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Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011 at 8:43 am

Digging for Dollars and Micro-Conversions

By Whitney Wilding
March 15th, 2011

This post is designed as a follow-up to my post, Calculate Micro-Conversions; Tie Them to Dollars about how to tie micro-conversion wins to actual revenue. While knowing how to calculate mirco-conversions is fine and dandy, I realize that before you can begin to measure them, it is essential to know what a micro-conversion IS.

What a Micro-Conversion ISN’T

To explain what a micro-conversion is, let’s first cover what a mirco-conversion isn’t: a macro-conversion. As readers of our blog, most of you probably know that macro-conversion is the overall conversion rate of your site (i.e. the percentage of visitors to your site who take the main action you want them to take, such as buying a product or filling out your lead form). You calculate the macro-conversion rate by dividing the number of visitors who took the desired action on your site by the total number of qualified visitors to your site. Your macro-conversion rate is an indicator of the overall effectiveness of your site.

What IS a Micro-Conversion

Although sites usually have one overarching objective, there are smaller steps prospects take throughout the site on their way to a macro-conversion goal. Ideally, these smaller steps nurture prospects, persuade them to keep moving, and build momentum toward that final macro-conversion step. This is one of the main tenants of the Persuasion Architecture methodology we practice with our OnTarget subscription clients. Each of these steps in the process is what we call a micro-conversion. The best way to illustrate this is with an actual example of optimizing a micro-conversion for one of our clients.

A Real Life Micro-Conversion

Our client originally featured a call to action on their homepage for gifts starting at XX dollars. However, there was no clear way for prospects to move forward: the entire section of the homepage featuring this content was click-able, but this was not an intuitive action for prospects to take. Clicking on a call to action that navigates prospects further into the site is a great example of a micro-conversion, but it was clear that the version on our client’s site could use some optimization. Naturally, we ran a test using Google Website Optimizer (GWO) to try to improve it.

The variation we tested featured a click-able button within the section of the homepage containing the call to action copy. The micro-conversion goal for this test was defined as successful navigation to the following page. The variation yielded a 19.8% increase in the number of prospects that navigate to the following page, with an 87.7% confidence level.  Click the image below to enlarge the screenshot of our results.

Why Care About Micro-Conversion?

So what is the big deal about increasing the number of prospects that go from the homepage to another page of the site? Avinash Kaushik, one of the pioneers behind the idea that micro-conversions have value, said in his blog post, Excellent Analytics Tip #13: Measure Macro AND Micro-Conversions:

“…I have come to realize that we are not being the best we can be by focusing on just the overall website conversion rate. We are leaving money on the table. We are not getting enough credit. We are not getting a good enough understanding of the complete picture. We are being shortsighted.”

We couldn’t agree more with Kaushik’s statement. Running a test to increase the rate of prospects that navigate from one page to another may not have obvious implications for your site’s success, but it does play a factor in improving your site’s performance and increasing your bottom line. It just takes a little more digging to uncover the value of the change. By using the calculation from my recent post, we determined an estimated increase in yearly revenue of $21,685.86 for the micro-conversion improvement we highlighted above. Do you still think that mirco-conversions don’t matter or are you ready to get moving on a plan to improve the performance of your site one micro-conversion at a time? Contact us to find out how we’ve helped people like you do it.

Add Your Comments

Comments (12)

  1. I have always been an advocator of micro conversions, but have been a little limited on the best way apply it. This post and linked posts help clarified alot for me.
    Its the fine tuning that really drives your overall conversion.

  2. I’ve also noticed significant results from adding more links to keep people on my site and I don’t even have them directing my visitors to any specific conversion, just a few articles related to the page they’re already on.

  3. So let put in simplest word. The idea is how to automatically give the audience idea of one page and seek further detail from other page. First page content, must lead or relate to another content or page so the unity of the site link become important is it like that?

  4. This is not the first time I’m reading about the concept of Micro-Conversions, but definitely I’ve never before read about it in as much clarity.
    I do already use the on-page analytics feature of Google Analytics to check the CTRs for various pages of my blog.

  5. @Auren – that’s the idea! :-) Of course, it doesn’t stop there though. Meeting customers’ needs is trickier earlier in the buying process, because there are several kinds of behavior that buyers can exhibit. Planning around those behaviors and their associated information needs (particular pieces of information, with a particular focus, in a particular area of the page…. so they appeal to particular groups of people) is what makes it more challenging. For more about this, check out our Persuasion Architecture white paper in the whitepapers area of our website.

  6. Micro-conversions really play an important role in improving the over all conversion rate.
    Recently on a e-commerce site, my client had a lot of content pages which had a really good amount of traffic and high exit rate as well. He thought that the visitors would also visit the product page through the vertical navigation. But when I placed a link to – view list of our products, majority of the traffic got started navigating to the respected product page, which helped the site to increase the conversion as well as decreased the exit rate of the content pages from 40% to 10%.

  7. I do already use the on-page analytic feature of Google Analytic to check the CTRs for various pages of my blog.

  8. At what traffic level to your blog / site do you think it’s worthwhile making this time investment to improve conversions?

  9. @Matt Baker – That’s a great question. The more traffic you have, the more quickly your tests will conclude (the more quickly you’ll know if you have a winner), and the more quickly you’ll generate ROI on the efforts you’ve made to come up with alternatives and test them. Play around with this Google Test Duration Tool to see how traffic levels and test variations affect the length of time the test must run. We have seen companies who get between 20k and 40k unique visitors each month have tests that take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month to conclude. Don’t forget that traffic to particular pages on your site may vary, so that tests in some areas may take longer than others. Does that mean you can’t do Conversion Rate Optimization and testing if you get less than 20k uniques to your site each month? No, it doesn’t. Here are some tips for testing on low traffic sites, as well as some things to do while waiting for test results.

  10. Hi guys

    So many of our clients seem to forget about CRO and have simply left their site the way it is for far too long. Whilst our business isn’t site optimisation, I still often advise them to consider this or that. So much to it once you start learning, but enjoyable in my opinion (I’m a geek I know :) ), especially if its your own site, anything which can increase conversions should be of interest to you.

    Looking forward to the next post, seems I’ve found a useful blog here.


  11. @ James Yes I agree with you the only thing that is simple for most of the site owner they are thinking more to something instant something fast and easy that’s why they think they can rely only on SEO even though is not that simple and is not that easy. It is best if there some convincing statement that guarantee waiting for six month is word double or more consistent than SEO. That is what I think as Newbie blogger what do you thing guys?

  12. Great article. Until now, I just used google webmaster tools to check my CTR on google and never on my websites. It will definitely change my strategy. I’ll focus more on the design of my websites instead of just focusing on SEO.

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