September 17, 2013

To Embed or Not to Embed – Which is Best for Your Business?

To Embed Or Not To Embed?This guest post is brought to you by Formstack, a powerful form builder that requires no coding knowledge whatsoever.

Many web apps market their ability to be embedded in your website or opened in a new tab. For example, YouTube videos can be shared by copying and pasting a few lines of code into your site, but you can also link to the video on YouTube itself. My company, Formstack, allows users to create an online form, which they can either drop into their site via generated HTML or open on its own page.

Consumer-focused apps (like YouTube, PayPal, Bravo and many more) offer users this flexibility, but how do you know which option is most appropriate for your marketing goals? Here are a few tips for deciding whether to embed your content or link it to a third-party page:

Embedding Your Content

The Pro: Better Branding – By embedding something on your existing website, whether it be a form, a video, or a payment link, you are seamlessly integrating this app with your branding. Users can interact with the app without leaving your site, making your brand look more user-friendly and professional. It also drives traffic to your site, since users have to visit to fill out the form.

The Con: Might Require Additional Coding – With some content management systems, it’s quite simple to drop in a few lines of code and manipulate your site to accommodate this new content. However, some systems are more user-friendly than others. You might find that, when you go to embed external content in your site, it might not be as simple as you thought. Extra coding might be required to position the content in the way you imagined.

Might be best for:

  • Contact Signups. Embed a contact form in your website for a quick lead generation opportunity.
  • Larger Campaigns. If you’re running a larger marketing or sales campaign with multiple tabs and pages, embedded content will reinforce your message by keeping users on your site.

Linking Your Content

The Pro: More Shareable – If you don’t need to send your user to your website, a single webpage with the app you need can be very effective. Oftentimes, you can still customize the logo or colors on the page to align with your brand.

The Con: Might Confuse Users – By directing your user to a third-party page, you might risk confusion if the user was expecting to see your website. For example, if you direct users to a Bravo video microsite for a contest you are hosting, make sure you include strong content that reinforces your brand.

Might be best for:

  • Contests and Smaller Campaigns. A straightforward page, with no links other than a call-to-action (like a payment button), can ensure that your users won’t be distracted by other links on your website.
  • Multi-page Forms. If you have a form that will direct users through multiple pages, it’s sometimes best to open it in a separate tab. This type of form sometimes includes additional coding to integrate the way you want it to.

Which type of content method do you prefer? Have you had a bad experience with either? Send me a question or comment via Twitter @evachristine09.

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