When we talk about conversions, we probably run the risk of generalising what one is. Whilst many will assume a 'conversion' relates only to the ultimate end goal of marketing activity (e.g. a sale), when they’re included in briefs and discussed during meetings, conversions can also relate to intermediary steps to achieve this end goal.

These conversions should be referred to as micro conversions.

Micro conversions are the incremental steps a user may take to show initial interest in your brand/product/service.

Micro conversions can help to build your nurture strategy (reliant on personally identifiable information (PII)) or they can help conversion rate professionals to detect and diagnose weak points in your sales funnel (anonymous data collection) in order to improve it.

Examples of micro conversions in digital marketing

If you think about your business, you’ve probably got a number of consumer touchpoints that could be identified as micro conversions. They are usually the means to an end to nurture your prospect/customer base - sometimes they’re tracked independently via tools like Google Analytics, but quite often they aren’t (when they should be).

Here are some examples of micro conversions which are anonymous:

  • Visit website
  • View category pages of an ecommerce website
  • View product pages
  • Add items to shopping basket
  • Basket abandonment
  • Watch a video
  • Spend X time on website
  • Visit Y number of pages on website

Here are some examples of micro conversions with PII:

  • Sign-up for a newsletter
  • Register for a voucher
  • Create an account
  • Register for a webinar
  • Request a demo
  • Download a resource - e.g. whitepaper, guide, ebook

Micro conversions with PII should involve closed loop reporting

When micro conversions with consumer information is tracked, the results can be displayed numerically and anonymously (e.g. a count / sum of conversions) or as a single customer view. Most marketers will be familiar with standard conversion counting, however from experience it’s clear many have yet to embrace single customer view reporting.

Single customer views typically require a robust CRM system which logs all interactions between customer and business. Marketing automation platforms like Hubspot and Force24 offer this capability in conjunction with personalised and automated marketing communications. If you haven’t seen them in action you should certainly request a demo. More prevalent in B2B markets, they also hold great value to industries like travel where knowing thy customer can offer added value in service levels and recommendations.

Closed loop reporting is the method of ensuring that the micro conversions (like leads) are followed through to final sale whether this is itemised at a single customer view level or aggregated for trend analysis. The resulting assessment of quality, based on conversion rate from micro to macro conversion, can then be established. So when optimising at the micro level, feasible and realistic CPA targets and other KPI benchmarks are easier to obtain and work with.

For businesses where the lead to sale maturing rate can take a while, or where quotes online require offline conversion, it’s important to have a tangible KPI for real-time optimisation and that’s where micro conversions (and their associated targets) come in.

Access to quick data is essential for online optimisation, especially across search and social media where almost instant feedback is available, and decisions can be made in real-time.

Please note that should any PII become obtained or used, then suitable GDPR measures should be in place to protect this information plus ensure it is used compliantly.

Micro conversions can be good for low traffic websites

In some cases website traffic just isn’t large enough to deduce any meaningful insights from the main website goal, or there isn’t enough of these instances to fuel remarketing activity or build lookalike audiences. In these situations micro conversions could be a great way to generate some data that adds a pragmatic approach to your marketing activity.

One way we’ve found this approach to be really useful is with Facebook advertising when the sales volume and/or media budget doesn’t generate enough data for analysis or targeting.

Facebook’s event tracking defaults already include ‘view content,’ ‘add to cart’ and ‘add to wishlist’ actions so wherever possible implement the appropriate ones and to begin with you may have to start with the event / micro conversion which is most likely to occur (e.g. ‘view content’) before channelling down to the micro conversions that are closer to your main goal.

Similarly, with Google’s smart bidding rules, if you don’t have ‘enough conversions’ you are limited with what you can apply. In recent months, the adoption of smart bidding strategies have certainly assisted the success of our client campaigns.

So, the next time you’re discussing conversions consider whether they are macro or micro, and whether all the appropriate micro conversions are being tracked. It’s better to have too much data than not enough, but it’s also important that this data has value to decision making and ROI analysis. If in doubt, speak to an expert!

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Meet the author ...

Kherrin Wade

Strategy Director

Kherrin works with clients to develop effective marketing strategies, whether that's introducing brands to digital for the first time or pushing the boundaries with more ...