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3 reasons to ditch your microsites

Sean X Cummings
3 reasons to ditch your microsites Sean X Cummings
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I do not even know where to start with my rant on microsites. They are the bane of the online space, produced by those who do not comprehend the implications of launching them and do not understand the underbelly that they leave behind. They are expensive, they use up agency resources, they become orphans almost overnight, and they are only useful in providing traditional agencies with fodder for winning more business.


So, the agency is personally incentivized to use them. They are containable for the agency, the agency does not have to deal with many of your internal resources beyond marketing, the costs are controllable, and more importantly to them, profitable. But you are not in business to make the agency rich. You are in business to make your company rich on the back of that poor agency. Microsites are one of the few online vehicles where the agency and the client have different goals.


Most microsites are usually advanced brochureware by clients trying to get around their internal process, and the hallmark of an agency that does not get it -- or worse -- a client that doesn't. The results are usually paltry, at best, in moving your brand, and the level of development time and money required for the payoff is almost never worth it.


How many can you actually name? BMW Films, Subservient Chicken, Shave Everywhere? Is a microsite going to move your brand forward? No. Why? Because the only reason you are probably creating one is that your main website sucks. They sit there from almost the moment they launch -- dying. With the advances in rich media ad serving, you do not have to create a microsite. You can take your proposed microsite to them. Are there exceptions? Of course there are. There are always exceptions. However, almost everyone will sit there and justify that their microsite is an exception, and 99 percent of you are wrong.


I am on a crusade, a jihad, a walkabout to corral microsites into the online netherworld. Why do traditional agencies have to couch everything in "immersively aesthetic" environments? It's a hold over from traditional creative thinking. Consumers do not care. They want to get in, get what they want, and get out. This is the internet. Let's act like it.


Don't believe me? Here are some basic reasons why microsites suck, and why you shouldn't.


Author notes: Sean X Cummings is director of marketing for Ask.com. Read full bio.

I most commonly see microsites produced by large companies that should know better. They manage their brands so well. They massage every form of PR and corporate communication, and they spend countless hours molding the consumer's perception of their brand. But go to their corporate website and it's a disaster. Why? Because usually those websites are controlled by an internal group that morphed out of the IT department into an interactive department, which keeps re-morphing.


That department is not an extension to the marketing department of consumer insights. It does not care about the consumer. It is trying to put puzzle pieces that don't fit into a picture that doesn't match. They are more a reflection of a company's internal structure than they are communication vehicles for the brand.


And that's when you get stuck.


You become sick of railing against internal politics and decide that if the company cannot get its act together, then you are going to help solve the problem by creating what? A microsite, of course, where you can control the messaging. I understand your grief. I have been there countless times, and yes, I have given in to temptation before. Before you go off on a crusade against your own internal systems, think about why are you creating that microsite.


I find that most microsites are just an extension of another program.


"Well, we have to create a microsite for that TV promotion we are doing." Uh, why? Because when you were brainstorming with the 20 people on the account and they asked for ideas, that one n00b said, "We can do a microsite." And the team leader wrote it down as one of the extension ideas. Wow, you have no idea how many times that happens.


Online marketers, who in order to get budget, have to make sure it is glommed onto a traditional program. You go off and create a custom URL and name, half the time buying out the name from some domain park that already owns it, or worse, creating a bastardization of it that no one will remember. It gets printed on every ad, every TV commercial, every piece of collateral. And no one comes. Well, you did get those 20,000 people to register; and it cost you what, with all of the fees, not to mention the costs of your agency resources being used up on it? $80,000. You're better off going out and handing $4 to 20,000 people and spending five minutes telling them about it. "But Sean! They were 'engaged' with our brand." Nope. Probably not. They were engaged with some stupid game your agency created as the extension with your logo in the corner.


So next time the noob raises their hand, use a stun gun, walk over to the internal group that handles your main site and ask them if you can put up something on the homepage that alerts people and drives them to a single internal page discussing the program. And then give the money back to a program that will do your brand some good.

How long is the program running that the microsite is based on? If it's less than a year, don't do it. Worse, I see programs that are only really active for weeks or a month, while agencies spent four months building the microsite.


From almost the moment a microsite launches, it is dying, unless it's one of those rare sites that gets viral traction. Even then, that site will never be an ongoing destination. It will reach its buzz factor, get forwarded by everyone, have a huge spike, everyone will be talking about it, and then, like Oliver asking for another bowl of porridge, it will beg for life support. Microsites are orphans. The URLs are orphans. You have to keep feeding them, housing them and clothing them, even though no one really wants them anymore. How long do you have to keep that URL active? And what is the post-consumer experience if you don't?


