Watch out for those data-collecting “brand builder” widgets!

excerpt from Technewsworld: “…pairing widgets with behavioral analytics creates a sea change in the iterative marketing process. Emerging sophisticated analytics tools for widgets and social applications now give marketers unprecedented capabilities to reach out and track engagement within the consumer social networking environment. As a result, widgets and social applications may well become the most powerful brand builder of all for online marketers.

While most widget platforms that target the professional market provide analytics, some go a step further by giving marketers access to detailed interaction metrics, including time spent with the widget, number of viewings at the component level, rollovers, clickthroughs, pass-alongs, postings, and mass distribution. Brand awareness and recall, difficult to measure in traditional advertising without focus groups and surveys, can be measured at a granular level by analyzing widget engagement levels…By tracking posting, sharing, and viral hotspots, widget analytics provide specific metrics regarding a consumer’s actual and potential influence and his value on the engagement ladder…

With advanced widget analytics, marketers can identify, profile and reach out to opinion leaders within social networking communities. These influencers might be missed when tracking purchase history or Web site page views, because they may not be frequent or large dollar value purchasers. Instead, these opinion leaders influence their network of family, friends and associates by passing along content, posting it to their blogs or profile pages, or reviewing and rating it.”