Gigya Launches Widget Ad Network

Having advertising widgets shared and spread like wildfire from user to user who want to show off fun applications on a Web page can be an advertiser’s dream come true. Problem is, it can be difficult to get a widget into a consumers hands in the first place. Now Gigya has launched a widget advertising and distribution network to seed and get wider distribution of advertising widgets.

As a provider of tools for tracking and boosting widget distribution, Gigya has been offering free widget installation software, called Wildfire, to publishers since April 2007, and is now looking to capitalize on that install base with its ad network. Similar to image based ad networks, Gigya’s tool allows advertisers to place their widgets in the network for distribution among publisher sites that offer widgets. Kimberly-Clark, Jive Records, and 360i are the network’s initial advertisers.

Although widgets are intended to be shared between consumers who might place them on their Web sites or social networking pages, most ad widgets need additional help to get wider distribution.

“It’s a bit of myth that widgets are inherently viral. What we offer is an incremental way of seeding a viral campaign,” said Liza Hausman, Gigya’s marketing VP. “Only a small handful of these things are so compelling that everybody shares them with their entire networks.”

When a consumer clicks on a widget they find on publisher sites within Gigya’s network, including sites Imagechef.com and Webshots.com, the Gigya Wildfire system installs the program, and then asks the user if they’d like an additional widget from a network advertiser. Similar to pay-per-click image-based ad networks, the Gigya widget network charges advertisers for each widget installed. Both the means of approaching consumers and the pay-per-install arrangement appealed to David Bell, director, digital marketing for Jive Records, a division of Sony BMG, which ran a test on the network with a widget featuring video and music from Britney Spears and found it generated an extra million impressions, he said.

Bell believes there’s value in those additional insertions, even though media buyers don’t pay for them. “If someone doesn’t [install] at least you’re getting that impression,” he said.

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