If you want to fully optimize your sales funnel, then you need to track micro conversions.
In this article, I’ll explain micro conversions and why you should track them. I’ll also explain how you can track micro conversions without spending one dime on a new tool.
What Are Micro Conversions?
In a nutshell, micro conversions are the baby-steps that people take on their way to make a purchase.
For example, let’s say you’re running an e-commerce site. Somebody visits your website and clicks “Shop Now” to browse through your catalog.
That’s a micro conversion.
Then, that same visitor browses around your catalog and clicks on a product link to view the detail page.
That’s a micro conversion.
When viewing the product detail page, the shopper clicks on the “Add to Cart” button.
That’s a micro conversion.
Later on, that person clicks on the “Checkout” button at the top of the page to complete the purchase.
That’s a micro conversion.
Those are all steps along the buyer’s journey to the point of sale.
However, there are other kinds of micro conversions that don’t necessarily take place during the sales cycle.
For example, if a website visitor downloads your white paper or a follower on social media engages with one of your posts, those are micro conversions as well.
Why is it important to track micro conversions? Because it’s unlikely that most visitors will convert on their first visit, and you want to “grease the skids” during the customer journey.
Micro conversions keep people in your target market engaged with your brand and moving along in the sales funnel at each step. That’s how you’ll maximize revenue.
Macro vs. Micro Conversions
Now that I’ve covered micro conversions, let me explain macro conversions.
The macro conversion is the “big boy” in terms of conversions. That’s the one you really want.
It’s the fulfillment of the main purpose of your website. It might be clicking on an ads, buying a product, completing a lead form, signing up for a free trial, or some other similar course of action.
Usually, though, it’s a sale.
Let’s continue with the example above. Suppose that shopper decided to go through the checkout process and complete the purchase. That’s a macro conversion.
Or, sometimes, it’s just called a “conversion.”
The goal of every micro conversion is to lead each user down the path to a macro conversion.
Different Types of Micro Conversions
Next, let’s go over some of the different types of micro conversions.
- Video play – There are several different types of videos you can use in your marketing. Examples include YouTube videos, landing page videos, or videos on product detail pages. In any case, they represent micro conversions that you’ll want to track.
- Pages per visit – How “sticky” is your website? You can measure that by looking at the number of pages people view per visit. Visitors who bounce away after looking at just one page for a few seconds aren’t very engaged with your brand.
- Time on site – Another way to determine how much people appreciate what you’re offering online is to look at the amount of time they spend on the site. The more time they browse around, the more likely they’ll become paying customers.
- Dwell time – It’s often the case that people will find your site as a result of a search query. But how long do they spend on your website before returning to the search engine results pages (SERPs)? The answer to that question is your dwell time metric.
- Landing on location page – If you’re running a brick and mortar business, you’ll need a location page on your website. People who visit that page are expressing an interest in your brand and taking a step that might result in a purchase.
- Email capture – Although people who volunteer their email addresses aren’t necessarily going to become customers, they do demonstrate some level of engagement. They’re also great candidates for remarketing.
- Click to see directions – People who click to see directions are similar to the crowd who views your location page. They’re interested in visiting your store.
- File downloads – You might offer documents on your website. When people download those files, they’re telling you that they’re interested in your business.
- Add to cart – People who add a product to a virtual shopping cart are one step closer to a macro conversion. That’s a stat you definitely want to track if you’re running an ecommerce site.
- Blog comments – Even though blog comments aren’t a necessary step to a completed purchase, people who leave comments show an interest in your website content. That’s probably because they’re in your target market.
- Social media shares – Folks who share what you post on social media are brand evangelists. They’ll help build your business empire free of charge.
- Account creation – Visitors who create an account on your website are very interested in doing business with you at some point in the future.
- Click to call – It’s convenient when people can call your business by just tapping once on a smartphone screen. It also shows that they’d like to become a customer.
- Shop now – If you’re running an ecommerce site, you almost certainly have a front page that highlights some of your hottest deals. You’ve also got a “Shop Now” button that visitors can click to start going through your catalog. You’ll want to track that micro conversion.
- Checkout – When your visitors are done shopping, they’ll go through the beautiful process of surrendering some of their money over to you. The first step of that journey is when they click the “Checkout” button.
- View product detail page – Before people buy anything, they’ll want to view the product detail page. That’s where they’ll see high-res images of the product, an enhanced description, customer reviews, and maybe even a video.
- Add product to wishlist – Almost all ecommerce sites offer a “wishlist” feature. That’s a list of products that a shopper wants to buy at some point in the future. When customers add a product to a wishlist, they’re saying, “I’m interested, but not right now.”
- Pricing page views – If you’re running an online service like Quickbooks or SEMRush, people will almost always check your pricing page before they sign on with your service. That’s a micro conversion you should track.
Which Micro Conversions to Track?
Now that you know a bit more about micro conversions, you might be wondering which ones you should track.
What kind of a website do you have? The answer to that question will determine the micro conversions you should follow.