If you are not ready to have a kid, care for it and nurture it until it is able to live on its own, then don't give birth.

I remember sitting in this marketing presentation by an auto company touting this amazing microsite they did. They had full video of the product, a message board, a contest, and of course their "viral" component -- "Email a friend." They walked us through the entire site, its promotion, the various funnels through SEM and email. When all was said and done, it cost them $1.2M. And then, the other shoe dropped. When someone asked how many cars it sold, the response was enthusiastic and excited. "We got more than 6,000 email addresses."


Bear with me here: 1,200,000 / 6,000 = $200 an email address. An email address does not translate into a car sale. You know how many cars they did sell? 14, for about $400,000 total, to people that were probably already predisposed to buy the car anyway from TV.


If you realize that the profit margin is probably only 10 percent on those vehicles, they spent $1.2M all outbound, for about $40,000 in profit. Of course, the poor man at this point was being ripped to shreds


"It's not about that! It's mainly branding!" OK, we'll go with you there.


"How many people -- uniques -- went to the site?" 57,000. So, they spent $21 per person just to take a look. When we dug deeper, only 9,000 spent more than three minutes on the site -- 9,000 people. Basically, you can make numbers look like whatever you want them to look like, but the truth of the matter is that immersion sites are often way more costly than the results that can be obtained by integrating that content into your main site.


The immersion everyone talks about online is extremely hard to obtain in a lean-forward, active medium like the internet, and it's much more prevalent in TV where the lean-back environment makes you receptive to it. You do not have to create a separate website. Eye focus, even on an ad, or a smaller page, tunes out the periphery.

The only reason to have a destination URL is if that URL is going to get into the public consciousness. I do not know how many companies have created microsites in the past year, but I can tell you that those that have penetrated my consciousness can be counted on one hand.


I know there are exceptions, but most of those exceptions, like a "downloadable piece of software" where you want to drive people directly to the download page, usually just require a single landing page, not a microsite.


Simplicity rules. Look, the technologies exist -- Pointroll, Eyeblaster, etc. -- that allow you to integrate the microsite concept into an actual ad. There are several advantages to that approach. The development time is much shorter. It is much more cost efficient. There are no associated hosting fees or maintenance fees. You get a much bigger bang for your buck with your consumer, and when the program is over, you just pull the ad. You are left with no orphans, whereas microsites take too long to develop, are usually managed by committee, have a relatively short lifespan, cost too much, use up agency resources, use up client resources, use up money and become orphans almost the day they launch.


Look -- do what you want, waste your money, but if you are going to do it, do it fast and cheap and don't try to bolt on every feature. Streamline your construction and develop a microsite strategy. As long as you look at them on a project basis, all you are doing is making your agency rich.

Comments

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Commenter: charles fredell

2008, October 25

I use microsites as a way re-direct page to the main website itself. Its true its hard to get any rank out of a one page site but at Dealer Public Relations we sometimes have a need for a small one or two page website

Commenter: Jono Smith

2008, June 29

Microsites are like any other marketing strategy: you get out of them what you put in. And I think they can work especially well if they are focused on learning, resources and thought leadership.

Here's our success story: we launched a microsite about a year ago at www.fundraising123.org. In that time, the Google Page rank has grown to 7 and we average about 15k unique visitors a month who spend and average of 3 minutes there.

So why not just put the content under a tab on our main website? The same reason we don't have bookstores inside of libraries. When you are in the business of selling something, you can't mix your thought leadership with your widget counters. Well, you can, but it's not a very good marketing strategy.

Commenter: Adam Kmiec

2008, April 25

Just wanted to close the loop on this :)

http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1006226

Commenter: luis g. lopez

2008, March 14

Something you forgot to mention: a full-fledged WEB SITE generally implies: a committee (not from marketing, but from IT); even GREATER costs; deffinitely a LARGER budget; much more time; agency vs. developer vs. client confrontations (no one knows what they are doing); and unless all of this is coordinated and let by an interactive agency, a direct road to orphanage and oblivion. Cheers!

Commenter: Lee McEwan

2008, March 11

Agreed. Microsites are the web equivalent of space junk.

