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Micro vs Macro Conversions: An Explainer

In digital marketing, understanding the difference between micro and macro conversions is essential. But don’t worry, we’re going to explain why and make it nice and easy to understand.

Micro conversions are small actions taken by users on a website or app that indicate progress towards a larger goal, such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading an ebook.

Whereas, Macro conversions are the ultimate business goals for a user’s journey – the most obvious examples include:

  • Making a purchase or
  • completing a registration form.

By tracking both micro and macro conversions, marketers can gain insight into how users interact with their products and services and make informed decisions about their campaigns.

What is a Micro Conversion?

As above: a micro conversion is a small action taken by a user on a website that indicates progress towards a larger goal.

In layman’s terms, some easy-to-understand examples would be:

  • signing up for an email newsletter,
  • downloading an ebook,
  • or watching a video

They don’t necessarily generate immediate revenue or leads, but they show positive actions undertaken by users.

a dartboard where some darts have missed, but one has hit the bullseye

The first step in leveraging micro conversions is to decide on those that are most important to you. Actions such as signing up for a newsletter or watching a video indicate a more receptive user – a hot lead – someone more likely to convert into a customer.

Once you have identified your key micro conversions, you can begin tracking them using Google Analytics. This will allow you to measure user engagement and track the progress onwards, towards your macro conversion goals – like leads and sales, as we’ll discuss soon.

Using analytics and tracking the behaviour of your users, such as their:

  • clicks,
  • page views, and
  • downloads,

your business can gain insight into what your customers are interested in and how they interact with your website. This data can then be used to create targeted campaigns that will help guide customers through the sales funnel and ultimately lead to a sale.

Think:

Micro conversions can also assist conversion rate optimisation as they can provide important indicators of user engagement and therefore help inform decisions about website design and content.

Example:

You have a website that sells double-glazing. Your macro conversion is a lead and the conversion on your landing page is quite poor. You decide to add a brochure and track downloads as a mico conversion.

You A/B test these changes and notice your lead submission conversion rate has increased on the page with micro conversions. Therefore providing your customers with brochure downloads has positively impacted your macro conversions (leads).

How to calculate a Micro Conversion

  1. Identify the desired action that you want visitors to take (subscribing, downloading, watching etc).
  2. Track the number of visitors who complete the action and divide it by the total number of visitors to your website.


This will give you the percentage of visitors who completed the desired action, which is your micro conversion rate.

Example:
15 people subscribed to our newsletter out of 1,000 visitors on a landing page
= 1.5%

By properly tracking and optimising micro conversions, your business can gain valuable insights.

Some of the key benefits of Micro Conversions are:

  • Help identify areas for improvement in the customer journey.
  • Enable marketers to track progress towards larger goals.
  • Allow for more targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Enable businesses to optimise their website and content for better user experience.
  • Help measure the success of marketing efforts.

If you want to track micro conversions in Google Analytics – here’s how.

By default, GA4 data streams have the enhanced measurement capability to track website actions as events. But you may need to modify events to track only those with specific parameters, by using the GA4 Create Event functionality. 

event tracking in GA4

create event

tracking a micro event

With Google Analytics’ new change to GA4, we believe event tracking using Google Tag Manager to be more reliable. You can customise event details for different triggers.

The example below is how we send a ‘book_installation’ event to GA4 when a specific Form ID for Book Installation is submitted.

book installation event

Once the event is sent to your GA4, you can mark it as a conversion by flicking the toggle on.

from event to conversion

Please note, Universal Analytics previously referred to this function as ‘goals’. GA4 no longer reports on ‘goals’ as data is redefined as ‘events’ or ‘conversions’. Tracking these activities has changed and in some cases utilising Google Tag Manager may be a more efficient option. You may need to speak to your developer to select the best option for your business

What is a Macro Conversion?

A macro conversion occurs when a user completes an action that is considered to be of high value to the website or business.

We’re talking:

  • Leads (form submissions)
  • Phone calls
  • Making a purchase (e-commerce)
  • Downloading an app
  • Signing up/subscribing
  • Registering an account

Macro conversions typically result in revenue.

Digital marketing 101 is about tracking and analysing macro conversions, to gain valuable insights into which activities are driving customer engagement and conversions. In turn, the information is then used to focus efforts, activities and budget on activities that are likely to yield the highest returns.

