What are micro conversions – and why should you be using them?
Every digital marketer’s ultimate goal is to turn a user into a paying customer. This kind of conversion is the ultimate measure of success.
But when it comes to conversion rate optimisation (CRO), sometimes it’s the little gains that build up to the big wins. Micro conversions can play an important role in the larger conversion process – and the data they deliver can give us incredibly valuable insights into the effectiveness of our sales and marketing funnels.
A quick introduction to micro conversions
As we all know, the typical web user doesn’t usually follow a straight line to any given call to action.
A micro conversion is an incremental step in the buyer’s journey that shows initial interest in your product or service, and that either directly or indirectly encourages them to interact with your business. It’s one of the small yet just as important processes that have to take place on the user’s journey to entice them into completing your desired call to action.
For context, a macro conversion is the ‘bigger’ conversion: the sign up, the new enquiry, the online purchase.
Unlike macro conversions, micro conversions don’t normally lead to an outright profit, or a tangible ROI. But they can:
- Prove that your users are enjoying, engaging with, or appreciative of whatever it is you are trying to promote
- Help to add extra value to the user experience
- Provide you with interesting data that can be used to inform your CRO strategy
There are two types of micro conversions:
These are the stages that support the conversion process; the steps that a user takes before they complete a macro conversion.
Examples of process milestones include landing page visits and wish-list interactions.
Secondary milestones are actions that don’t necessarily lead directly to conversions but do tell us that users are interested in what the business has to offer.
Examples of these types of micro conversions include video views, white paper downloads, blog subscriptions, content shares on social media and comments on articles.
How do micro conversions fit into the bigger picture?
If, like many of our clients, you’re converting between 5% and 10% of your total website traffic into paying customers, you’re justified in saying your campaign is a success. (This is highly unlikely, though, as the average web conversion rate across all industries is just 2.35%!).
As long as your return on investment (ROI) is healthy, all is well, isn’t it?
As long as your business is getting what it needs from your paid search efforts, that’s all that matters, right?
As well as celebrating your wins, you need to be looking at what’s been happening to the rest of the users who haven’t completed your call to action.
You should be identifying what it is that’s preventing these people from contacting you or buying from you, then using this this information to address any obvious weaknesses in your approach.
Some examples of how specific micro conversions can fit into the customer journey – and ultimately lead to more sales or enquiries
The micro conversions generated by your non-converting audience will tell you a lot about what they’re responding well to, and which parts of your website or your sales funnel might be letting you down. Here are some examples of how the data collected from micro conversions can be used to your advantage.
If your analytics suite is telling you that most of your users are dropping out of their journey on a particular web page, this might prompt you to analyse its design and content in more detail to understand why it’s being received so negatively, then make changes that will improve its effectiveness.
If you have produced a slick product tutorial, and you’ve added it to your landing page in the hope it will convince your prospects to click that all-important ‘Buy it Now’ button, you can determine whether the video is helpful to your users by monitoring how many people go on to complete conversion after viewing it. If very few make a purchase after sitting through several minutes of your content, perhaps you could explore presenting the information in a different format.
Email newsletter signups
If you’ve developed a logical email funnel that’s designed to educate and nurture your readers, you need to encourage people to sign up to your monthly newsletter. Signups equal solid interest in your brand and your business, and you can use future newsletter content to build trust and share news and insights that could eventually encourage a macro conversion.
If you’re offering extra value to your visitors in the form of digital ebooks, white papers, case studies or other timely content, tracking how many people are actively downloading these assets will give you a good idea of how many people are curious about what you have to offer, but not quite ready to buy yet.
To utilise this micro conversion even further, you can gate your content by requiring the user to enter their email address or phone number in exchange for your work. You can then add their details to your database and place the user into your marketing funnel (with their consent, of course).
Need help creating powerful lead magnets? Remember, we offer a dedicated content creation service!
If somebody takes the time to share and link to your website on a social media platform, or simply mention your brand on their profile, you can assume they are either a customer already, or are so impressed with your product or service that they are thinking about becoming a customer in the future.
But, of course, social sharing can be used to frame businesses negatively as well as positively. We would recommend using a tool like Hootsuite to collect mentions of your brand, then checking them from time to time to make sure these social mentions aren’t damaging your company image. If you do spot bad feedback, deal with it quickly and diplomatically.
Progress at the checkout stage
A customer entering into the checkout process can be counted as a micro conversion, as it’s setting them on their way to a confirmed purchase. But if an individual abandons their cart before making payment, it can be useful to know where and when they lost interest. If the stats tell you that a high percentage of users are dropping out of the conversion at a certain point, improvements may need to be made to this section of your site from a design, copy or UX perspective.
(Obviously you want to achieve the lowest drop off rate possible – but don’t be disheartened if your cart abandonment rates seem to be undesirably high. A report by Barilliance in 2018 found that 73% of desktop users leave a website without checking out with their goods, and this figure is even higher for tablet and smartphone users.)
Progress filling in a form
If somebody is taking the time to fill out an application or enquiry form on your site, it’s safe to say they’re a warm lead. But what if they give up halfway through? And what if the data tells you a lot of people are giving up at the same point in the process? At this point, you should be using this information to improve and optimise your forms. It might make sense to reduce the number of fields the customer needs to fill out or make certain fields optional instead of mandatory by asterisking them.
If a user has requested an interaction from your team, they must have seen something on your site that has got their attention. This is a strong micro conversion in that it:
Indicates that the person is ready to talk, and they’re ready to talk now
Places the fate of the customer in your hands.
Remember, once you have received the callback request, it’s in your best interests to reply to it as soon as possible, and make sure that the person who handles the lead is qualified to do so. Delivering an excellent customer experience at this stage could be the difference between making a conversion and letting the lead slip through your fingers.
Deciding which micro conversions are important to your business
There’s no point in implementing and tracking every micro conversion known to man. You need to concentrate on the ones that are going to best support your user’s experience (and provide you with strong behavioural and performance data).
If you’re not sure which micro conversions you should be looking at, think first about what a macro conversion looks like to your company, then work backwards by considering the influence that each micro step can potentially have on the conversion process.
Step 1: Decide what you want to achieve from your campaign, and what your main KPIs are. For example, maybe you want to capture more market share, or perhaps you simply want to earn more revenue.
Step 2: Consider what kinds of macro conversion will help you achieve your KPI. If you’re more concerned about increasing your visibility and credibility in the wider market, you’ll want to build a strong email list by encouraging newsletter signups and having the opportunity to nurture your relationships with these engaged users over time. If you want to make more sales directly from your website to hit your new targets, direct buys will be more valuable to you at this stage.
Step 3: Think about the barriers your potential customers are facing during the conversion process, and what you could do to nudge them towards making a purchase, sending off an enquiry or setting up a subscription.
Tracking micro conversions
Once you have determined which micro conversions are important to your business, you can track them in Google Analytics by setting up each one as an event, or by ensuring that certain behaviours and responses are triggered using Google Tag Manager. You can also track individual website visitors by setting up each step in their journey as a goal.
This information can, of course, be useful in itself – but it becomes even more valuable when it can be compared and cross-referenced with other metrics in your analytics dashboard.
Not sure if you’re using micro conversions correctly within your landing pages?
Convinced that something needs improving, but can’t put your finger on exactly what needs to change?
Contact Multi Layer Media. Our team will happily carry out a FREE landing page audit and suggest tweaks that will lead to better results and a higher ROI.