Micro conversions – scale analytics user coverage from 1% to 100%

TLDR
1. Micro conversions are vital for industries and businesses with long feedback cycles. In luxury real estate sales, for example, it would be much better to keep an eye on calls and orders rather than deals finalized.
2. Micro conversions allow to analyze a larger spectrum of customers and improve optimisation process more than macro conversions.
3. Micro conversions form the core of retargeting strategies.

Author
Dmitrii Borodin
Founder and product owner

Outline

'Micro conversions – scale analytics user coverage from 1% to 100%'

Micro conversions – scale analytics user coverage from 1% to 100%

A customer goes through a series of minor actions before executing a target action: customers browse through online stores, read product descriptions, add products to cart, register personal accounts, order a product delivery, etc.

All the events in this chain are called micro conversions. Tracking micro conversions is very important for it can tell you a lot about your customers and at what steps deals tend to go south.

Here’s what the essence of a long term relationship with a client is as explained by James Tuckerman, the… Click to Tweet

James Tuckerman believes that small but consistent and sustainable steps inevitably lead to big results. You need to lead your clients through a series of micro conversions before unleashing a major proposal upon them.

The psychology of micro conversions

Getting straight to your main offer may force your clients to feel confused and uncomfortable. Use micro conversions to minimize any collisions and improve your clients’ experience.

American professor Robert Cialdini, the author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” accentuates the power of micro-commitments. Cialdini researches the subject of commitment and consistency. People tend to stick to the decision they once made and as the first step is done, commitment usually goes all the way.

Cialdini is convinced that commitment and consistency go hand in hand. If we take a loan in a bank, most of us want to pay it off responsibly, without delays. If you promise someone to look after a purse on a train station, you are going to make sure it’s safe no matter what and stick to you commitment.

People attribute a high amount of value to commitment, because they directly connect commitment and keeping promises to “good sides” of human character. Everybody wants to be perceived as a good, positive person. That’s why that image of a captain who only abandons his ship last, even if it means a sure death, is so romanticised.

Implement micro commitments as a part of your marketing strategy: you can manipulate or better say persuade people by using aspects of human psychology. But don’t expect people to jump at your command and don’t introduce ridiculous number of intermediate steps in the chain the customer has to go through.

Micro conversions are a success due to these psychological concepts:

  • Obstacle response: clients do not like when they’re told they cannot have something. They will perform all actions necessary to get what seems unreachable.
  • Higher attention value: a thing that is hard to get only becomes more attractive and forces customers’ attention to lock on it for a long time.

Adult world of marketing really follows the rules of child psychology it seems: the more kids hear that they won’t get some particular toy, the more they want it.

Why macro conversions is not the only thing to consider

Conversions are easy to track and measure with Google Analytics, but there’s a catch.

Conversion metrics are very important but unable to show you all the actions people perform on your website. Conversions only track actions that are only performed by about 2-10% of people. No need to spend 100% of time to track and analyze 2% of customers, but increasing the amount of those customers from 2 to 10 per cent is a good profitable decision. Avinash Kaushik, the guru of analytics, recommends to follow the percentage of objective completion number instead of concentrating on conversion level.

Essentially, you need to understand why people visit your website. To purchase? Yes, probably but it is a pretty small share of customers. There are many reasons: some people want to gain knowledge, to read something, to do something, maybe they’re just redirected from your blog article and want to find out if there are more of those here. The objective completion number determines how soon and how easy visitors manage to reach their respective goals.

It’s good for clients and good for your team: it helps improve the website usability and determine what needs fixing and tracking.

User flow needs to be determined before concentrating on individual elements.

The advantages of tracking micro conversions

  • You get a better understanding of your clients and the reasoning behind their actions. You’ll see the whole picture — not just actual buyers.
  • You are going to detect weak links in the sales chain, thus improve the key aspects of conversion. Users get stuck at a certain step? Remove the obstacle or even give them a boost.
  • You get a better understanding of customers’ interests.
  • Micro conversions cover territories far beyond your website. You can even track level of engagement through social networks, emails, etc.
  • It allows to evaluate the efficiency of different conversion increasing strategies and individual elements of the website. All А/В tests are basically built on a principle of micro conversion tracking.
  • It allows to put together informative and detailed reports for executive teams.

