Tracking Macro vs. Micro Conversions

In Web Analytics by Matt Chiera

Most marketers and webmaster are familiar with the concept of website conversions: the desired actions taken on your website. However, I see many people make the mistake of not differentiating between “micro” and “macro” conversions or grouping these conversions together. This is a rookie mistake that can lead to severe misallocation of advertising budget and resources.

What’s the difference between macro and micro conversions?

A macro conversion is the desired end-action from a user. For an e-commerce website this is a sale. For a lead generation site, this is a contact form submission, e-mail, phone call; a user getting in contact and becoming a lead for you.

However, most people won’t go directly to your website and then fill out a contact form immediately or instantly buy your product. Traditionally there are a serious of interactions and touch-points before a conversion. These are micro-conversions. They can include, but are not limited to, e-mail signups, whitepaper downloads, social media “likes” and “shares,” or a user adding a product to their shopping cart.

How do I begin to track macro and micro conversions?

First, if you are new to tracking conversions, make a list of all possible actions on your website and for your brands’ online presence, taking into account your social media channels, e-mail marketing, PPC advertising, online PR, and any other channels you’re utilizing. Also make sure to clearly define your macro conversion. I recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet and listing all channels and storing monthly (or better yet, weekly) data from all channels in the sheet, so you can begin attributing conversions to your various channels.

There are multiple models to tracking conversion attribution, but a great first step is to track all data across channels in one sheet so that you can track touchpoints vs. conversions across your channels so that you can begin to make assumptions about your marketing strategy: i.e: an average of 500 Facebook “likes” = one sale.

You can then begin to test attribution models to determine what makes sense based on your data. For some businesses the linear model to attribution (example below) makes the most sense, which divides conversion credit evenly across all user touchpoints. Visit Google’s Support center to view other attribution models.

example linear model

Tracking your website’s internal micro and macro conversions with Google Analytics:

To track micro and macro conversions within your site, you will want to utilize Google Analytics to track your micro and macro conversions via “Goals”. There are a plethora of trackable goals in Google Analytics, including, but not limited to:

  • Pages-Per Visit Goals
  • Email Signups
  • Users who created an account on your website
  • Users who browsed your site extensively
  • Users who downloaded a PDF on your site
  • Event goals based on actions taken on your site

Here’s a tutorial on setting up goals for your site in Google Analytics:

Now that you’re tracking both micro and macro conversions on your site internally and across online marketing channels, you will have a much clearer picture of how your brand is performing online. This will allow you to re-allocate budget and resources to improve macro-conversions on your website.

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