WidgetBucks Debuts Interactive Local, Travel Ad Widgets

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topofworld.jpgADOTAS – Ad platform WidgetBucks is expanding its empire: no longer content to remain in the shopping vertical alone, the company is diving into the local and travel verticals.

“Shopping was in our DNA so that was a natural first step,” Kirby Winfield, chief revenue officer of WidgetBucks, told ADOTAS. “We launched last October and we’re already seeing 1 billion impressions a month with our shopping widgets. We knew it was time to expand our offerings.”

The new local and travel ad widgets are the first to offer real-time, interactive content that engages special-interest consumers in the Long Tail, the company said.

The specifics:
• Local ad widgets are targeted to the specific geographic location of the consumer. Local widgets offer a rare combination of highly-relevant, real-time local content, such as weather and gas prices, and performance-based offers, such as local businesses and services.
• Travel ad widgets offer dynamic, multi-destination deals based on origin, destination and themed-travel, such as skiing and snowboarding destinations. These travel ads enable consumers to receive real-time pricing and deal alerts within the actual application.

The new products offer graphical, interactive capabilities that allow consumers to get engaged with ads in a new way.

And despite the chaos on Wall Street, WidgetBucks predicts that Q4 will be a good one for the company.

“If you look at the micro-indicators, it looks like we’re headed for a rally,” said Winfield. “Earlier this year, we were seeing drops in fill rates on display, but they’re picking up again. Retailers are pushing their chips in Q4 because they’re realizing that sitting on the sidelines isn’t helping anyone.”

In fact, one of the biggest challenges WidgetBucks faces helping advertisers break away from their fear of user-generated content.

“It’s been a slow and steady shift,” said Gary Kamikawa, vice president of interactive marketing for WidgetBucks, and its parent company, mpire. “Advertisers are starting to realize there’s UGC everywhere, even on mainstream newspaper sites – and that we can guarantee that their ads will end up next to appropriate, relevant content.”

The company isn’t stopping with the local and travel verticals either.

“Within 60 to 90 days we’ll most likely be rolling out fresh verticals for advertisers,” Winfield said. “We’re also focusing on giving the industry a way to measure performance accurately. We’re taking cues from the online video people – advertisers need more than impressions and click-throughs, they need to know how long people are staying with the ad and how they’re interacting with it.”

WidgetBucks is ranked No. 2 among niche ad networks and No. 32 among top ad networks (comScore Ad Network report, August 2008). The fastest growing ad network today, WidgetBucks is used by thousands of publishers and brand marketers, and seen by more than 100 million unique viewers each month worldwide.

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