- News site – When you’re running a news site, you’re trying to “sell” your brand. You’ll do that by producing viral content that keeps people coming back for more. That’s why you should track metrics such as email captures, video plays, time on site, pages per visit, returning customers, blog comments, and social media shares.
- Local business – The name of the game here is to get people in the door. That’s why you should track clicks for directions, clicks to call, and location page landings.
- E-commerce site – Your macro conversion on an e-commerce site is a sale. You should track micro conversions like adding a product to a wishlist, adding a product to the shopping cart, clicking the “Shop Now” link, clicking the “Checkout” button, viewing the product detail page, and creating an account.
- Consultancy or service – You’re using your website for content marketing and to find prospects. Track email captures, video plays, returning visitors, and pages per visit.
- Software as a service – You offer software that runs in the cloud and requires no installation. Track free sign-ups, pricing page views, email captures, and account creations.
How to Track Micro Conversions
There are a couple of ways you can track micro conversions. Both of them involve the use of Google Analytics.
The first option requires Google Tag Manager as well. That’s because you’ll track your micro conversions as events.
Events are user interactions with your site. An ad click, document download, page view, and video play are all examples of events that you can track with GTM and GA.
Once that’s done, you’ve got the framework in place. It’s time to create events that track micro conversions.
Go through the list above and find a micro conversion that’s relevant to your site. Create a trigger and a GA event tracking tag for that event.
For example, let’s say you run an e-commerce site and you want to track clicks to the “Checkout” link. Head over to GTM and click on “Variables” on the left-hand menu. Check the box next to “Click URL.”
Click “Triggers” to create a new trigger. Complete the settings so that you’re firing the event on all clicks. Save the trigger with a name that you’ll remember.
Next, click “Tags.” Choose “Universal Analytics” for the tag and name it something descriptive. Again, save it.
Once you’ve completed the trigger and tag, publish the tag.
Now, you’ll track that event on Google Analytics. That will give you some insight into how many people are clicking the “Checkout” link.
For a more exhaustive overview of GTM, be sure to check out our tutorial.
There’s another way to track micro conversions in GA: with the aid of goals.
Usually, people set up goals in Google Analytics to track macro conversions. But there’s no reason you can’t set them up to track micro conversions as well.
There are a few different kinds of goals you can set up in GA:
- Destination – when the visitor goes to a specific URL
- Duration – when the visitor stays on the page for a specified length of time
- Pages per session – when the visitor visits a specific number of pages on the site
- Event – when the user triggers an event (see above)
You can also use goals to set up funnels. That’s especially important if you’re tracking micro conversions.
In case you’re unfamiliar with GA funnels, they’re various steps that visitors follow on the way to a macro conversion. Unsurprisingly, there’s a direct mapping between funnel steps and micro conversions.
GA also makes your life easier by offering goal templates. That way, you don’t always have to create a goal from scratch.
Let’s say you want to create a goal to track people who visit the checkout page on your e-commerce website. Start by heading over to Google Analytics, selecting your web property, and clicking ADMIN on the left-hand menu.
In the View column, click Goals. A new page will appear with a table in the middle of the screen.
Click +NEW GOAL at the top of the table. Select Custom at the bottom and click Continue.
Enter a descriptive name for your goal and click the radio button next to Destination. Click Continue.
For your goal details, enter the URL of the checkout page. You can leave Value and Funnel off for now.
If you do turn on the funnel, though, you’ll have the opportunity to add other steps in the sales journey. That’s where you would include additional micro conversions.
Finally, click Save.
There you have it. Now you’re tracking the checkout micro conversion.
Visualizing Your Micro Conversions Data
At this point, whether you’re using GTM or just GA, Google Analytics is tracking your micro conversions. You need to monitor the data.
Fortunately, GA provides reports so you can view your event or goal analytics.
To view events from within GA, start by clicking on BEHAVIOR on the left-hand sidebar. Then, select Events from the drop-down menu that appears and click Overview.
You can also choose to view Top Events, Pages, and the Events Flow.
You can view goals within GA by clicking on CONVERSIONS on the left-hand sidebar. Then, select Goals and choose Overview from the drop-down menu that appears.
You’ll see that there are other ways that you can view goal conversions as well (Goal URLs, Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visualization, etc.).
You don’t have to use Google Analytics to view the data, though. That’s because Google offers the Data Studio marketing platform that you can use to aggregate data from different sources, including GA.
Then, you can view all your data, in visual format, right there in the dashboard.
You’ll find that Data Studio is especially helpful if you’re crunching numbers from a variety of different services. The tool integrates not only with Google Analytics, but also with MySQL, YouTube, Google Sheets, and Google Ads.
To top it all off, Data Studio enables you to share your data with partners and co-workers.
No matter how you choose to follow your metrics, you should always follow the clear path from your micro conversions to your macro conversions.
Look for weak spots where an unusually high percentage of visitors are “dropping off.” Address those vulnerabilities.
And remember the ABT principle: Always Be Testing.
Wrapping It Up Micro Conversions
Now you know a little bit more about micro conversions and their importance in the sales journey. If you haven’t already started tracking them, why not get the ball rolling today?