Commenter: Adam Kmiec

2008, March 05

There's a lot of truth to what your saying. For example, ";How many can you actually name? BMW Films, Subservient Chicken, Shave Everywhere? Is a microsite going to move your brand forward? No. Why? Because the only reason you are probably creating one is that your main website sucks. They sit there from almost the moment they launch -- dying."

However, in my opinion you fail to tell the whole story. Micro-sites, on the whole, are a cheaper investment than the re-design/development of a large site. That's certainly one of the primary drivers for the development of microsites. There are other benefits:

1. Supporting a specific campaign: changing out an entire site to support a short run campaign just doesn't make sounds fiscal sense

2. Market/New Reactions: Think about what happens when you have a recall. You're better off creating a microsite to absorb the negativity than damaging your brand equity by letting people end up on your main site.

3. Local/Regional: Driving someone to a giant corporate conglomerate site like 3M.com or GE.com just doesn't make sense when you are running ads locally/nationally.

4. Chang in Branding: The shaveeverywhere is example is a perfet example how to be riskier witha certain audience while not alienating your base.

5. The IT Factor: You can launch a site that is more progressive without having to retrofit/water down the creative because of the constraints of the client's existing IT environment.

6. SEO/SEM Benefits: More inbound and outbound links help drive success in those two areas. Think about all the microsites Coke has.

Hopefully, what you are seeing above, is that decisions need to be based on objectives. I'd like to think that decisions about what do on the web are made based on clear business objectives. Based on those objectives, we should recommend the best set of tactics to support those objectives.

Unfortunately, both time and dollars influence what tactics can be executed.

I think we coach our clients/brands to invest their dollars efficiently, but sometimes the reality of their business climate will influence the decisions that are ultimately made.

A colleague of mine at Coke once said, ";Micro-sites get a bad wrap because they are like government satellites floating in space. We launch them into orbit and then never do anything with them.”

Lastly, I found it very interesting that you chose to reference 3 of the most successful sites ever. Not just successful microsites, but literally successful sites. I worked on BMWUSA.com and BMWFilms.com at Fallon; it's not even a fair comparison. Films wins every time.

A really good example of how a microsite can drive your business is the widely successful elfyourself.com site for Office Max. But, then again I'm sure you knew that :)

Adam

Commenter: Stephen Ellis

2008, March 04

Very topical article as we're seeing an explosion in use of micro-sites. Contrary to Sean's experience, I have seen them to be a very effective sales vehicle.

I've developed product-specific micro-sites for my clients that are very sales focused (so I can't speak to experiential sites such as BMWFilms, etc.). Statistically, assuming an identical optimized PPC campaign - a large corporation's product pages do not convert to online sales at a high rate (about 2%-5%); whereas a sales-focused page might convert at a 25% rate.

It is fantasy to think that an intransigent bureaucracy of IT managers, Brand managers, PR types, etc. at a multi-product corporation would allow the product manager to engage in the out-of-the-box thinking he needs with the product pages sitting on the corporate site, with a 5 year old CMS system, and with whatever (likely unused) analytic package being used.

Instead, having a responsible agency (to Dan's point above) develop a micro-site with a custom tailored SEM/SEO campaign and an advanced analytics scheme allows that product manager not only to sell more widgets, but also to continuously track & optimize a campaign at each point along the demand-gen path.

-Stephen Ellis (muralconsulting.com)

Commenter: Eric Bowe

2008, March 03

There is some truth to Sean's take on microsites. I especially enjoy the group think approach to creation of a bad micorsite (or any form of marketing communications for that matter)

Look, microsites are a tactic. Usually the success or failure of any campaign begins with business objectives and consumer insights. The goal is to create a win-win value proposition between business and the consumer target through the creation of an online experience. Sometimes that may include a microsite, other times a microsite is not necessary.

So when is a microsite necessary? I have worked on automotive sites for over 8 years (and no, I am not the guy who was hassled at the conference). Automotive is unique because there are two types of sites: directed and intended.

Directed sites are deep-linked pages or microsites where consumers are driven to based on a strong call to action in media (e.g. banners, magazines). Intended sites are sought out by consumers for personal reasons like answering a question or researching a product.

In automotive this is important. On major automotive sites, like Chevy, Ford and Toyota, there can be over 100+ links on the home page to assist shoppers in researching a product. When combining intended and directed into one, the user experience suffers. For example, about five years ago Mercury Vehicles promoted (heavily) their brand campaign and promotion on the shopping home page. The site did terrible in the ensuing JD Power Manufacturer Website Evaluation Survey.

