Microsite or Landing Page: What’s the Difference?

Posted on: February 16th, 2018

Microsites and landing pages are two forms of online marketing tools, each with their own unique uses and benefits. When deciding how to accomplish your business goals, it’s important to understand their differences and how to maximize their features.

Microsites Defined

A microsite, true to its name, is a small mini-website that lives on its own domain and creates an experience, usually relating to one topic. Generally consisting of between three and thirty pages, a microsite acts as a hub for your marketing efforts for that particular topic. A property management company with 20 properties, for example, might create a unique microsite for each property. Each microsite would contain a homepage, gallery page, an about the property page and a contact page. This gives visitors a one-stop-shop for the property they’re interested in, cutting down on unnecessary clutter or information they might not find relevant.

The most effective microsites are interactive, tell a story that’s compelling and concise and offer a call to action on each page. One of our favorite examples of a successful microsite is Spotify’s Your 2017 Wrapped site. The website is completely separate from Spotify.com, and its interactive features give users a personalized experience that’s gone viral on social media while also increasing listenership rates for their music streaming service.

The upsides:

  • Drive more traffic with easy-to-remember URLs
  • Lower your bounce rate with content that’s tailored to your campaign
  • Tell a cohesive story in one place
  • Robust functionality similar to a website

The downsides:

  • More labor-intensive to set up and maintain than a single landing page
  • Calls to action can get lost in denser content
  • Distributing content across multiple URLs can dilute your main sites SEO equity

The Lowdown on Landing Pages

Unlike a microsite, a landing page is a single page that’s connected to your business’ main website but not in the website’s primary navigation, usually in a format like www.YourDomain.com/LandingPage or LandingPage.YourDomain.com. The purpose of a landing page is to convey very specific information to accomplish one goal. Visitors are most frequently met with an offer to download a file, fill out a contact form, sign up for a service or free trial, subscribe to a newsletter or purchase a product. Because landing pages are set up specifically for conversions, they are not listed in the navigation to deter traffic from the general website. This allows traffic to be tracked back to a specific source, i.e. social, paid search ads, e-blasts, billboards or other collateral that lists the landing page link.

According to a survey by CrownPeak, “Tying an online ad or piece of email marketing directly to a customized landing page that acknowledges the initial communication and has a specific call to action can improve lift by 40%.” A great example of a successful landing page is this one for SproutSocial, which was developed specifically for users who click on their Google ads. The landing page can only be accessed via ad click-through, but it links to other useful resources within the main SproutSocial website. It also includes concise, relevant info, eye-catching graphics and free trial and demo CTAs.

The upsides:

  • Quick setup
  • Higher conversion rate than general website
  • Lower cost than microsites

The downsides:

  • Very narrow messaging intended for one specific audience
  • Limited space and versatility compared to a microsite

Understand the Difference

Weighing the benefits of microsite vs. a landing page largely depends on your audience and business goals. If you need an interactive, versatile experience with multiple calls to action, a microsite is your best bet. If you want to drive traffic from ads or another outside source to encourage leads, conversions or downloads, a landing page is a great choice. To discuss the differences, contact Eyesore – your digital overflow, rural outsourcing partner.