Widget or Facebook app? That’s been the question facing many marketers when trying to determine the best platform for syndicating their content. To be clear, a widget is truly portable across any HTML-based page. Facebook apps are sharable, though not generally portable.
Marketers often only want to devote resources to creating one widget or application. Ideally, they want to utilize this one application and repurpose it across whatever online platforms they deem appropriate for reaching their customers. However, it’s difficult to develop applications that are portable across multiple networks and so marketers usually end up only designing applications for their Facebook page. The true goal is to create branded experiences that work within Facebook, as well as other viable platforms like MySpace or personal blogs.
Previously, to distribute content and applications across multiple social networks, marketers had to convert their widgets into “app-like” products using the Clearspring platform. Although these “widgetized” apps worked on Facebook, they didn’t leverage the powerful social graph (because the technology wasn’t able to do so) and there was little control over where the app was posted. The other alternative? Creating separate applications for each social network that a marketer wanted to use their app on.
Recently, Clearspring launched a new product called the “App Generator,” which solves this problem. Clearspring widgets can now be transformed into Facebook apps that function just like an app should – it takes advantage of the social graph, has its own customizable canvas page (the home page of a Facebook app), links to a branded Facebook page and allows users to post them to the profile page or the “boxes” tab. This new feature finally allows marketers to streamline the development process and test which platform is more receptive to their content.