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11 of the Best Microsite Examples We’ve Ever Seen

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11 of the Best Microsite Examples We've Ever Seen

They say the best things often come in small packages. Think about it: jewelry, books, the keys to a new car … all of these things support this notion. And with our attention spans shrinking below that of a goldfish, it should come as no surprise that we crave more focused content at a smaller scale, too.

Here’s where microsites come into play. Unlike regular websites, microsites tend to be simplistic and easier to navigate. This isn’t to say they won’t make you want to poke around for a while, though. In fact, the really great ones do just that. In this post, we’ll show you some great design examples of microsites in action.

What is a microsite?

A microsite is a web page or small website made to promote a company’s product, service, campaign, or event. Microsites typically use a different domain or subdomain from the main company website and include links back to the main website, but act as a separate entity for the brand.

Microsites can help brands achieve a number of things. As HubSpot Product Manager Alex Girard puts it, “You can use a website to create a digital experience for a number of different moments in the buyer’s journey. It doesn’t have to be just a corporate ‘.com’ website for converting visitors to leads. You can build digital experiences that span the entire customer journey.”

For example, many companies use them to highlight a specific campaign or target specific buyer personas. Others use them to tell a short story or to experiment with new types of branded content, or to spread to a new region. With a big event coming up, a company might launch a microsite to spread awareness and promote sign-ups.

Whatever the reason, the goal of a microsite is to engage visitors with a specific message, generate interest, and draw them to the business’s offerings.

1. Website Grader (HubSpot)

HubSpot Website Grader is a microsite to improve your website, for free. Paste in your site’s URL and your email address, and Website Grader will leverage Google Lighthouse’s automated assessment system to assign a grade to your website.

microsite examples: hubspot website grader homepage

Website Grader calculates your grade based on four key factors — performance (how fast your website is), SEO, mobile, and security — each of which receives its own score. For each factor, Website Grader breaks down your site’s rating and suggests areas for improvement.

microsite examples: website grader score page

Along with its suggestions, Website Grader directs visitors to a HubSpot Academy course on increasing their website grade. If users need more guidance, they can click one of several CTAs on the assessment page to take the course.

2. Listening Together (Spotify)

Spotify knows how to make a microsite — its hugely popular Spotify Wrapped series began as a microsite and has since become a feature of its mobile app. In 2020, the streaming platform introduced a new microsite to support its Listening Together campaign.

microsite examples: spotify listening together homepage

The microsite features a spinning three-dimensional map of the Earth covered with pins. Each pair of pins represents two users pressing play on the same track at the same moment. When you click a pin, you can hear the song being played, making this microsite a means for discovering new music.

microsite examples: spotify listening together page

Overall, it’s the kind of microsite that only a brand like Spotify could pull off, a clever and heartwarming reminder of how music brings us together.

3. My Creative Type (Adobe)

Adobe’s software suite contains more than a couple of industry-standard tools for visual creatives. Beyond the well-renowned tools it makes, a big force behind Adobe’s success is the brand’s ability to align itself with customers through marketing. The microsite My Creative Type is a prime example.

microsite examples: adobe creative types homepage

On this microsite, visitors complete a short questionnaire to determine their “creative personality.” The 15 questions assess your thinking, behavior, and outlook, each followed by a playful video metaphor for the answer you give.

microsite examples: adobe creative types question page

At the end, you’re given one of eight creative types (I got “the Maker”) and a description of your strengths, potential, motivations, and advice for pursuing creative goals. You can then download your type or share it on social media.

microsite examples: adobe creative types results page

Though it’s not made entirely clear how empirically sound all of this is, it’s still a fun way to bring new aspiring artists into the fold.

4. Emojitracker (Emojipedia)

There’s no “point” to emojitracker.com. It was created by Matthew Rothenberg, former Head of Product at Flickr and Bitly, as an experiment to track all emojis used on Twitter in real-time. Now, it’s maintained as a microsite for Emojipedia.

microsite examples: emoji tracker page

The only calls-to-action on the site are some outgoing links at the very bottom. Otherwise, it’s just for pure interest. With no navigation bar or way to get to another site, it might actually confuse some visitors.

Emojipedia might break some rules of user interface design, but it also shows that microsites don’t need to have complicated designs and that a cool idea can get you pretty far. Make it simple enough to keep people on the page without taking up too much of their time.

5. Elf Yourself (OfficeMax)

I think it’s a rule that you can’t write about microsites without mentioning Elf Yourself, perhaps the most successful microsite of all time. Come the holiday season, expect your inbox to be rife with animations because Elf Yourself isn’t going away.

microsite examples: elf yourself homepage

What made the site so popular in the first place? Well, it’s hilarious. Besides that, the content is easily shareable, the website is simple to use, and it makes the users the stars. You would hardly know this is a corporate-sponsored site.

OfficeMax used the microsite to be creative and let their freak flag fly, and actually pulled it off. The company focused its campaign on the consumers, not the brand — but the sales tie-in came at the end of the Elf Yourself videos in the form of coupons and promos.