Are microsites always the answer? No. I would just be careful to categorically dismiss any tactic like a microsite. The value of a microsites should be assessed based on campaign objectives and strategies.

If you would like to see further discussion on the value of online microsites and other experiences, visit www.ViralCliche.com.

Commenter: Dan Walmsley

2008, March 03

This article didn't really convince me. It's founded on the assumption that Microsites are technological and informational "orphans”, when in fact nothing about Microsites requires this.

Imagine, for example, a Peugeot microsite for some new car. The site sits under its own domain and has unique styling specifically designed to promote that car. It has flash games and all that guff. If it was part of the "main” peugeot site, it would be lumbered with the borders, layout, and style guide of that site and this would detract from its ability to have an impact in its own right, for the duration of that campaign.

BUT! There's no reason why the microsite can't incorporate functionality from the main site, if the main CMS supports this. Any decent, modern CMS platform should incorporate "remoting” of functionality (via APIs) or entire chunks of the interface (via Gadgets or Flash). It should be able to track cookies for Microsite visitors and provide channels for them to generate sales leads and enter other information channels that lead to the main site.

And, all this aside, the distinction between Microsite and different-bit-on-main-site is so faint as to be almost invisible – what are they, really, beyond just a different domain? Nothing! So, you could have http://peugeot.com/mysupercar, or http://mysupercar.com. Who cares? Seriously.

And who wants to bog their CMS down with features that are really only appropriate for short-term campaigns? Be agile, think outside the box, and give yourself room to breathe and be creative. And then provide hooks back to the Main Game.

Just to tackle your specific criticisms:

1. Microsites are made by n00bs.
Uh, ok then. Don't let n00bs make them.

2. They're based on custom code
Gee, would you rather have that code hanging around in your mainline CMS, or in a temporary site you can ditch without complications?

3. You make a very small income verses your investment
See point 1, don't let an idiot make your microsite. If you don't do the business modelling in advance and make sure it's worth it, you deserve to get burned. It's the same with any initiative, including a landing page under your main site URL.

Technology moves fast. Clients are always asking for features their existing web site simply can't provide, and by the time you've hacked the technology into their main web site the world has moved on. You talk about "simplicity”, I work for an agency and have to deal with clients who insist on having a Facebook application NOW NOW NOW. Simplicity is being able to give them that without working inside a legacy CMS.

With site integration technologies advancing rapidly, there's less reason than ever to bolt everything together inside the one code base.

If you agree that there is a need for short-term campaigns (and there is) then you must agree that there is a case for Microsites.

Commenter: Chris Verzello

2008, March 03

Hi Sean,

Great observations and insight!! This is a hot topic, and I know that brands and agencies often fall into the pitfalls you covered.

That said, I think there's a great creative potential in micro-sites...

I think Verisign has a brilliant one out there now https://www.nomoreabandonedcarts.com/ and it should be a great success....

So many brands are reluctant, scared, or by nature too conservative to put this type of content on their own brand domain... and micro-sites allow for a better creative outlet.

We do live in Web 2.0, and I applaud the groundbreaking efforts of some brands in making micro-sites part of the marketing mix. That said, I agree with you whole hearted that most brands throw away perfectly good money on weak executions.

I hope that we continue to see creative brilliance out there.

Commenter: Sterling Sumners

2008, March 03

Sean "X" - your rant was amusing. Too bad you missed on of the main objectives for many of today's microsites -- the huge valume of SEO leads that can be generated from such as site. You see, at most big companies, there are too many constituents and too much website cdevelopment baggage for any savvy web-marketeer to make any headway in SEO. It takes a committee to form a committee before any site changes can even be discussed, let alone improved. A well-crafted, community-friendly, link magnet-rich microsite optimized for daily publishing and SEO can quickly rise up the search engine rankings and provide 'ree, yes FREE leads. Okay there are some costs...but a small team of bright web publishers can create and market a microsite for cheap - and reap big rewards. Now...put that in your rant pipe and smoke it.

Commenter: Vidar Brekke

2008, March 03

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I have to say that our firm (Linkstorms.com) has taken this challenge head on by developing a new ad format that overlays cascading menus onto any ad format and quickly connecting customers to the information they want. Our thesis is, advertisers already have lots of content and conversion pages on their websites and they don't need another speed bump between themselves and their customers; just lead the customer to relevant content and actions fast!

With our approach, advertisers can offer customers dozens of unique navigations options in one ad unit, and send users deep into their sites, generating highly qualified traffic in the process.

