Lijit Study Shows Publisher Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80%

Mar
2

Over 15,000 sites on the Internet use Lijit’s advertising services, on-site search tool, and other widgets (analytics widget, recent readers widget, related content widget). Analytics are built into all of our tools but we do not sell the data. Instead, we feed it back to our publishers to help them better understand their audience and monetize their site. We also aggregate the data and use it to optimize CPMs and fill rates for our publishers.

Over the last few weeks we ran a detailed analysis to see what widgets are most often deployed on publisher sites across the Lijit network. We compared 2009 and 2010 data to identify market trends. Outlined below are some of the most interesting takeaways.

Background:

  • 2010: 735,834 sites surveyed, 84.8% with widgets installed (13,541,022 widgets)
  • 2009: 744,848 sites surveyed, 84.7% with widgets installed (13,826,562 widgets)

Key research findings:
The Lijit Top 50
Below is a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites. The adoption of social media widgets – including tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing – grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86%.

Additional analysis revealed the following trends:

  • Many content and engagement tools joined the Lijit Top 50 list for the first time in 2010. These tools include Twitter’s image sharing service, LinkWithin, Wibiya, and Tynt.
  • Related content tools to keep readers on-site longer didn’t make the list of Top 10 tools in 2009 but are now being used by 3.68% of sites surveyed.
  • Online advertising services continue to track at a 20% adoption rate; however, new monetization tools used in affiliate marketing programs such as Skimlinks, Infolinks, and Amazon saw a 16% increase in 2010.
  • Audience analytics tools from Quantcast are becoming much more prevalent. Over 44% of the sites that use analytics use Quantcast to gather reader data, representing a 15% year-over-year growth.
  • Website commenting systems now integrate social media components. Disqus, used on almost 75% of the sites that use a 3rd party comment provider, now supports social media commenting and sharing on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Twitsteps, a Twitter-powered commenting system, now ranks the second most widely used commenting system after growing 356% in 2010.

Referring traffic
Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other); and 3) social media traffic. A deeper look at referring traffic from social media sources verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

Referring traffic to websitesSocial media traffic to websites

For additional insights into our research analysis, please read our press release, “Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.”

Our methodology:
Our definition of “widget” is “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the publisher but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that publishers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.
  • Our crawl is “centered” on sites with the Lijit widget (ad tags, site search and other Lijit widgets). Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls and other linked sites. This may skew the overall results since research originates from sites within the Lijit Network.

Widget Statistics Revival 2.0

Nov
6

Our (my) intention was to produce these reports and blog posts on a semi-frequent basis. It turns out that working in a startup means that your priorities shift quickly. This report sadly became a victim of these shifts, and hasn’t had the attention it deserves. So I am making a concerted effort to publish these more frequently than once every 9 months.

I took some time this go around to clean up our widget classification quality and relevance. As business models change, and web products morph, it can be difficult to accurately classify every service with a widget. If you have have any feedback regarding the way I classify a widget, let me know in the comments. I would also be interested to hear if there are specific widget verticals that we aren’t reporting on that you would like to see.


Overall Popularity

Below are the top 50 widget providers by domain, ordered by the percentage of blogs which contain at least one widget from the provider. Google is the obvious leader here. The top 20 hasn’t changed much in the last 9 months, which shows Google’s strength in the ad and analytics space.

Popularity by Vertical


Below are the rankings of widgets within some of the top verticals. Note that each pie graph represents the percentage widget distribution among all widget objects from the vertical. Different this time around is our inclusion of comments widgets. We previously showed trackbacks here, but I felt that comments and commenting widgets are more relevant in the blog market and have a higher install penetration than they did 9 months ago.

Analytics

Advertising

Comments

Search

Woohoo – Check out Lijit !!!! To be fair, we are number one in the graph now due to the reclassification of the snap.com widget. We previously considered them a search widget, but their primary tool does website previews and doesn’t relate to the search vertical in my opinion.

