What Are Micro Conversions and How You Should Use Them

Written by Ben Jacobson / September 10, 2014

A content and social media marketing specialist, Ben Jacobson joined the Lean Labs team in the summer of 2014. Ben has been active as a digital branding professional since the early days of social media, having overseen projects for brands including MTV, National Geographic, Zagat and Wix. His writing has appeared in Social Media Explorer, Search Engine Journal, Techwyse and the Mad Mimi Blog. Ben resides just south of the Carmel Mountain ridge in Israel with his dashing wife and two sprightly descendants.

Successful digital marketers pay a whole lot of attention to their sites' conversion metrics. Conversions are the fuel that powers everything else they are doing.

Measurement of your marketing ROI, and therefore all marketing and content decision-making, essentially comes back to conversion tracking.

Using Micro Conversions to Track Important KPIs

The problem is too many inbound marketing teams measure only one type of conversion metric, sales. They therefore don’t get a holistic picture of their marketing performance.

Studies show that, in general, the average website boasts a conversion rate somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.3%. However, focusing disproportionately on the 2.3% of visitors who make purchases means ignoring the 97.7% who have seen your site and may be well on their way towards doing business with you too.

Just because they didn't enter their credit card doesn't mean they're useless to you. A wiser approach involves tracking onsite actions non-customers are taking which might eventually lead to sales.

Micro conversion metrics and the buyer's journey

To close sales, you need to build trust, establish authority, and start building relationships; one step at a time. If your buyer's journey and conversion funnel are structured to be supported by your site's user experience, the process of building relationships with visitors can and should be tracked via any number of less momentous conversions, hence the label "micro conversions."

When visitors come to your site, they are usually searching for a solution to a problem they have. They are likely to do some research and price comparison before they make a decision about buying. If they are interested in your product, they will take actions which demonstrate their interest.

For instance, a potential customer may sign up for your company newsletter, ask a question via a contact form, subscribe to your blog feed, follow your brand on social media, create a login account, add products to a wish list/shopping cart or download a brochure or whitepaper. These actions are among the many micro conversions worth tracking.

How to use micro conversions

One way to leverage micro conversion metrics is to identify where customers drop out of the conversion funnel, then make adjustments accordingly.

For example, if customers consistently create accounts but don’t return to browse your products, something must be turning them off.

What can be done to re-engage them?

Analysis of the on-boarding process and website interface may reveal opportunities for improvement.

Another opportunity that micro conversions afford you is segmentation according to acquisition channel. You may find that Pinterest is excellent for influencing visitors to sign up for your newsletter or that search referrals lead to more account creations. This allows you to take a more nuanced approach to your marketing and SEO efforts.

Enabling better sales conversion tracking

When calculating your sales conversion rates, don’t simply divide transaction volume by the number of total visitors. Rather, remove the visitors who micro converted from the total number and then look for the percentage that made a purchase.

This will give you more accurate figures on how many visitors are becoming potential customers, how many are becoming actual customers and how many are leaving your website without having given you any value at all.

When it comes to inbound marketing, which calls for relationship building over time, ROI and effectiveness can't be measured according to sales metrics alone. By segmenting your site visitors according to funnel stages, you'll put yourself in the best possible position to nurture relationships and keep your audience members progressing along the sales funnel.


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