Micro conversions have always been around, but their importance has gone largely unnoticed by marketers until recently. If the term “micro conversion” is foreign to you, keep reading. We’ll cover what micro conversions are, why they are important, and what to do with the data they provide.

What is a “micro conversion”?

Simply put, a micro conversion is a customer action that is either a step towards a macro conversion or a secondary conversion. A macro conversion (typically a transaction or lead generation) can be made up of several micro conversions. The buyer journey is much more involved than a customer landing on your site, clicking “Checkout” and paying you money. If you have a business like that, please share your secret! For the rest of us, there are typically other steps that customers have to take prior to converting. These “other steps” are referred to as “micro conversions”. You can think of micro conversions in two different ways: steps towards conversions and secondary conversions.

Steps towards conversions

Just like the name suggests, these micro conversions are the different actions your customers take that lead them to your main conversion goal (giving you money). Examples of this would be adding an item to their cart, scheduling a demo, downloading a whitepaper, etc.

Secondary conversions

Secondary conversions are actions the customer takes that don’t result in an immediate conversion, but strongly indicate intention of future conversions. Examples of this would be creating an account with your website or downloading a coupon.

How do you find a micro conversion?

Let’s look at one of Qualbe’s clients as an example. 1Dental is a business that sells dental plans to individuals. If you look at the homepage, your eye will be drawn to the “Search by Zip Code” box.
1Dental Website
We want 1Dental customers to see what the best plan is for their area. By putting their zip code into that field and clicking “See Plans,” are customers generating a macro conversion? No. They’re generating a micro conversion! By searching within their zip code, the customer has taken their first step towards a macro conversion (buying a plan). Identifying micro conversions just requires that you are aware of the sales journey your customers have to make. Pretend you are your own customer: go through your own sales funnel and identify all of the actions you have to take to generate a full conversion. Those are your micro conversions!

Why do micro conversions matter?

A thought you might be having is, “If micro conversions don’t directly impact my bottom line, then why pay attention to them?” That’s a fair thought. Let’s take a brief look at some numbers. The average online conversion rate (across all industries) is 2.35%. That means 97.65% of customers aren’t converting when they land on a website. I’m no statistician, but that seems to be the overwhelming majority. Knowing how this fact relates to micro conversions is crucial to growing your business. By tracking micro conversions, you gain tremendous insight into what 97.65% of customers are doing on your website. Think about it: your customers are doing something on your website. Micro conversions provide a framework that tells you what those “things” are. When you notice what actions your customers are taking on your website, you can go to work on smoothing out your conversion funnel. Customer actions (or lack thereof) tell you where they are getting stuck, what information they feel they need, what steps they are ignoring, and a lot more. Experienced marketers know how valuable this information is and use it!

What are some typical micro conversions?

Although it varies depending on your goal, market, and strategy, there are several micro conversions that are almost universally tracked:
  • eBook/Whitepaper downloads: Sometimes this is the site’s macro conversion, but often resource downloads are a source of lead gen and education for the customer. When someone downloads one of your resources, they are showing interest in your product or service.
  • Video plays: Do you have any videos on your website? If so, track the number of plays! Interaction with what’s on the page is one of the top ways that customers show you what they’re looking for.
  • Form fills: Although you undoubtedly know the raw number of form fills you’re getting, you may not be able to assign a specific form fill back to an AdWords keyword or ad. If you’re tracking micro conversions in Google Analytics, then you’re that much closer to being able to see what keyword the customer searched and what ad they clicked on (this is great information when optimizing your AdWords account!).
  • View cart/Checkout buttons: It’s important to know if people begin the checkout process, especially if they don’t finish the checkout process. If you see a lot of customers beginning to checkout then leave the site or back out of the cart, you might have just discovered a problem that your customers are having. Dig deeper and see what you find!
Again, micro conversions may look different for you and your site. Pretend you’re a customer and make your own buyer’s journey to find out what your micro conversions should be

How to use micro conversion data?

The previous section already hinted at it, but to speak more specifically on this point, micro conversions are mainly used to understand your customer’s journey to converting and making it better. It’s important to know if your customer’s aren’t taking certain actions you expected them to or vice versa. You can take this information and determine what you might try optimizing on your website to increase overall conversions. For example, if you notice almost all your converting customers also took some action (like searching for your product’s availability within their zip code), then you might look further and see how many of your total customers are taking that action. From the 1Dental example above, let’s say you look further and see only 10% of all of your customers are putting in their zip code. You might consider testing whether there is a correlation between customers searching within their zip code and converting by making it necessary for customers to put in their zip code. By tracking micro conversions, you can find correlations between certain customer actions and whether or not they convert. Since micro conversions lead to macro conversions, increasing your “micro conversion rate” could drastically improve your overall conversion rate.

Conclusion

It would take a whole other blog post to explain how to set up micro conversion tracking (look below for some examples), but this post should show you the importance of paying attention to micro conversions. Are you already tracking micro conversions? Do you still have questions about the benefits of tracking micro conversions? Leave your comments below!

Extra resources

Here are some extra resources to help you get started: