Fewer than 25 percent of businesses express satisfaction with their conversion rates. That’s pretty depressing. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) doesn’t improve your conversion rates overnight, but it sets you up for success. Part of CRO involves optimizing your calls to action for conversions. How is the best call to action for conversions? There’s no single call-to-action formula that can magically convince most of your leads to convert, but if you’re willing to get to know your audience, experience with different CTAs, and test variations, you’ll get closer to the conversion rates you want. We’ll be covering lots of information, so…
Typically, when we talk about conversions in the eCommerce vertical, we focus on the number of sales generated. Generating more sales is the primary goal for eCommerce businesses.
Converting visitors into buyers is the key to success for your business.
The primary goal of a purchase is always accompanied by smaller goals. Conversion experts call these small goals micro conversions.
Micro conversions are the low-hanging fruits, precisely, actions that lead visitors to the end goal, that is, macro conversions.
This blog focuses on improving micro conversions and how this improvement can impact the overall conversion of online stores.
What Are Micro Conversions and Macro Conversions?
Micro conversions are activities that lead your customers towards the larger goal, that is, macro conversion.
A Micro Conversion is an action, or a set of actions, which provides a strong indication that a user is progressing towards a valuable action on your website. For example, if you are an eCommerce brand, a new user registration would be called a micro conversion.
Common micro conversions might be:
A newsletter sign-up
Adding products to a cart
Downloading an eBook or white paper
Subscription to RSS feed
Visiting specific pages, for example, product page, category page, the features page, and so on
Why Should You Monitor Your Micro Conversions?
Few visitors would buy a product on your website during their initial visit.
Every visitor converts after a lot of activities, that is, a combination of micro conversions leads to a purchase.
Here are the major reasons that depict the importance of a micro conversion and its impact on your overall conversion rate.
Understanding Your Visitor Behavior
Micro conversions help you paint a picture of your store’s visitors and their activities. Your visitors can be viewed in 2 ways:
The tricky part here is to figure out a way to segment your visitors. When you have a diverse pool of visitors, it’s imperative to understand the traffic you are dealing with. People can be flooding your website for a variety of reasons, as displayed here.
For example, you can now figure out who are the people most likely drifting towards a macro conversion. A visitor checking out your career page might never buy from you. He or she is just checking out your website for career prospects.
Such insights help you identify the perfect pool of visitors you should turn your focus towards, all thanks to micro conversions.
Analyzing the Key Areas to Focus on Conversion Optimization
When you categorize visitor actions on your website as micro conversions, you gain the opportunity to collect a lot of information about your visitors.
Micro conversion provides you with the opportunity to diagnose the key areas on your website and optimize these as separate entities.
For example, as one of the stages of your conversion funnel, a form signup is crucial. If there is a discrepancy here, your next action is to improve signups, which itself is a micro-conversion, a key area that needs to be rectified.
Case Study: Tom’s Planner
Tom’s Planner is web-based project planning software that allows visitors to create and share Gantt Charts and projects. Individuals and businesses can sign up for a free account on their websites and begin using the planner right away.
Their original homepage:
Tom’s Planner wanted to improve its conversion rate. A free trial is a key area of focus for Tom’s Planner. With the help of VWO, Tom’s Planner implemented a test version of its homepage that included a signup form on the first fold of the website.
Its test homepage:
This helped it improve the visitor to free conversion ratio by 43% percent. This is just one of a few examples that showcase how optimizing for micro conversions can lead to a better overall conversion.
You can read the complete case study about Tom’s Planner here.
Allowing You to Nurture Your Leads
When you figure out your ideal set of visitors, it’s important to take advantage of it by nurturing them.
For example, people who sign up for your monthly newsletter on your website. Such micro-conversions provide the perfect “foot-in-the-door” moment to nurture these leads.
Another example is exchanging an initial discount in exchange of a sign-up or email exchange. The discount might also lead to a transaction or might allow an online store to communicate with the visitor through email, thus improving the chance for a conversion.
This micro-conversion strategy has been used by a lot of online stores. For example, HauteLook uses a similar approach to encourage its first-time visitors to sign up for their email newsletter.
Measuring Effectiveness of a Communication Channel
One of the categories that falls under micro conversions is customers enrolling for services to maintain a relationship with your business. These could include:
Signing up for your Email Newsletter
Allowing push notifications
Subscribing to your YouTube channel, Facebook, or Twitter feed
A higher rate of conversion for these instances means that your audience is on track for the bigger picture. But what visitors should rather focus on post sign-ups is the interaction through these channels.
These micro-conversions are a good indicator of all these channels and the ones most effective among these. A higher engagement on these channels or signups portrays a strong channel and how your content should be poised relative to your audience.
Building the Right Conversion Funnels
It might have crossed your mind by now. Micro conversions are the perfect way to devise various conversion funnels for your online business.
Think about it for a second about what we spoke at the start of this article. These are the actions that lead people towards a larger goal.
By analyzing the right set of micro conversions in your business, you can figure out the journey your ideal set of customers takes.
