Friday, February 22, 2013

Micro Conversions vs Macro Conversions

Micro Conversions are often viewed as getting someone to move to the next step, while Macro conversions are viewed as someone completing a goal.

A macro conversion doesn't have to be a purchase, it is the completion of any business relevant goal.  Thus, if it is relevant for your business to increase Facebook likes, a "like" is a conversion.  Newsletter signups and survey completions are other forms of macro conversion.

Most analytics advocates disagree with me on this point.    The definition of "micro" is small and "macro" is large or overall.  So, they believe there is only one macro conversion / purpose for a website.  Ie. if you have an e-commerce website, the only macro conversion is a purchase.

While I can't argue with their logic, I believe that most companies have many different factors that drive business.  Thus, any full conversion that is relevant to a company's bottom line, is in fact a macro conversion.  Macro meaning purposeful and useful conversion.

To illustrate how a small non monetary conversion can drive business, we'll go back to the Facebook like.  I may "like" a Photography studio on Facebook because I think they take great photos, but that doesn't mean I have or will ever use their service.  My like isn't as relevant for me as it is for their other visitors.  By having the social proof that they do good work, they are able to drive more monetary conversions too.

Ultimately, your website shouldn't have any possible macro conversions that don't drive business in one way or another.

Micro conversions are checkpoints along the path to a macro conversion.  A micro conversion by itself is not a complete conversion and thus does not drive any business.  Micro conversions can simply be moving to the next page, watching a video, or filling out a single field on a form.  

Completing and submitting a form is not a micro conversion, unless you consider the form to only be a single part of a larger process.

In this way, signing up for the newsletter is not a micro conversion, because while you hope they come back and purchase later, the purchase process is not directly tied to the signup process.  It is, hopefully, tied to the awesome newsletter you send out.

If you set up your micro conversions correctly, they can help you identify the roadblocks in your conversion flow.  If a lot of people make it to the second checkpoint, but not the third, you can easily examine this segment of the process.  This laser focus will keep you from becoming overwhelmed and trying to test everything.

Are you measuring micro and macro conversions correctly?