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Growth of widgets driven by viral and social channels

Growth of widgets driven by viral and social channels

Companies wanting to get their widgets into the hands of consumers build must viral and social channels into the distribution plans.

A new report from Jupiter Research, ‘Widgets: Delivering Applications Users Want’, outlines that online users are more likely to get widgets from friends than from the companies that created them.

In fact, online users between the ages of 18-24 are six times more likely to obtain widgets from friends than from a company.

The increasing use of widgets is tied to the rising popularity of social networking sites.

Widgets are not a new idea and similar functionality has been available on personalised portal pages for years. But the rise of social networks has introduced an entirely new group of consumers to the idea of dressing up their Web pages with small, useful programmes.

Adoption of widgets has grown rapidly in 2007. Some 39 percent of online users are familiar with widgets, and 26 percent have used them.

The most popular widgets are those that enable the user to play video, music, or view photo slide shows, although widgets offering news, weather, or other information are also utilized and most commonly distributed through social networking sites.

JupiterResearch Media Analyst and lead author of the report, Barry Parr, said, "Social networking sites have greatly contributed to the viral spread of widgets.

"Facebook increased the viral ante by giving widget authors programming access to its user database and notifying users when a friend added a new widget."

President of JupiterResearch, David Schatsky, added, "Media companies, including news organisations, should experiment with widgets to cement their relationship with audiences.

“The evolution of widgets is in an early stage, though, so companies should keep development costs low and anticipate experimentation and frequent changes in what widgets look like and how they're delivered."

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