Micro Conversions Digital Marketers Should Consider Tracking

Find out which micro conversions your eCommerce business should be tracking and how they can inform your holistic digital marketing strategy.

In the digital marketing world, micro conversions are like the gas for your car. Most of the time, you’re not worried about how it all works, just as long as it gets you to where you need to be, whether that’s your final destination or a customer’s final purchase.

But, if you want to maximize your car’s performance — or make sure your customers actually convert — you have to pay attention to what gets them there in the first place.

As an old Chinese text says, a journey of a thousand steps begins with the first. By tracking your customers’ journeys in increments of micro conversions, you’re more likely to ensure a satisfying arrival. 

In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about micro conversions in the eCommerce space, including:

  • What micro conversions are and why they’re important 
  • Which micro conversions your online business needs to track
  • And how micro conversions should be a part of your holistic digital marketing strategy

Why Micro Conversions Are Important to eCommerce Success

Conversions in general are actions you want users to take on your website. They can be categorized as macro (a primary goal or conversion) and micro (steps that lead to achieving the primary conversion). For eCommerce businesses, a macro conversion is typically a customer purchase.

Digital marketers tend to focus on conversion rate, as well they should. The higher the conversion rate (purchases divided by total site users), the more revenue or leads you generate. 

Conversion rate is an important metric, but it’s not the whole story. If you don’t also look at your micro conversions, you’re missing out on highly useful data that can improve your macro conversions (a.k.a. purchases). 

Micro conversions register intent, engagement, or interest by your customers. They help online retailers understand the customer journey across website visits, web browsers, devices, and geographies. When you map out these journeys, you get insights into what’s engaging your website visitors, what isn’t, and where you are losing potential customers. 

Most importantly? Micro conversions can help you increase overall conversion rates. Just check out our case study, where we helped one client improve conversion rates by 37% using micro conversion data.

Examples of Micro Conversions

Your business’s micro conversions may be unique, but there are a few common data points for eCommerce retailers, regardless of vertical. Typically, they’re secondary actions like:

  • Providing an email address for newsletter signups
  • Downloading a product brochure
  • Viewing a product page
  • Revisiting a product page a certain number of times
  • Following a company on social media  
  • Watching a video 
  • Adding an RSS subscription feed

Let’s walk through perhaps the most popular micro conversion on a website: adding an item to a shopping cart. For shoppers, it’s the very next-to-last step to clicking the “confirm order” button and completing the sale. And online businesses know how to take advantage of it.

That’s why, when you leave something in your online shopping cart, you’re bound to get an email (assuming you’ve provided one, which is another micro conversion!) nicely suggesting that the sale is expiring at midnight, the product is low in stock, or other copy to prompt you to return and make the purchase.  

When businesses track the instances of customers abandoning shopping carts, those retailers gain insights into why they aren’t purchasing and which products are most often left in carts. Using this data, digital marketers can then trigger targeting to complete the customer journey from the micro conversion to the macro conversion.

In short: The more you can identify users at each micro conversion, the better picture you have of their customer journey — which helps you keep them engaged to your desired end goal (the macro conversion of final purchase).

How Micro Conversions Shape Your Marketing Strategy

Today’s customers are taking longer and longer buying journeys. Fortunately, micro conversions allow you to evaluate their thought processes and small steps of action the whole time — rather than forcing you to wait for the checkout and guessing how they got there.

Because they’re so integral in understanding the customer journey, micro conversions should play a key role in shaping your overall digital marketing campaigns. 

But, before you incorporate micro conversions into your strategy, you need to decide which are most valuable to your conversion funnel. Put on your thinking (and research) caps: 

  • Where are your customers most vulnerable to persuasion? 
  • Which micro conversions indicate the highest probability of a successful purchase? 
  • Which other data points could be useful to your customer knowledge?

Only then can you consider how these micro conversions can influence your paid social media, PPC, SEO, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts.

Let’s keep running with the example from above. Say there’s a high rate of customers leaving items in the shopping cart on your eCommerce website. Your strategy should address this with exit pop-ups and follow-up email newsletters, all geared toward convincing that shopper to revisit the checkout page and complete their purchase, for whatever reason your data supports.

On a more general note, you can use micro conversions in digital marketing to:

  • Identify (and test) the copy and creative you serve to shoppers
  • Deepen your target customer research and information
  • Retarget potential customers across advertising platforms
  • And more

Additionally, micro conversions will be crucial as third-party cookies disappear and first-party data becomes scarce. By tracking your micro conversions now, you can gather similar customer insights that you would from cookies — and put yourself ahead of your competition.

How (and Why) to Track Micro Conversions in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools to track conversions, including micro conversions. (For more info, check out this guide to tracking micro conversions in Google Analytics.) Other options include Hubspot, Matomo, and Click. 

Here at Inflow, we’re partial to the data found in micro conversions in Google Ads. We frequently use this data to inform our eCommerce PPC campaigns — and you can, too. In fact, if you’re using Google Ads right now, you’re already set up to track your brand’s micro conversions. 

When you run a campaign in Google Ads, every click on an ad (and the customer journey from then onward) automatically imports into Google Analytics. So, if a customer clicks on your ad, browses certain pages on your eCommerce site, and then “favorites” a few products before ending their session, Google Analytics will tell you.

By analyzing micro conversions in this customer journey, you’ll better understand how your ads are performing, how users are engaging with your site, and which keywords do (or do not) attract engagement. You can also create retargeting lists based on specific page views, number of pages viewed, or other micro conversions as defined in Google Analytics. 

Get started with Google’s tutorial for how to track micro conversions in Google Ads below:

Start Tracking Your Website’s Micro Conversions Now

If you want to know your customers well enough to accelerate their purchase rates, micro conversions are the solution. Evaluating these buying process milestones will be instrumental in getting them across the finish line, whatever it may be.

But micro conversions in digital marketing aren’t always obvious — or easy. If you need some extra help diving into your Google Ads micro conversions or setting up the right strategy for your eCommerce conversion goals, our team is always happy to help.

Request a free proposal anytime to get started, or check out our other eCommerce Google Ads resources below: