Micro Conversion

The term micro conversion refers to a user interaction on a website which is subordinate to the general conversion goal. These are individual steps that site visitors perform, but are not considered in detail as part of the general conversion rates. Micro conversions always refer to part of a process, that may have a higher-level conversion target, but which do not adequately reflect the actual user interactions. Tracking micro conversions can provide information about micro interactions and help to realize optimization potentials of websites in detail.

General information[edit]

To understand micro conversions, we should first explain conversions and macro conversions. Each website has a specific goal and the general conversion rates provide clues as to how many visitors have achieved this goal. For example, an e-commerce website measures the sales that can be generated. If out of 1000 visitors 10 have made a purchase, the conversion rate is 1%. These visitors have completed all the steps up to a conversion into a paying customer and are therefore counted as a conversion in the web analysis. An example of a purchase process might look like this:

  • A user accesses the online shop via the browser’s address line, enters the shop via a search, or clicks an advertising medium that directs to it.
  • They scan the categories or searches directly for a product. Sometimes the user makes comparisons with other products or even other shops to choose the best product.
  • The user places the product in the shopping cart and goes to checkout.
  • He enters his data, selects a payment method, and clicks “Buy Now.”
  • Next, he will get an overview page with all relevant data. He clicks “Buy Now” again and completed the order process.

Out of the 1000 visitors, 10 have successfully completed all these steps. However, there are also users among these 1000 visitors who have cancelled the buying process in certain places and did not buy anything. The macro conversions indicate how many out of the total amount of site visitors made a purchase. But where the other visitor segments bounced can only be determined by taking a closer look. The micro conversions aim to identify these interactions and initiate appropriate measures.

Types of macro conversions[edit]

The micro conversions are usually dependent on the respective website goal. Possible goals include:[1]

  • E-Commerce: More sales, high conversion rates in relation to all visitors.
  • Editorial websites: pageviews, length of stay, scrolling, or bounce rates of editorial content.
  • Lead generation for newsletters and mailing lists: Completed forms and email addresses with names and other datasets.
  • Downloads of documents: The number of downloaded PDF files, whitepapers or audio files.
  • Open accounts: The number of new accounts in the service area or in a forum.
  • Subscriptions: RSS feeds, catalogs, or registrations for a service can also represent website goals.

Types of micro conversion[edit]

The micro conversions usually result from the website goals and information architecture. However, assuming that the customer is linear and there are interactions that are not intended to persuade the visitor to a macro-conversion, two types of micro-conversions can be distinguished.[2]

  • Process mile-stones: are interactions that direct the customer directly to a macro-conversion. In the case of an order process, this would be all pages that customers visit before the completion of an order. Smart optimization would consider each page in detail and the customer journey as a whole. A/B tests are also used by testing different versions of the process steps.
  • Secondary actions are desirable interactions that do not directly result in a macro conversion, but can sometimes represent future macro conversions. Secondary actions may precede the achievement of the website goal. Customers could watch a video, post a comment, or interact with the site or company in some way without the action counting as a macro conversion. These interactions are usually used to build trust and interest. Such customers may then come back later to buy or provide their data.

This detailed view of websites makes it clear that there may be obstacles at every point in the conversion funnel that prevent customers from reaching the website goal. For example, a faulty form that customer cannot send. Such process milestones can be captured and optimized through micro conversions. At the same time, there are points in the customer journey, which are only indirectly related to a macro conversion.  Moreover, hardly any customer journey runs linear, even if the user experience design intends it in theory. Secondary actions can also take place outside the actual medium. For example, in social media, microblogging services or on affiliate websites. Customer journeys or purchasing decision-making processes are generally very complex. But micro conversions are approaching this complexity.[3]

Relevance to online marketing[edit]

Micro conversions are part of an overall perspective on the user experience. They deepen one’s insight provided by a web analysis and help to answer certain detailed questions about customer behavior. Websites that capture and analyze a wide variety of micro interactions will get a comprehensive overview of the interaction of their visitors, no matter what stage of decision-making they are at.[4] In the course of a purchase process, micro conversions are only steps that result in the site goal and a macro conversion. However, there are other possibilities for interaction that are of great importance to a business model. These micro conversions serve to create trust and prepare customers for purchase. The usual conversion rate of 3% is only a very small part of the site visitors. After all, 97% of the site visitors interact with the medium and the company in a different way.

If you want to understand how these interactions are taking place and what visitors do or don’t do, micro conversions can capture and evaluate the website objectives, user experience, or customer service. The possibilities are diverse. Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and many other tools deal with micro conversions as events that can be tracked. In Google Analytics, for example, targets in the sales funnel as well as target group segments are available to enable you to understand the consumers’ purchasing and decision-making processes across multiple sessions.


  1. Conversion Goal? It Depends on Your Business Model blog.crazyegg.com. Accessed on 04/13/2016
  2. Define Micro Conversions to Measure Incremental UX Improvements nngroup.com. Accessed on 04/13/2016
  3. Micro Conversions: The Key to Maximum Lifetime Customer Value unbounce.com. 04/13/2016
  4. Micro Conversions - Definition, Relevance and Tracking conversionreview.com. Accessed on 04/13/2016

Web Links[edit]