While marketers get the value right away, their agencies are a little slower to embrace this new paradigm. But they are coming around as clients, particularly in the performance marketing area, want ROI, not creative awards.

Commenter: marc meyer

2008, March 03

I agree with some of what you mention. But are there any definitive studies on the benefits or drawbacks of a microsite? Or is it just your opinion? If that is the case, then you certainly are entitled to it. YES, We all have the same kneejerk reaction, to build a microsite. And in my experience, they ALL are low on pages and bandwidth, so I don't see how they hinder. But of course I think that anything that drives or receives traffic or has the potential to brand is NOT a bad thing. In fact, I work with quite a few microsites that are doing well organically in the SERPS. And that is the direct residual effect of previous marketing efforts. You mention hosting and maintainence, those are non-issues.

Commenter: August Ray

2008, March 03

I tend to have very, very negative reactions to people who say a tactic is "always" or "never" a good idea.

Do I think most microsites miss the mark and fail to provide ROI? Yes I do, but then again I also think most Web spending misses the mark and fails to provide ROI. The problem isn't with microsites (or any specific tactic) but with a general failure to follow smart marketing practices: Identify and understand your audience; recognize what creates value and enhances brand awareness, perception, or consideration; define objectives; consider the consumer's state of mind; plan to drive traffic; and measure.

Done right and for the right reasons, I believe there are many times when microsites can create some value. For example, the microsite experience can be richer, more inviting, more experiential, and more emotional than can online experiences pasted within the typical data-oriented corporate site. Microsites are also great for targeting a specific audience with information or brand messaging that will appeal to their demographics and psychographics. And by separating specific content from a corporate or marketing site, more focus can be given to specific features or attributes.

Think of it this way: Most product companies have catalogs, but they still do sell sheets and brochures. Why? Because the catalog is useful and complete--and boring and dry. But to make an emotional appeal and provide a means to create energy around a product, even companies that do catalogs will produce glossy, four-color sales and marketing collateral.

This offline example demonstrates how different media and formats can exist together because they have different objectives. Microsites are exactly the same way--they can enhance a marketing program and compliment the corporate site, when done right and for the right reason.

Commenter: Stephen Beck

2008, March 03

Definitely some valid points in this, however considering the role the corporate website plays in most organizations, and the inability of IT to react quickly as required by marketing, the microsite is likely here to stay. Also, when have you ever seen a large corporation overhaul their umbrella website to accommodate a campaign initiative. In most cases, this is not possible, notably with organizations that have multiple brands within.

Like any other web property, the microsite relies heavily on the media mix that points customers to it. You certainly cant relate the number of impressions, and in turn, the value of those impressions, on the microsite itself. A closed-loop campaign is reliant on various elements, each with a specific role within the entire campaign.

While microsites can certainly be a hefty spend, in comparison to the average media spend, a microsite is typically a tiny fraction of the overall budget. Consider the laundry-list of expenses that go along with a 30 second spot - and then, consider the value of that spot and how un-targeted it is (and, don't forget Tivo). Lastly, consider the last time you viewed a 30 second spot, and had the ability to dig deeper for product information instantly. That said, there are 2 things to consider, comparison of cost vs. value when placing the microsite along side other initiatives such as the 30 second spot, and the ability to validate the spend. To Sean's point, 'you can make numbers look like whatever you want them to look like', though, at least with the microsite you can actually be made aware of the numbers. Again, those numbers rely on other factors of the campaign.

Commenter: Robert Wade

2008, March 03

Sean, thanks for bringing this issue up. I have been pushing for evolving away from microsites on our properties, precisely for the reasons you outline. One can never deliver the traffic and what traffic you do deliver, to what end? With the evolution of rich media ads and newer, larger ad sizes, I know we can deliver the sponsor message and all the relevant content currently housed in forgotten microsites where the site visitor is and tie the message into their viewing mindset. I will do my part to help you corral the microsites into history.

Commenter: John Lee

2008, March 03

I can agree that there are lots of bad microsites out there, but you can't make a blanket statement like this because you have NO clue what the goal is for most. I have personally worked on several where we reached agreed upon metrics for sales, leads, entries, etc.

Don't tarnish this piece of the puzzle with your ignorance or lack of successful ventures.

Commenter: James Connolly

2008, March 03

While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, the "exceptions" which are limited to 1 in 100 are probably more the rule than you'd like to think.

