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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Microsites Suck


If the client asks you why people would actually go to the microsite you're proposing to advertise their product, and you reply, "because that's where all the ads will direct them," you've given a very, very wrong answer.

If the reason someone would go to your microsite is because that's where the ads click through to, don't make it! Seriously, just... stop it.

Office Max's "Elf Yourself" is a microsite, and the reason people go there is not just because some ads directed them there. Burger King's "SimpsonizeMe" is a microsite, and people don't go there just because they clicked on an ad and were directed there.

People go to these sites because they offer something other than another advertisement like the one they just clicked on. People go there because the means (a fun experience interacting with the site) justifies the end (being told about a product). In fact, they'll spread the link around to their friends for the same reason, they'll advertise for the product because, at the end of the day, there's a rewarding experience to be had.

If your microsite doesn't offer an interesting, rewarding experience to the consumer, you're building it because you can't think of anything else to do.

And if your microsite has a loading screen... just give up, go home, and sit in the corner and think about what you've done.


kyle said...

I agree to a certain extent; often companies creat microsites because they want to advertise a product apart from their "corporate" site. However they forget that people don't make the choice to visit a site simply to watch an ad, in much the same way viewers don't watch television shows with the hopes of seeing ads, the ads are just a necessary part of being entertained for free.

The only part I would add is "long loading screens", as opposed to just "loading screens". If the microsite is in Flash, which 99% of them are, you need some sort of loading screen, otherwise the user will be looking at a blank page for 10 seconds, which will ensure they exit faster than if there was a 10 second loading screen.

Joel Kelly said...

Portions of a micro-site can have a loading screen, but the entire site should not. You should never expect someone to wait for your entire site to load like that. No one's time is so worthless that they should have to sit and wait to find out what they're going to be presented with online.

Have your explanatory content load, and if the interactive bit loads a little slower, so be it. But I should *always* know what it is I'm waiting for.