Bebo, the most popular social networking site in the U.K., is introducing a series of branded widgets that can be placed on user profiles, hopefully adding a bit of relevancy to the social network advertising experience. Currently, they offer widget slideshows from Rockyou.com, Photobucket.com and Slide.com, but in 2007 the site is going to be rolling out branded interactive games and other entertaining pieces of content for users to choose to place on their profile. From AdWeek.com:
â€œThe ad widgets are part of what Bebo vp of sales and business development Jim Scheinman calls â€˜engagement marketing,â€™ designed to combine web ads with user-directed viral marketing. Visitors to a profile with a widget for their own page can add it with a couple clicks.Â
â€˜If itâ€™s great content, itâ€™s going to engage the user so much more,â€™ he said. â€˜To the Beboer, they donâ€™t look at it like advertising but great content.â€™Â
I love this idea. Around the lab, we talk a lot about making content relevant to consumers, and this is a nice way to go about it. Instead of forcing a user to have advertisements that might not necessarily be relevant to them and their own peer group (or cluster, if you want to talk network theory), they can now choose something that actually adds value to their page. Beautiful.