What is a user flow optimisation?

A user flow (user journey) is a path of a user through an interface of your website one takes to perform a certain action of interest (to place an order, purchase a product or submit to a newsletter) — according to Peep of ConversionXL.

A typical ecommerce funnel finely represents a user flow and can also be applied to users who are not converted in the general sense of it.

Micro conversions help track user flow and optimize it.

For example: your website can be visited by a customer led by an ad campaign, who registered or made a purchase.

At the same time it can be a person redirected to your blog from Facebook, or someone familiar to your brand who hangs out on a homepage for a while and then goes straight to “Services” or “About Us”.

Each user flow is different and shows different intentions.

Google Analytics contains a User Flow chart to show you:

  1. Sources users come from;
  2. The first page they initially visit;
  3. The following pages;
  4. The final pages, where they leave your website (user exit points).

The method has its flaws: it revolves around sessions and not users, but it should be enough at the start. You are going to be able to spot general behavioural patterns (e.g. organic traffic leads primarily to homepage) and make some assumptions. For example, that organic users are well aware of your brand, since they need to google brands to get right to your homepage.

You can also see the reverse flow to tell what pages presumably stimulated the initial conversion.

Look for these pages. It is going to help you improve conversion and the quality of user flow for your customers.

You also need to look for bottlenecks in your conversion chain to indicate which links require improvement.

Here’s a classic scenario.

Your boss says the conversion is too low. In reality, your conversion rate is around 2% and it is quite normal for ecommerce (7% for B2B). Yes, it can be better but it is far from awful.

But you notice than there’s a very low percentage of people who view a product page and then add this product to cart.

That’s when you decide to focus on the start of user flow. How many people of those who view a product page tend to click on “Details”/”More” or submit to a demo of the product?

That’s great.

Now find out how many micro conversions happen on each page of the product (such as reading user reviews, viewing photos, special offers or discounts).

What’s best about micro conversions is that you can test them.

Let’s say having a video on your landing page increases conversion by 80%. Those who view the video are 80% easier to convert. So each view is a micro conversion. Do it! Compare two funnels: those who view the video and those who somehow get past it. All this data can be useful not only for you but for your boss when the time comes.

Micro conversions can be

Basic

  • Catalogue navigation;
  • Use of search function;
  • Opening of a product page;
  • Adding a product to cart;
  • Checkout.

Involving

  • Newsletter subscription;
  • Downloading promo materials (pdf catalogues, price lists, presentations);
  • Viewing and inspecting a product;
  • Adding a product to cart.

A bit more examples (for different stages of the sales funnel).

Micro conversions of the interest stage

  • Adding to cart;
  • Viewing product page;
  • Redirection from search results;
  • Using a feedback form;
  • Using a search function on a website;
  • Clicking on “Detailed product description”;
  • Viewing a price page.

Micro conversions of the influence stage

  • Downloading files (price list, brochures, catalogues, etc);
  • RSS and newsletter subscriptions;
  • Video views;
  • Leaving comments;
  • Visiting corporate social network accounts redirected from your website;
  • Likes, reposts, retweets and other social media/network and blog activities.
  • Using “Contact Us” feature.

Micro conversions of the action stage

  • Time spent on the website;
  • Number of pages viewed;
  • Account creation;
  • Repeat visits;
  • Search of accompanied products.

Important metrics of email marketing

Email marketing is essential in company-customer communication. Finely written emails can dramatically increase the quality of personalized communication with your clients. Analytics help evaluate the efficiency of interaction between you and your customers. Here are the metrics:

Open Rate

Open Rate (OR): a percentage of people who actually opened your letter.

+ How to increase Open Rate

  • Use dynamic timing — send emails when each individual subscriber is more active;
  • Consider the topic: implement the element of intrigue, use emoji, or maybe state a question, etc

OLDI.RU online store managed to increase its Open Rate by 31% using an intrigue in the letter topic.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Shows the number of redirections to your website from the letters you send.

To develop the most effective newsletter templates, test different elements and experiment.

The team of Growth Hackers helped 220-volt.ru online store increase its CTR by 12,7% just by adding a single line above the product description in the letter. That line was “bought today”.

