Atomisation is a way of summarising a significant trend in Web 2.0 which incorporated some of the new marketing techniques we have reviewed such as posts on social networks, feeds and widgets.

In a Web 2.0 context atomisation describes how the content on a website can be broken down into smaller ‘content objects’ which are then shareable and can potentially be aggregated together with other content to provide content and services valuable for site owners and visitors.

For site owners, options to consider for the application of atomisation include:

  • Providing content RSS feeds in different categories through their content management system. For example, the BBC effectively provides tens of thousands of newsletters on their site at the level of detail or granularity to support the interest of their readers i.e. separate feeds at different levels of aggregation, e.g. sport, football, premier league football or a fan’s individual team.
  • Sharing social updates, images, videos or whitepapers. These can be embedded from specialist sites like Flickr, Youtube or Scribd using widgets made available by the site owner.
  • Separating content which should be provided as data feeds of new stories or statistics into widgets on other sites. For example, UK retail statistics widget dashboard for iGoogle.
  • Development of web services which update widgets with data from their databases. A classic example is the Just Giving widget ( where money raised by a charity donor is regularly updated.
  • Creating badges which can be incorporated within blogs or social networks by their fans or advocates. The membership body CIPD does this well through their ‘links to us’ programme which encourages partners to add banners or text links to their site to link with the CIPD site. Similarly, Hitwise encourages retailers to link it through its Top 10 Award programme (an award for the top 10 most popular websites across each of the 160+ hitwise industries by market share if visits).

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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