Video

Our survey is primarily focused on widgets that are permanent fixtures on a blog, not those that are embedded in posts. Our crawler makes a note of widgets found in front-page posts, and these are primarily video widgets.Here is a graph of relative popularity of video widgets in blog posts. You’ll notice there are a lot more video providers in the list. It’s good to see some of the smaller guys grabbing some of the market share.

Methodology

Our definition of “widget” is

any regularly-occurring functionality on a blog powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the blog owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the blogger but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Regularly occurring” excludes widgets embedded in posts, such as YouTube and Dailymotion videos. (We do collect statistics on these, however. The final chart of this post shows the results.) Widgets that occur on all posts, such as the “Digg This” widget, are included.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the blog hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that bloggers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted.

Our crawl is “centered” on blogs with our Lijit widget. Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls. This will give a bias to the overall results.

UPDATE:
Number of blogs examined: 184,431
Blogs with widget of any sort: 146,636
Total number of widget installations found:1,222,155
Survey period: 9/26/2007 – 11/06/2008

Widget Statistics Revival

Feb
15

It has been a really long time since we last updated the widget statistics. Due to popular demand, they are back. Our hope is to be a bit more consistent with our widget stats posts. You may notice some changes since the last post we did on this topic, some subtle, some drastic.

Overall, we see the same general patterns we have seen in the past. The main differences are some of the widget adoption gains for certain services. I have attempted to highlight these below. One other theme appears to be the overall widget adoption numbers. Based on our analysis, these numbers have doubled in certain circumstances. This really highlights the growth in widget popularity amongst our sampled blogs.

Number of blogs examined: 47,378

Blogs with widget of any sort: 37,281

Total number of widget installations found: 1,200,928

Survey period: 9/26/2007 – 2/12/2008

Overall Popularity

Below are the top 50 widget providers, ordered by the percentage of blogs which contain at least one widget from the provider. Once again we see the classic power-curve (aka long tail) shape, with Google the clear leader. There are some movers though. Services such as del.icio.us, twitter, and the ever popular LIJIT , have increased in popularity. There were also significant gains from MyBlogLog and ning .

*Note that “tinyurl.com” is actually a cloaked reference to PayPerPost.com.

Popularity by Vertical

The items to pay attention to here are “social network” and “search” . Both of these categories have edged above “trackbacks” . The largest change evident here is the increase in the popularity of search. Search popularity has gone from 9% to 21% since the last time we reported.

Widget Popularity

Below are the popularity of widgets within the top verticals. Note that each pie graph represents the percentage widget distribution among all widget objects from the vertical. Contrast this with the numbers below each chart which show the percentage widget distribution among all blogs which contain a widget from the vertical. This distinction is important because many blogs will use use multiple widgets of the same type. The degree of overlap can be estimated by how far the percentage totals go over 100%. For example, in Analytics you can see that the percent total comes to 151%, indicating that 51% of Analytics widgets appear with a competitor’s.

Analytics

analytics

Advertising

ads

Search

search

Trackbacks

track

Video

Our survey is focused on widgets that are permanent fixtures on a blog, not those that are embedded in posts. However, our crawler makes a note of widgets found in front-page posts, and these are primarily video widgets.Here is a graph of the relative popularity of video widgets in blog posts.

video

Our definition of “widget” is any regularly-occurring functionality on a blog powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the blog owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the blogger but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Regularly occurring” excludes widgets embedded in posts, such as YouTube and Dailymotion videos. (We do collect statistics on these, however. The final chart of this post shows the results.) Widgets that occur on all posts, such as the “Digg This” widget, are included.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the blog hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that bloggers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.

Our crawl is “centered” on blogs with our Lijit widget. (Or as we call it, the Lijit Wijit). Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls. This may give a bias to the overall results.

Blog Widget Statistics for September 2007

Oct
16

It has been a while since the last widget statistics. But we have good news! Derek and Daniel have now automated the process and we will be running results on a weekly basis. Over time, this will give us a clear picture of the ebb and flow of widget popularity. Let us know if there are other statistics you would like included in these weekly runs.

