What is a Micro-Conversion in Web Tracking?


Micro conversions are upstream events that are not purely direct money generators …

… but they are absolutely essential to get people to buy, such as watching a video, downloading a lead magnet, booking a call, setting up a consultation or opting into your email list.

Essentially we are monitoring when someone takes an action that is a key step towards them eventually buying.

Two examples that are really easy to understand are phone calls and reading a sales letter. If your prospect must call to place an order, then every order is preceded with a call and that call is a measurable micro-conversion that actually matters to your company’s profitability. Sure, not everyone buys so you may be receiving more calls than orders. That’s OK, and that’s exactly why the call is the “micro conversion” while the sale is still the “macro conversion”.

Micro-conversions are important because almost no one buys on the first click, the first time they’ve ever seen you. People tend to shop around, think about it, look at alternatives, research, check prices and then come back to your site to learn more.

Measuring Micro-conversions is very similar to measuring brand advertising.

Imagine if you could measure how many times a web visitor saw or heard an ad of yours on TV, radio, newspaper, magazine or billboard before they came to your site. You know that those “impressions” helped advertise and promote your company, get the prospect’s attention and then get them to your website, yet there’s no “buy” button on a TV, radio or newspaper so how can you correlate the effectiveness of brand campaigns with purchases?

If it were possible to track those offline promotions inside your analytics or PPC account, you would record that as a micro-conversion.

In a similar fashion, when someone watches your video, or reads a certain web page, or downloads your free guide, PDF, ebook, or uses your calculator, or takes your quiz, they are not actually taking the #1 primary Macro-conversion action you want them to take (make a purchase or become a qualified lead), but you know that when they engage in those other activities, they are moving closer down the pathway toward becoming a customer.

Each one of their steps down that path can be counted as a Micro-conversion.

Logically, most people take the first step before they take the last step.

(and since some people never complete the journey, that also means more people take the first step then the last)

Just like a newspaper ad,  TV commercial or billboard, a micro-commitment on your website might be the first step most of your users take when they visit your website for the first time. It might even be the one and only thing that causes them to engage with your site at all. For example maybe the first time they come to your site its to take a quiz. Only later to they buy.

The danger of not counting Micro-conversions is that as you proceed with optimizing your PPC account, you will actually reduce your traffic by optimizing away all of the campaign elements that are bringing cold traffic to  your site initially. In our example above, where people come to your site to take a quiz and then purchase later, this would be like measuring only the final purchase and slowly squeezing out the campaigns that are causing people to come take your quiz in the first place.


About the author

Digital Marketing Consultant, AdWords PPC Traffic Specialist and certified ASK Method Associate. My goal is to deliver the best start-to-finish high-performance digital marketing my clients could ever hope for.