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate (CR) is the ratio of purchases made through newsletters to number of unique clicks (redirections) from newsletters.

+ How to increase Conversion Rate

  • Segment your subscribers by different criterias (from gender and age to interests and psychological types) and compile newsletters for each individual group.
  • Send personalized offers based on clients’ interest.

Use utm tags and goals in Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrics for more precision.

Revenue per email

Revenue Per Email (RPE) indicates a percentage of revenue each email provides. It also reveals how profitable your newsletter is and how different letters affect profitability.

+ How to increase RPE

  • Segment your subscribers.
  • Use personalized recommendations.

Here’s a couple of more metrics just as vital for business.

Abandoned carts

Remarketing is a primary tool to use when working with abandoned carts. It is important to not only track these carts but also the specifics: banners shown, clicks, purchases, etc.

Cart Abandonment Rate (CAR) shows the percentage of people who filled the cart but made no purchase and left. According to research conducted by SaleCycle, 74% of users abandon carts and do not come back.

How to decrease Cart Abandonment Rate

  • Remind about abandoned carts via email.
  • Recommend accompanying products and accessories on the cart page.
  • Simplify the checkout process as much as possible. Make registration not necessary to checkout.

Use all methods available to decrease CAR and don’t forget to include personalized recommendations in your letters.

Recommended by human reading: ECOMMERCE METRICS – WHAT REALLY NEEDS MEASURING

Practical examples to help you generate your own ideas

Micro commitments of social exchange

These are the easiest in terms of implementation — just set up a social network widget and ask your clients to share your content via Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can also request an email address in exchange for some free content.

You might be familiar to the process of lead generation and commercial offers but you never thought of it as micro conversion. Use micro commitments to make users interact with your brand and channel them down the conversion funnel.

Micro conversions that identify customers

It is much more productive to split customers into two large groups: buyers and non-buyers. Use micro conversions to separate profitable users from non-profitable ones.

Buyers represent the most valuable segment as they demonstrate the intention of customers to perform actions to get the offer and increase your marketing force attracting new customers.

Non-buyers are simply ineffective leads who only waste your time and will eventually leave. Focus on those customers who are committed to your offer.

Free trial offers as micro conversions

Minimizing risks to drive up conversion is a smart marketing move. Offering a free trial is a way of minimizing risks for your clients, effectively nullifying those risks. It is an effective way to make clients interested and stimulate micro conversions on their side. It is a way to identify and attract quality leads to make your business grow.

Minor payments hurt clients much less. Dividing a full price into several micropayments is a better way to make a client pay. It is psychologically easier for a customer, less risky and also a way of micro conversion.

Ben Anchal charges several times for his 30-day business course: $7.95 for the first week as a trial and three $47 payments for the rest of the period.

Ben’s case is a method of user segmentation via micro conversions. It may seem flawed but the approach allows a person committed to the first trial payment of $7.95 evaluate the actual value of the whole 30 day course and motivate people to continue and buy the complete package. People who are not ready to commit to serious financial obligations are going to be filtered off.

Polling and testing for micro conversion

App Sumo (a company that developed a plugin for WordPress) states that polls and quiz tests can increase the number of opt-ins by 400%. According to marketers in App Sumo, different products attract different people for different reasons. Once you have segmented your audience by demographic categories, it’s time to go deeper and analyze each segment. Ask questions and your opt-in growth is going to skyrocket.

Positive effects according to App Sumo:

  • Micro conversions: you involve your visitors into decision making. A client may be not ready for a purchase but already makes a decision to answer a couple of questions.
  • “Open loops”: just by asking a series of questions you encourage your clients to go all the way to the end to see the result.
  • The Barnum effect. Customers tend to perceive the blurriest of all descriptions as correct and relevant to their persona. It can potentially solve the problem customers defined for themselves.

These three aspects motivate visitors to interact with business one way or another and engage communication. Passing a quiz test makes people take responsibility for their answers and can greatly increase the sale. The Barnum effect perfectly describes that phenomenon, when people value various ratings, systems and other data that describes their personality. That’s why psychological quiz tests and horoscopes are so popular.

So the main thing to do is to write and implement a quiz test (using a widget or a third party app) and ask for an email address at the end of it to send the results.