Number of blogs examined: 48,189
Blogs with widget of any sort: 31,953
Total number of widget installations found: 247,121
Survey period: 9/26/2007 – 10/16/2007

Overall Popularity

Below are the top 50 widget providers, ordered by the percentage of blogs which contain at least one widget from the provider. Once again we see the classic power-curve (aka long tail) shape, with Google the clear leader.

Wijit Stats

*Note that “tinyurl.com” is actually a cloaked reference to PayPerPost.com.

Popularity by Vertical

Below are the popularity of widgets within the top verticals. Note that each pie graph represents the percentage widget distribution among all widget objects from the vertical. Contrast this with the numbers below each chart which show the percentage widget distribution among all blogs which contain a widget from the vertical. This distinction is important because many blogs will use use multiple widgets of the same type. This is especially clear for advertising widgets where 92% of all blogs with ads use at least one AdWords widget, yet the AdWords widget accounts for only 83% of all advertising widgets found. The degree of overlap can be estimated by how far the percentage totals go over 100%. For example, in Analytics you can see that the percent total comes to 147%, indicating that 47% of Analytics widget appear with a competitor’s.

Analytics


Domain % of Blogs
1 google-analytics.com 62.27%
2 sitemeter.com 27.69%
3 statcounter.com 19.70%
4 feedburner.com 16.04%
5 quantserve.com 9.30%
6 hittail.com 2.06%
7 getclicky.com 1.56%
8 reinvigorate.net 1.44%
9 blogflux.com 1.44%
10 performancing.com 1.37%
11 bravenet.com 1.32%
12 103bees.com 1.14%
13 histats.com 1.02%
14 measuremap.com 0.68%
147.03%

Advertising


Domain % of Blogs
1 googlesyndication.com 91.50%
2 blogads.com 9.25%
3 adbrite.com 3.90%
4 doubleclick.net 2.23%
5 fmpub.net 1.81%
6 glam.com 0.74%
109.43

Search


Domain % of Blogs
1 snap.com 0.51
2 lijit.com 0.28
3 google.com/coop 0.08
4 google.com 0.07
5 sphere.com 0.05
6 eurekster.com 0.04
7 blogbar.org 0.04
107.98%

Trackbacks


Domain % of Blogs
1 technorati.com 0.91
2 haloscan.com 0.13
3 wholinked.com 0.03
106.75%

Video

Our survey is focused on widgets that are permanent fixtures on a blog, not those that are embedded in posts. However, our crawler makes a note of widgets found in front-page posts, and these are primarily video widgets. Here is a graph of relative popularity of video widgets in blog posts.

Methodology

Our definition of “widget” is any regularly-occurring functionality on a blog powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the blog owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the blogger but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Regularly occurring” excludes widgets embedded in posts, such as YouTube and Dailymotion videos. (We do collect statistics on these, however. The final chart of this post shows the results.) Widgets that occur on all posts, such as the “Digg This” widget, are included.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the blog hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that bloggers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.

Our crawl is “centered” on blogs with our Lijit widget. (Or as we call it, the Lijit Wijit). Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls. This may give a bias to the overall results.

June Widget Statistics

Jun
19

In April we published the first-ever widget statistics. Comscore recently followed suit and released their own set of widget metrix. There are large differences in what we are attempting to measure. They are looking at unique visitors, here at Lijit we are looking at publisher adoption. They are looking at social networks, we are looking at blogs. They consider only Flash widgets, we also look at JavaScript.

These statistics are based on a crawl of 29,139 blogs during the week of June 5th. Our definition of “widget” is any regularly-occurring functionality on a blog powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the blog owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the blogger but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Regularly occurring” excludes widgets embedded in posts, such as YouTube and Dailymotion videos. (We do collect statistics on these, however. The final chart of this post shows the results.) Widgets that occur on all posts, such as the “Digg this” widget, are included.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets added by the blog hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that bloggers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.

