in pure Google fashion) is one-upping the rest of the industry by going one step further and actually providing funding to start ups to help develop revenue-generating widgets for the Gadgets product.

Plenty of VC's are also eyeing this space and betting on the future being an interoperable one. Investments in Web 2.0 and widget development projects seem to be at a crescendo.

The interesting part for me personally, is how excited about these developments I am as a consumer, as well as a marketing strategist. Usually the scale tips in one direction or another. The "open source ecosystem" we are evolving towards is ripe for innovation and growth, and the future's bright for both consumers and marketers alike.

Let the next marketing renaissance begin.