Making Fast Money with Widgets

For any of you who have heard me rant about widgets lately, you should know that I found some personal vindication tonight watching CNBC’s Fast Money when this little gem came on…

By the way, the show has plenty of web-extra video, including longer form clips of nearly every segment of that day’s show in their Rapid Recap.

Here’s a look at the widget for yourselves.

But for all of us in the industry, what is so tough to comprehend about widgets? Ok, you want a portable rich media unit that plays video and drives traffic back to your main site to sign up for newsletters or podcasts. And you want to measure total embeds, total minutes of video delivered across each distribution platform, sign-ups for the newsletters and downloads of podcasts. You’d like to look look at the average abandonment point where people are dropping off so you can trim the video segments to deliver an optimized user experience.

Which one of those are you going to call your primary success metric, secondary success metrics, and did you achieve them or not? At end end of the day, is the total number of minutes of video content of the “Fast Money” show viewed, aggregated across all of the platforms, the most important measure? If, after a week, there is a drop off of in watching video through the widget, is it a failure?

With all of these moving parts – which differ for each vertical category of advertisers and niche content – why are people looking for ‘one’ metric – engagement – to replace the universal CTR? I’m not suggesting that CTR should stick around, but we need to accept the fact that online media has gotten a lot more complicated than it ever has been, and we should treat it and talk about it as such. But I digress….

Nice job CNBC. Clean, functional widget that meets your goals. Too bad that co-host Jeff Macke called it a virus, and regular contributor Tim Seymour explained why it shouldn’t be called a widget to begin with. (Tim – I’m with you, buddy!) But I hope you factor that into account when you measure total downloads and evaluate the results.