Those IT-Interactive beasts you refer to often don't have the full company vision in mind - if anything, they have process and procedure in mind.

In my experience, sometimes the only way to get an innovation, service, or updated content onto a company's site is through a microsite.

And this is where I agree - the microsite and its associated URL must be transparent to the end user (iframe, redirect, whatever). The promotion comes from the main site (banner ads are great for this).

When the promotion is all finished or when the content has finally been integrated into the "process-controlled-nightmare", then it's time for the link to the microsite to be changed.

What made me laugh most was the idea that you think an agency spending 4 months on a site that lasts 1 month is unusual. Do you honestly think the length of time a site it online determines how much work went into it? Do you honestly think if the same job had been done internally it would have been less than 4 months in the development?

As Simon Cowell would say, "I'm not being rude, I'm just saying."

I would say that until companies learn that their websites and online content must be run by marketing and communications - with the ability to make changes more than monthly - there will always be microsites. The key isn't to kill the concept, but to integrate them as unobtrusively as possible. The microsite should never be the brand, just a place to host content.

Commenter: Jahn Wolland

2008, March 03

Have you been to an MSN Branded Entertainment microsite? go to inthemotherhood.msn.com and tell me it's a waste.

Commenter: Neil Squillante

2008, March 03

The same goes for corporate blogs at a different URL.

Commenter: Roland Reinhart

2008, March 03

I wholeheartedly agree. A number of times I've worked with clients to reign-in all of their microsites that tend to be off-strategy, abandoned, neglected and inconsistent with their established creative standards.

Time and time again, once all the effort has been done to achieve a new, integrated, user-friendly and SEO-friendly website, some new person rattles a saber that they need a microsite. Then the chaos begins again.

Commenter: Alan Feldenkris

2008, March 03

Well you were right about one thing...that's quite a rant.

Obviously, its easy to build a bad communications program...one that's born out of economy, profit or available technology, versus smart strategic insight.

I would agree that many microsites come into the world that way. Building a microsite around a short term product promotion typically doesn't pay out and I would argue isn't all that profitable for the agency in the end.

There are, however, a number of scenarios where the presence of a well thought-out, very deliberate microsite, makes great strategic and creative sense. Consider categories like Pharma where the main brand site typically provides the needed information-rich platform for people trying to do research and learn more about a particular condition or side effect.

A complimentary microsite populated with patient perspectives seeing to create empathetic connections also serves a key consumer need without getting in the way of sole information seeking.

Brands should not be afraid to have a couple sites serving distinctly different consumer dynamics withing their marketing whole...so long as the overall architecture is smart and the pathways between sites are solid.

The keys are again, to have the microsite solve a strategic dilemma, not drive a promotional idea, and to make sure it is part of a bigger interactive strategy that marries well with the main brand site and for that matter, all digital assets.

Commenter: Peter Caputa

2008, March 03

Couldn't agree more, Sean.

I never understood the microsite concept from a web-native perspective. There are so many SEO benefits to launching a product or an ad campaign on an existing site.

I was talking about agencies adapting to new media with the VP of Marketing at HubSpot the other day. We were talking about how there are so many opportunities for agencies to start adding "real" and "measurable" value to their clients by engaging with prospects in social media environments.

And the key to success of SEO, SMM, etc is "content creation". If only agencies really woke up to the fact that they could make a lot of money when their clients made a lot of money as a result of their efforts, they'd be doing much better.... than inventing ways to milk their clients' ad budgets.

Commenter: Peter Platt

2008, March 03

I couldn't agree more. There are clearly some situations where a microsite makes sense (one of the best is when you need to reach a truly different audience than your standard customer base)...but they always need to be done with the intent of rolling into your overall corporate site over time. They can also be a good way test without a total corporate overhaul. I also agree that rich media ads can replace much of what's needed (but they too need to be thought about with the overall brand in mind).

Commenter: Dean Donaldson

2008, March 03

Hear, hear - more than that how many people VISIT your micro site - ever? Beautiful creative's with no one to see them = pointlessness for everyone. Take the brand to the user, not the user to the brand, and we make actually drive conversions! But creative directors need to understand how to justify commercial success (and their jobs) without a micro site. I am that man. I have evidence that you are 40x more likely to interact then click on an ad and 4.5x more likely to convert within an advert then post-click - un-qualified clickers do not equal conversions.

Check this for starters: http://deandonaldson.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/the-wrong-trousers-clicks-no-longer-fit-for-purpose/

From a fellow preacher of hate of the micro site...