As a bonus, macro conversions can help identify areas where improvements need to be made in order to increase customer engagement and drive higher levels of success. Ie. if you have a landing page that isn’t generating conversions you can experiment, A/B test and work on improvements so it does convert.

a bag of money and letters spelling out ROI

This is where conversion rate optimisation comes in and that’s a whole separate topic, but some strategies to convince a user to complete a macro conversion include:

  • Offer an incentive: Give users an incentive to complete the conversion, such as a discount or free shipping.
  • Make it easy: Simplify the process by reducing the number of steps and fields required for completion.
  • Show progress: Let users know how far along they are in the process with a progress bar or other visual indicator.
  • Provide reassurance: Reassure users that their information is secure and will not be shared with third parties.
  • Use social proof: Showcase customer testimonials or reviews to demonstrate the value of completing the conversion.

Macro conversions require a comprehensive understanding of the intentions and preferences of the user. Demographic research and educated assumptions do help, but it’s not an exact science.

Split testing is essential.

Split testing involves running multiple versions of a page simultaneously and changing elements such as headline text or images to see which version performs better. We have a great post on A/B testing and how it helps conversion rates.

Split testing enables marketers to assess which design elements are most effective in encouraging users to complete macro conversions. It also helps identify any potential problems with a page that may get missed.

Micro conversions can also be included in split testing trials as they can positively, or negatively effect your macro conversion rate.

table showing the stages of micro and macro conversions

Micro conversions vs macro conversions

Understanding the purpose of each type of conversion and how they align with your business goals is essential for creating an effective marketing strategy.

With micro conversions, you can focus on smaller wins that will help you to reach larger revenue-generating conversions.

Macro conversions are the big wins – what you’re optimising your website or landing page for.

Or, think of it this way:

Micro conversions are the brochures a customer downloads

Macro conversions are the customers submitting a form for a quote

Some businesses may not get one without the other. For example, your product may have a very high price point and without offering users the chance to watch a video, download a brochure, view colour options, and multiple images, and read testimonials and case studies, you would not convert that customer. You would never have the macro conversion without the micro conversions.

As such, having an understanding of both micro and macro conversions is key for formulating effective marketing strategies.

And don’t forget – different industries will have different requirements for both micro and macro conversions. Like our example above, if you have a large price point or a lengthy customer journey, you might require many micro conversions along the process.

Micro conversions are not just nice to have, they are an essential part of your online journey. Not website visitors will be in a position to purchase on their first visit. Some visitors are moseying around, some are evaluators comparing providers and some are ready to go. The latter are going to convert, the former 2 will end in a page bounce unless you implement a micro-conversion point that captures value for the business e.g. name, email, phone etc.

If you’re giving away something free, running a competition or offering a clear service and benefit it might be the case that few micro conversions are required and might actually hinder your macro conversion.

You’ll need to carefully consider your specific needs and requirements for your industry, product and/or service when determining the types of conversions that are most important to track.

Ultimately, by recognising the differences between micro and macro conversions, measuring both and understanding their impact on different industries, products and services, companies can more effectively optimise their marketing strategy.

While macro conversions are the money-makers, by properly tracking and optimising micro conversions, businesses can gain valuable insights into their users’ behaviour that can help inform their overall marketing strategy. They enable the identification of customer preferences and interests; data that can be used to develop improved UX by targeting specific audiences with tailored messaging and promotions.

Leveraging both micro and macro conversions means your business can maximise its impact and achieve its desired outcomes.

Key Take-Aways

It’s important to consider the purpose of each conversion type. Micro conversions are generally focused on small, short-term goals and objectives, while macro conversions focus on the big wins.

The time horizon for each conversion type should also be taken into account. Micro conversions happen relatively quickly, whereas macro conversions tend to take longer and can sometimes require more effort and resources from the customer (think submitting long forms or completing payment information).

Having an understanding of what data is being collected from both types of conversions is critical in order to understand how they’re affecting your overall marketing efforts and customer journeys.

Lastly, knowing the relative importance of each conversion is key – if micro conversions are done correctly and tracked properly, they can be just as important and may even be essential for generating macro conversions and evaluating success.

What is a Mico conversion?

Typically, small action taken by a user on a website that indicates progress towards a larger goal.

Some examples would be:
– signing up for an email newsletter
– downloading an ebook

What is a macro conversion?

An action that is considered to be of high value to the website or business.

For example:
– Leads (form submissions)
– Phone calls
– Making a purchase (e-commerce)
– Downloading an app
– Signing up/subscribing
– Registering an account

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