6. Blue Heart (Patagonia)

Patagonia is one of the few exceptional brands that not only offers a top-tier customer experience, but goes above and beyond in its advocacy work. In a partnership with Farm League, the company created a microsite to draw attention to environmental harm caused by hydroelectric dams in the Balkan region.

microsite examples: patagonia blue heart homepage

Unlike most other microsites, the Blue Heart website does not include prominent CTAs directing visitors to the main Patagonia website. Instead, it places focus completely on the story being told with various elements: a short film, articles, and an interactive map.

microsite examples: patagonia blue heart information page

It’s rare for brands to put out microsites of this quality — Blue Heart is an engaging, visually rich experience with a mission that goes far beyond generating leads for the business to serve a greater mission.

7. Inside CHANEL (Chanel)

Inside Chanel is a microsite that harnesses multimedia to educate visitors on the company’s history and heritage. The site houses a ton of short, social videos that chronicle the people, places, items, and events that have contributed to the continued success of this iconic fashion brand.

microsite examples: inside chanel homepage

The purpose? “The strategy behind this microsite is to create some accessibility of Chanel’s history, but more importantly, their success throughout the years,” explains Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc.

We love their video-centric approach to visual storytelling. Each video pulls back the curtain and gives you an exclusive look at behind-the-scenes photos and stories as they pertain to different aspects of the brand — color, couture, and so on.

microsite examples: inside chanel article page

This site isn’t Chanel’s first stab at microsite creation. In fact, the brand has experimented with multiple microsite formats, including the editorial-style site Chanel News.

8. Xbox Museum (Microsoft)

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Xbox brand, Microsoft launched the microsite Xbox Museum, a virtual tour of its various consoles throughout the years.

microsite examples: 20 years of xbox homepage

This content-rich site is built around the significant events in Xbox’s history, including console launches, design plans, game releases, and more. You play as a character who navigates a virtual timeline, visiting articles marking each event.

microsite examples: the museum of xbox interface

It’s a unique and fitting way to celebrate such a huge milestone for the business, plus a way to capture the nostalgia of long-time fans and the interest of new ones.

9. Life at Home (Ikea)

2020 and 2021 marked a major shift in where and how we spend our time. To shed light on the intersection of mental health and living space, Ikea published a microsite of original research and ways to be happier at home.

microsite examples: life at home ikea homepage

Throughout the report, readers learn how our mental health, families, and communities have changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasize the role of a comfortable living space and strong relationships in our mental well-being. Other cool elements include a map visualization, videos, and short questions posed to the reader.

microsite examples: a statistic displayed on the ikea life at home microsite

Ikea’s microsite expertly connects the importance of safe living spaces and healthy relationships back to its branding, forming positive associations in the minds of visitors and bringing them closer to a purchase.

10. NASA Spacecraft (NASA)

Let’s be honest, spaceships are probably the coolest thing ever, and NASA knows this. That’s why they launched (pun intended) this microsite: to catalog all of its satellites, from its first in 1960 all the way until its most recent launch, the James Webb Space Telescope.

microsite examples: nasa spacecraft homepage

Each spacecraft has its own three-dimensional visualization that you can rotate and view from various angles, along with a brief description. It’s enough to reignite any kid’s (or adult’s) interest in space research and exploration.

11. Chipotle Farmers Market (Chipotle)

Fast casual dining favorite Chipotle wants you to know that its ingredients are sourced sustainably and ethically from family farms, so it launched a microsite dedicated to supporting them.

microsite examples: chipotle farmers market homepage

The Chipotle Farmers Market is a microsite that lists some of the company’s suppliers and links to their websites where you can purchase their products directly. The site is also a means to advertise the Seed Grants program, which gives $5,000 to 50 farmers under 40.

microsite examples: chipotle farmers market team page

Microsite vs. Website

While microsites are often their own websites, there are a few things that differentiate them from what we usually call websites.

The main difference between a website and a microsite is its purpose. An organization’s website often does many things, including explaining its products or services, sharing its values and mission, and selling products. It’s the main place where visitors, leads, and customers go to learn or do business with you. It’s also probably built in order to drive conversions and encourage visitors to a purchase.

Microsites, on the other hand, could be made for a bunch of different reasons. As Girard explains, microsites are “smaller websites, separate from a company’s corporate website, that enable marketers to quickly build content for and report on the success of a specific initiative.” This initiative could be a campaign, a product launch, an event, or other way to draw in current and potential customers. Still, all microsites are usually focused on brand awareness or conversion. They also typically occupy a different domain or subdomain than the primary website.

Additionally, as their name implies, microsites are typically smaller than full company websites. As we saw in our examples, a microsite could range in size from one page to several, but almost always fewer pages than the main website it’s related to.

Microsite vs. Landing Page

Like microsites, landing pages are focused on a specific goal related to a marketing play. However, a landing page is not a website — it is a single web page within a website intended to inform visitors about an offering and drive conversions.

While landing pages feature minimal design to keep visitors focused on generating leads, microsites encourage exploration and engagement. Microsites aim to build positive connections between people and brands, so visitors are more likely to convert later in their journey.

Microsites: Small But Mighty

At least when it comes to websites, companies don’t like taking risks. The goal is to get visitors from landing to conversion to purchase as seamlessly and as quickly as possible. That’s why businesses spend so much of their resources on design and the user experience.

But, microsites aren’t a company’s main website — that’s the point. As a result, they’re some of the coolest projects on the internet. Microsites are a chance to experiment with new content, promote a unique message, do something offbeat, and, most importantly, create value for visitors.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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