As before, this crawl was “centered” on blogs with our Lijit widget. Or as we call it, the Wijit. Our crawler then expanded outwards by following blogrolls. This may give a bias to the overall results. However comparing these results to our smaller sample set in April, this effect seems to be minimal.

Overall Popularity

Our first graph shows the top 50 widgets, ordered by the percentage of blogs which contain at least one widget from the provider. Once again we see the classic power-curve (aka long tail) shape, with Google the clear leader.


The overall percentages are lower than in our last report. My best guess is that this is due to the larger scope of this crawl. As we venture futher from Lijit users, we encounter more un-widgeted blogs.

PayPerPost.com does not officially appear in this list. However, some detective work showed that they wrap all of their widget placements behind a Tinyurl address. Tinyurl.com doesn’t provide a widget of their own, but is merely a service redirect to other URLs. It is not clear why PayPerPost would pursue this strategy other than to obscure the face that a particular blog is a member of the PayPerPost service. PayPerPost tracking widgets appear on 1% of all blogs.

Popularity by Type

Many widgets provide similar functionality. The following graph shows the popularity of each type of widget.


As we saw last time, analytics widgets are the most popular with advertising in second place. Bloggers clearly want to know about their readers, even more than they want to monetize those readers! The “Social Network” type is dominated by MyBlogLog. Similarly, Twitter is the only entrant in the “Microblogging” category.

Within each vertical we can examine the breakdown between the competing widget providers. Note that each pie graph represents the percentage widget distribution among all widget objects from the vertical. Contrast this with the numbers below each chart which show the percentage widget distribution among all blogs which contain a widget from the vertical. This distinction is important because many blogs will use use multiple widgets of the same type. This is especially clear for advertising widgets where 90% of all blogs with ads use at least one AdWords widget, yet the AdWords widget accounts for only 75% of all advertising widgets found. The degree of overlap can be estimated by how far the percentage totals go over 100%. For example, we can see that 43% of analytics widgets do not appear alone.

Analytics

1 google-analytics.com 49.48%
2 sitemeter.com 39.03%
3 statcounter.com 24.52%
4 feedburner.com 12.78%
5 quantserve.com 5.18%
6 performancing.com 1.95%
7 hittail.com 1.92%
8 bravenet.com 1.67%
9 blogflux.com 1.64%
10 reinvigorate.net 1.24%
11 getclicky.com 1.12%
12 103bees.com 1.03%
13 measuremap.com 0.92%
14 histats.com 0.82%
143.30%

Advertising

1 googlesyndication.com 89.22%
2 blogads.com 15.07%
3 adbrite.com 4.34%
4 fmpub.net 1.99%
5 doubleclick.net 1.78%
6 chitika.net 1.54%
7 glam.com 0.99%
8 b5media.com 0.19%
115.12%

Search

1 snap.com 60.06%
2 lijit.com 11.53%
3 google.com/coop 10.26%
4 google.com 8.39%
5 eurekster.com 6.12%
6 sphere.com 6.07%
7 blogbar.org 5.31%
107.74%

Trackbacks

1 technorati.com 86.00%
2 haloscan.com 22.50%
3 wholinked.com 2.33%
110.83%

Video

Video widgets do not strictly fall into our definition because they are not permanent fixtures on a blog like, for example, a blogroll widget. However, we did capture statistics on the relative popularity of video widgets appearing on the front page of blogs we examined. YouTube is the clear winner here. This is interesting considering that YouTube did not show up at all in Comscore’s Widget Metrix.

1 youtube.com 92.99%
2 video.google.com 8.41%
3 dailymotion.com 5.24%
4 blip.tv 2.22%
108.86%

Action Photos

As you can see here, Lijit uses only the latest in technology when crawling blogs and compiling widget statistics.

Stay tuned and subscribe for the next round of widget stats coming soon.

