Apparently I am not the only one spending most of my web time on these widget-oriented sites. Alexa 3 year usage graphs for top brands that I picked out at random all show decreasing or flat usage. Brands like FedEx and McDonalds are beginning to realize that their web presence is being increasingly ignored. Banner ad campaigns are increasingly expensive due to CPM price increases as ad placement competition increases. And to top it off, users hate banner ads more and more, so clickthrough rates (CTRs) are going down! Banner ad buyers now pay more for less!
People don't go to brand web sites anymore, banner ads cost more, and people are not clicking on banner ads. These are trends that are not going to reverse themselves. In order to achieve visibility on the web, brands will need to start expanding their web presence onto sites like Facebook and MySpace where users are already spending their time instead of trying to drive them to their own sites. Creating engaging and fun widgets is going to take a lot more creativity and effort than a banner ad campaign. The web is going to get very interesting over the next couple of years!