In social media, people use widgets to enhance their personal pages and add them to blogs, profiles and community pages.
Because the functionality and design are completely controlled by their owners, widgets can be branded and contain embedded links that click through to specific web pages. And being free of charge, easily installed by pasting a few lines of code into a page, and lightweight, widgets offer an opportunity for brands to create something that can be shared.
Branded widgets should reflect the business that built them. The Expedia widget, for example, acts as a search tool that will take users to holiday and hotel offers on the main Expedia website. The Apple widget displays product reviews and downloads.
By developing a useful, engaging widget you create a mechanism for your audience to promote your business at a relatively low cost. Potentially a widget could spread virally across the web, being passed from user to user, and the more websites your widget is on the more people are seeing your brand without ever visiting your own site.