10+ years ago everybody tried to build portals. "Stickiness" ruled the digital marketing world.
5+ years ago everybody started to build microsite. The intention was to capture a single-minded idea in one destination. Brand sites had become too complex and hard for people to navigate.
Some of the microsites worked well: If you were in the market for a specific car, the microsite provides you with the most relevant information to get your task done.
While some sites worked, the web quickly became a dump for bad executions, wasting billions of client dollars with nothing to show for. Microsites transformed into ugly hybrids of brand and single-minded idea sites, adding more content and clutter.
3+ years ago everybody started to dislike microsites. Nobody clicked on banners, traffic was too small to justify further investment and suddenly brands wanted to be where everybody else was: MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the others platforms with tons of traffic. Microsites became an afterthought. Marketers looked at the dump of failed microsites, shaking their heads and muttering: "Microsites don't work." aka "It's you, not me."
It was always me and not you.
Well-executed microsites still work and will work for a long time to come. They're just as hard to find as a fan of Frank McCourt.
2+ years ago marketers fell in love with apps. They revolutionized the way we shared content with an audience, replaced the typical catalog website with a more interactive and innovative medium. Just like the microsite a few years ago. Each app has a single-minded idea and functionality. And, most importantly, functionality.
That was always the biggest problem with microsites: The only purpose was to convey an abstract message or to aspire to be some kind of cultural phenomenon/expression of technology prowess. "We hired the best flash developer."
The end of microsites seems to be near. I still think they can survive and not be swallowed by the App Monster that's taking over our media engagement time. They just have to serve a purpose, an extension of the product/brand, they should serve as a value add for the brand offering.
Maybe I should rewrite the headline to: "Long live the microsite."
What do you think?
Uwe Hook is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. (www.bateshook.com) and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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