By virtue of a microsite being a "site," it has random, go-anywhere navigation. That's not too conducive to inducing conversion when the goal is to capture the interest of someone who clicked on a simple message from a banner or paid search ad. When we take someone who clicked on a little ad and dump them into a microsite, we're putting the burden of discovery and conversion on the user to find something of interest and convert on it.
Will users who land surf around a bit? Sure, some will. Will they interact with your engaging content? Sure, some will. If it's cool enough, they might even pass it along. But will they convert?
Conversion paths are an alternative to microsites and provide users with a scripted, campaign-specific online experience that leads them down a short path to the point of conversion. Conversion paths are focused and direct, without the distraction of random-access navigation or too many choices and options. They use simple pages and simple choices in a directed, linear path—much like a decision tree—that serve to pitch and persuade users along the path to conversion.
When the goal of your campaign is to drive conversions, a "conversion path" is a simple, focused landing experience that might be a better strategy.
Anna Talerico is exec VP at ion interactive (www.ioninteractive.com), a provider of marketing software and services.