16/07/2018 Little site, big impact
Building a website can be a complex process, requiring passion, time, labour and often heavy analysis of human behaviour to get the best results. A process we love and excel at, but continually challenges us!
For focused content, a microsite can be a perfect match. A microsite is a website that exists separate from a leading organisation’s website and highlights a specific product, campaign or aspect of the organisation. Microsites are often smaller (in breadth- not physical size) than a traditional website, often use their unique domain, special event or promotion among many other options.
Microsites initially rose out of necessity. The first microsites came about in around 1999. Marketers wanted a way to put up promotional materials in a timely manner. However, their IT departments proved so reluctant to allocate resources to change their website so quickly that it was more efficient to make an entirely different, simple website. Offering more freedom over the content of the site in a timelier manner, allowing their brand to engage with their audience and attract more attention.
In the right situation, microsites can have a host of benefits such as greater creative control over messaging and aesthetic of the content. The entire focus can be on the campaign or product, allowing them to target more niche markets or launching new and innovative products. Specifically, if a company is launching a product that is vastly different from their current offerings a microsite can allow them to differentiate and stand out from their current brand, acting as a testing ground for new endeavours. On top of this, they have a simplicity that allows for faster development, making them perfect for the seasonal content or temporary promotions.
Before moving forward with a microsite, it is important to consider if it is a good fit. If not strategically mapped out they can be troublesome for users, creating too many disjointed segments within an organisation, confusing consumers when searching for the site. Remember as new regulations go into effect websites, even your little marketing ones must also be kept GDPR compliant.
An example of a wildly successful microsite was Beauty and the Beast: Fall for IMAX. The fast-moving campaign site incorporated interactive elements through social media to promote the theatrical release in IMAX cinemas. By tweeting #fallforIMAX users could (fingers crossed if they were lucky) make the petals on a magical rose fall, causing greater activation, while the site automatically tracked the tweets. When each petal fell, a prize was awarded to the random user. The design of the site incorporated a magical living rose, cheating mechanics to sniff out those pesky gamers of the system, trailers, booking ticket functions and images of the prizes. All wrapped in incredibly beautiful animations, pictures and motion bought to life. The promotion proved successful with over nineteen thousand tweets, three million impressions and more than forty-eight thousand site visits. The microsite format was perfect for such a focused – albeit temporary – campaign. Of course, created by our talented Australian team.
A similar strategy was recently employed for Deadpool 2’s IMAX release to great success. To promote the movie a microsite was created that allowed fans to create personalised postcards to send to their friends. The postcards could be tailored and personalised with images, messages, Deadpool’s vocal style and your pals name. Integrated into the card was tonally-appropriate text encouraging fans to see the movie at an IMAX theatre. The microsite release increased community engagement while also encouraging fans to buy IMAX tickets.
Microsites fulfil a surplus of needs that a traditional website cannot. By supplying a smaller, more segmented space, they can provide users with more agency to do what they want and experiment with new ideas. While not a fit for every situation microsites can be an opportunity to expand an audience into new, experimental grounds and give users an often smaller but engaging experience.