First Widget Statistics

Apr
22

Note: The Weekly Lijit stats email falsely reported that Feedburner was the most popular widget. This was true in our first pass but after subsequent filtering Google emerged as the top widget. Sorry this stat did not get changed in the email. -Stan
Newsweek declared 2007 to be “The Year of the Widget” For all this widget talk there are precious few numbers. What widgets are popular? What is the distribution within widget verticals?

Our Lijit spiders look at a lot of blogs as they assemble all the content for our user’s searches. In our last release we added some code to take a look at what widgets are running around out there in the wild blogosphere, and now we’ve got some numbers. Due to some technical problems we had to throw out a lot of data but we’ve got ten thousand blogs in this crawl. That’s a still a small sample so these numbers should be taken with a heaping serving of salt. However, even through all that sodium we can see some clear trends.

Our first graph shows the top 50 widgets, ordered by the percentage of blogs which contain at least one widget from the provider. We see the classic power-curve (aka long tail) shape, with Google the clear leader.

Overall Widget Popularity Graph

Next, check out the widget popularity by the type of widget, the “vertical”. We see that bloggers clearly want to know about their readers, even more than they want to monetize those readers. They are also very interested in knowing what other people are linking to them. “Ecosystem” refers to widgets that identify a blog as being part of a group, for cross promotional purposes and such.

By Type

Within each vertical we can examine the breakdown between the competing widget providers. Note that each pie graph represents the percentage widget distribution among all widgets from the vertical. Contrast this with the numbers below each chart which show the percentage widget distribution among all blogs which contain a widget from the vertical. This distinction is important because many blogs will use use multiple widgets of the same type. This is especially clear for advertising widgets where 90% of all blogs with ads use AdWords, yet the AdWords widget accounts for only 75% of all advertising widgets. The degree of overlap can be estimated by how far the percentage totals go over 100%. For example, we can see that 47% of Analytics widgets do not appear alone.

Analytics

Analytics

google-analytics.com 3264 56.18%
sitemeter.com 1822 31.36%
statcounter.com 1317 22.67%
feedburner.com 1003 17.26%
quantserve.com 402 6.92%
hittail.com 136 2.34%
performancing.com 136 2.34%
103bees.com 107 1.84%
blogflux.com 82 1.41%
measuremap.com 81 1.39%
bravenet.com 78 1.34%
getclicky.com 68 1.17%
reinvigorate.net 49 0.84%
histats.com 44 0.76%
8589 147.83%

Advertising

Advertising

googlesyndication.com 2431 90.14%
blogads.com 428 15.87%
adbrite.com 142 5.27%
glam.com 88 3.26%
fmpub.net 61 2.26%
b5media.com 54 2.00%
doubleclick.net 47 1.74%
3251 120.54%

Trackbacks

Trackbacks

technorati.com 1690 92.00%
haloscan.com 249 13.55%
wholinked.com 44 2.40%
1983 107.95%

Search

Search

snap.com 528 48.26%
google.com 423 38.67%
lijit.com 119 10.88%
sphere.com 67 6.12%
eurekster.com 54 4.94%
1191 108.87%

*The numbers for Lijit skew high as our search used Lijit users’ blogs as seeds to begin the crawl (Before we had to throw out most of the blog data as invalid.).

Notes and Conclusions

These statistics are based on a crawl of 8552 blogs done over April 11-15, 2007. This crawl was “centered” on blogs with the Lijit widget (or as we call it, Wijit), and expanded outwards by following the blogrolls. Due to some bugs in how we stored this data, we had to throw out a large number of blogs. These stats only include numbers which we are sure to be correct. This is our first time, after all! For this sample we take a wide definition of widgets, including non-visible widgets such as as Google Analytics. Also note that we do not include image-only widgets, this includes the Feedburner subscriber count badge and the LinkedIn badge. Also not included are “widgets” that are automatically added by a blogging platform, like those from Blogger or Typepad. Because our crawl expanded outwards by blogrolls, and because of the general disconnect between the traditional blogosphere and social networks, widgets from sites like MySpace are not included in these stats.

In the coming weeks we will crawl again and again and continue to iterate these stats. Watch this blog to for further updates.