APEX Insight: Airlines are building microsites to guide users around a new product or campaign, while offering an interactive digital experience of their brand.
For those of us who couldn’t experience Singapore Airlines’ premium economy class seating first-hand when it was unveiled at a press conference, the airline’s microsite offered the next best thing.
The landing page image shows champagne being poured into a glass – a perfect welcome since the airline will be serving Ernest Rapeneau in the premium class. Click on the Discover button and the tour commences. Scrolling or swiping down keeps the narration going, while gentle animations fade in and out to highlight functionality and new seating features. When the tour ends, the call to action “Search Flights” appears.
“A microsite is a perfect solution for establishing an exclusive space for users to interact with your campaign or product,” digital designer Luke Clum wrote on Creative Bloq. “Instead of offering many navigational options like a full website, it drives users to one specific purpose or goal.”
“Pageless design frees websites from the outdated conventions of print design and fully utilizes the digital platform they’re built on,” web designer Nathan B. Weller writes in “8 Reasons Why Pageless Design is the Future of the Web.” In addition to being simpler to use, easier and cheaper to build, responsive and mobile-friendly, APEX narrows down the pros of single-page, or pageless microsites and showcases the airlines and aircraft manufacturers that are already ahead on the trend.
1) Seamless Storytelling
Like Singapore Airlines’ microsite which uses structural navigation, Delta Air Lines leveraged the linear flow of a microsite to list the services of its premium check-in lounge, Delta One @ LAX, giving full attention to each feature, one by one. Air Malta launched a microsite for its 40th anniversary to share the airline’s rich history with passengers, and SWISS took the user into its World with parallax scrolling effects that dodge in and out of clouds to tell its brand story.
“A microsite has the power to highlight a product, launch a promotion or augment a marketing campaign in a way that full websites or more traditional marketing cannot,” says Lum. “The single or small collection of pages these sites consist of is meant to engage user interaction while conveying information in a creative way.”
2) Singular Focus and SEO
With flashy graphics, multimedia features, a web magazine and the constant addition of news devoted to the aircraft, Airbus’s online hub for the A350 XWB acts as a digital showroom and invites the user to really delve into the aircraft’s microcosm. Being hosted at a different URL, the microsite can flourish without displacing importance from the home brand, and its focus on a single topic helps the website reach better SEO and rank higher in Google searches.
3) Microsite Maskery
Microsites also allow a brand to deviate from their clean, corporate image, as in the case of All Nippon Airways when it revealed its R2-D2 Star Wars-themed livery. Instead of donning a Star Wars skin on its landing page, it hosted an auxiliary website that didn’t have to hold back on the Star Wars geekery, which when compared side by side, are planets apart.
Adding to these examples are Southwest’s rebranding, Cathay Pacific’s Life Well Travelled and Fiji Airways’ Our Home that use microsites to generate excitement around short-lived, impactful marketing campaigns. “When you land on a pageless site you are immediately immersed in the opening lines of a great story,” Weller continues to write. “The ultra simplified design gets out of the visitors’ way and the story you’re trying to tell takes centerstage for the entire journey through the site.”