Optimize Your Micro Conversions In 3 Simple Steps

September 16, 2010

Macro vs. Micro Conversions

Since the humble beginnings of web analytics back in 1994, there has always been an unhealthy fixation on the conversion rate as a website’s key metric. Understandably so, ecommerce sites often measure the success of their website by the amount of visitors who finally purchase a product. However, as a blog post by Avinash Kaushik advises, it is simply not worth your time to be obsessed with this one, often distorted, number. There are a myriad of other important “micro” conversions on your site that you could and should be focusing on.
micro conversions add up Optimize Your Micro Conversions In 3 Simple Steps
In order to improve the value of your site to your visitors, it is essential to understand why they come to your site in the first place. All visitors are NOT created equal. Each one has his or her own reason for coming to your site and what he or she wishes to gain from it. Remember, most of your visitors probably do not come to make a purchase. If you have a product site, visitors could be trying to find price comparisons, product information, your address or opening times, all preparing for an in-store purchase.

The way we see it, if a visitor lands on your site and signs up for a newsletter, requests a product demo, or fills out a contact us form, then these actions might be worth more than a simple one time conversion. You’ve now got them sticking around for a long term commitment as opposed to a short term transaction. And their loyalty can ignite a growing fan base. Every time a visitor creates buzz about your website through a social network such as Facebook or Twitter, you should count it as a micro conversion. Often, a micro conversion like these can affect your end result much more than a single macro conversion alone.

How not to do it

For example, it is quite possible that a lot of the visitors landing on the American Airlines website are looking for flight arrival and departure information. However, more than a quarter of the AA landing page is devoted to booking while the arrival and departure information is hidden away in their navigation menus.

americanairlines Optimize Your Micro Conversions In 3 Simple Steps

This landing page is clearly designed according to how American Airlines would like visitors to use their website, as opposed to how the visitors themselves would like to use it.

What you can do

The sooner the information above is put into action, the better. Here are three simple steps to get you started:

1. Find out what your visitors want.

Use traditional analytics such as Google Analytics to find out where most of your visitors go, then use In Page analytics such as ClickTale to find out what visitors do once they get there. Do not simply monitor how many visitors land where you want them to land and do what you want them to do. Instead, find out which web pages they want to go to and what they want to achieve. Define which conversions besides your “macro” conversion would be beneficial to your business.

2. Find out which micro conversions work.

You want to highlight the conversions that fulfill both your visitors’ needs and your own. If you notice that many newsletter subscribers end up purchasing a product, then make it easier for visitors to sign up to your newsletter. If you get a lot of traffic from social media, make sure customers can effortlessly promote your site on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Study your successes.

Most conversions are a multi-step process, even micro ones, so start by evaluating each step. If it is easier to get visitors to “tweet this site” than to make a purchase, then that is where your focus should lie. It may take longer to see a return, but Rome was not built in a day and nor is the perfect website.

Macro conversions are still regarded as the key performance indicator of any website. However, by focusing on the micro conversions, you prove your website’s true value for your visitors, ultimately having a long term effect on your bottom line.

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  1. Jeremy Reeves Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Great post… that’s a lesson I think a lot of people forget when looking at conversion numbers.

    Another one is looking at the front-end conversion instead of the entire picture.

    For example only looking at a landing page conversion.. but NOT the conversions that happen AFTER they sign up on a landing page.

    I’ve seen tests where 1 test actually lost on the front-end by about 4%… but overall… won by about 20%.

    Jeremy Reeves

  2. Lanikee Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    This is an awesome tool, I have just recently heard about it and considering using it. This is great how you are illustrating how to use it and how not to, makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing! Lani Kee

  3. ClickTale Blog » Blog Archive » Making First Impressions Count Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    [...] Based entirely on actual user data, Shmuli will show you how to define and optimize your site’s macro and micro conversions according to your visitors’ browsing behavior. Learn how to use visual heatmaps and other [...]

  4. Designing Your Website for $Billion Sales | Analytics Expert Blog Says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    [...] Button: Your checkout button, aka THE MACRO conversion button, on the checkout page is crucial! It should be highly visible, with good color contrast and [...]

  5. Time on Page, Page Load Time: Which do I use? | Analytics Expert Blog Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    [...] with the page, and not just have the browser open on that page. Engagement time can be considered a micro conversion for some websites, and is generally considered a good step towards an overall “macro” [...]

  6. What Do You Want Your Website Visitors To Do? | Business Computing World Says:
    December 21st, 2012 at 8:18 am

    [...] If your website is performing, you might benefit from micro conversion tactics more than choosing a macro project. Remember, it’s not what’s important to you that site visitors care about. Your audience cares about what’s important to them. Consider the following steps to generate better conversions. [...]

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