Conversion Rate Optimization for Microconversions

2 min. read | Last updated: March 12th, 2015

There’s a lot of talk about ‘Microconversions’ lately and also a lot of confusion among testing technology vendors. Before adding Microconversions to your testing strategy, you need to know when they’re useful and how to plan them. In this article we’ll talk about what Microconversions are (and aren’t) and how to use them.

What are Microconversions?

As Avinash Kaushik said, “micro conversions are accomplishments of other goals for which people are on the site (other than what you think the site’s primary purpose is).” They are complete conversions of secondary (or tertiary) actions that are important to your visitors and are indicators of intent or potential intent to purchase.

But there is some misleading advice being promoted around Microconversions that you should be aware of.

Microconversions do not help you achieve statistical significance

I heard a high profile testing technology vendor recently promoting Microconversions as a way to help testers complete experiments that otherwise may take too long. He said, rather than setting your conversion goal as form completion, you could track it when someone completes the first few field of the form.

This is dangerous advice that should not be followed. Microconversions will not make your test variations any better. If your test variation can’t convince more visitors to complete the form in its entirety, why would you want to declare it a winner? That can only mislead you and possibly hurt your macro conversion rate.

Time-on-page is not a good Microconversion

This was another recommendation by the same vendor that he said would help tests complete faster. There are significant problems with time-on-page metric, though, as Avinash’s excellent article (one of many) explains. To summarize the article, bounces and multi-tabbed visits are probably not being tracked the way you expect (I couldn’t explain the details better than Avinash does, so please read his article for more on that subject). And, even if the measurement method were flawless, what does time-on-page tell you? If visitors spend more time on your landing page, is that a positive or negative conversion indicator?

Microconversions give a bigger picture

Microconversions should be used to enrich the picture of your visitor experience and provide supplemental support for decision-making. They should not replace your macro Conversions for Conversion Optimization purposes.

For example, in your analytics tool, your conversion may be currently tracked as a purchase, inquiry form fill or download. You could add supplemental Microconversions of blog/newsletter signup, product detail view or webinar signup.

Don’t be confused by people that talk about macro Conversions ‘hiding the real story’. That is simply not true if your conversions are planned properly. The ultimate macro Conversion that you track should be the one that’s as closely tied to revenue as possible.

Just start with what you know

Don’t let confusion about Microconversions stop you before you start. If you’re not testing your pages yet, choose your most important conversion and just get started. You can always add Microconversion tracking later and you’ll be better off than not testing.

Note: If you need help planning your macro or micro conversions, contact a Conversion Rate Optimization expert. We would be happy to help.


Chris Goward

Founder & CEO

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