For example, consider an eCommerce funnel. This is a series of an eCommerce micro-conversion:
Land on the home page.
Search for the preferred product (Micro).
Land on the product page (Micro).
Add the product to your cart (Micro).
Sign up or log in (Micro).
Check out (Macro).
The customer journey for an eCommerce here, is mostly consisting of a series of micro conversions. By stringing together these micro conversions, you can come out with the conversion funnel for an eCommerce business.
A customer’s journey is far from linear and when you bifurcate the customer journey into various micro-goals, you can concentrate on improving each aspect individually and indirectly improving your bigger goals.
Micro conversions can and should play a vital role in your marketing efforts. These help you track the effort and efficiency of each marketing channel that you are utilizing.
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Clearly defining the key performance indicators, or KPIs, is the first step to any Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) campaign. It is only through tracking and measuring results on these KPIs that a business can optimize for growth.
The KPIs in CRO can be broadly divided into two categories: macro and micro conversions (or goals).
Macro conversions are the primary goals of a website. Examples of macro conversions for SaaS, eCommerce, or any other online enterprise could be revenue, contact us, request a quote, and free-trial.
Micro conversions are defined as steps or milestones that help you reach the end goal. Micro conversion examples would include email clicks, downloads on white paper, blog subscriptions, and so on.
Improving macro goals is imperative to the growth of any enterprise. However, it is equally important that enterprises measure micro goals so as to enhance overall website usability. Avinash Kaushik talks on similar lines: “Focus on measuring your macro (overall) conversions, but for optimal awesomeness, identify and measure your micro conversions as well.”
In this blog post, we discuss why enterprises should:
Each micro conversion acts as a process milestone in the conversion funnel and impacts the ultimate step, or macro conversion. The following example explains this in a simple manner. Let’s take the case of a regular conversion funnel of a SaaS website. The funnel starts at the home page and ends with a purchase.
The visits from the home page to the features page and from the features page to the pricing page are micro conversions in this example. These micro conversions have the same end goal, that is, “purchases”.
If we were to double micro conversions from the home page to the “features” page, the result would be almost same as shown in the table below:
The number of completed purchases, that is, the macro conversion, also doubled. This example illustrates how micro conversions can have an impact on the macro conversions in a funnel.
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO of MECLABS, shares the same thought “The funnel represents and should be thought of as a representation of what is the heart of marketing, and that is a series of decisions. Those decisions are key transitions; I would call them micro-yeses. There are a series of micro-yeses necessary to help someone achieve an ultimate yes. The Ultimate Yes is the sale in most cases. At each of these junctures, we have to help people climb up the funnel.”
Micro conversions help you assess buyer readiness, or intent.
Micro conversions help you assess points of friction in a buyer’s journey.
Micro Conversions Help You Assess Buyer Readiness or Intent
All visitors who land on your website don’t have the intent to make a purchase. Some of them could be running a quick comparative research while others could be checking out your products or services during their first visit. Tracking micro conversions helps you understand whether a visitor could be a potential customer. For instance, tracking micro conversions, such as downloading a product brochure or adding a product to a wishlist, shows the future possibility of conversions on a macro goal.
These micro conversions, or secondary goals, are worth tracking as they clearly show that a visitor might have an interest in your business or product.
Here is an example:
PriceCharting conducted a preliminary A/B test to study if their buyers intended to buy from them at higher prices. They used the learning from this preliminary test for future testing. The objective of the test was defined as: Figuring out how price sensitive were the customers. On the “control,” they used “Starts at $4” next to the “Price Guide” CTA. Two other variations were studied against control. One of them stated a starting price of $2 next to the CTA, and the other mentioned $1 as the starting price.
The test results showed that the variation which stated the highest buys won the most clicks on the “Pricing Guide” CTA. This implied that people visiting PriceCharting valued their products and showed readiness to buy even at higher prices. The learning from this exercise for PriceCharting’s future tests was that price was not a major factor influencing their visitors.
Micro Conversions Help You Assess Points of Friction in Your Buyer’s Journey
Along with providing a complete view of your buyer’s journey, tracking micro conversions also helps identify drop-offs on the conversion funnel. For example, on an eCommerce website, users frequently visiting the product page but not adding products to cart implies something is putting off the visitors for moving from “product” to “add-to-cart.” Optimizing the micro goal here, which is increasing “add-to-cart” actions, will ultimately result in increased revenue.
Here’s an example of a multi-step sign-up form on a SaaS website. Suppose many users do not complete the form. By tracking micro conversions on the form, you will be able to identify the friction points. Maybe one of the steps in the form that asks for credit card information of users brings the most friction. With this knowledge, you can assess where users lie in their buyer journey and optimize the form accordingly. Optimizing each step in the form or micro conversions will help you improve your macro conversion.
When testing, the primary goal in the above examples can be to improve micro conversions. A case study by VWO talks about how displaying a banner for top deals increased engagement by 105% for eCommerce client Bakker-helligom. Ben Vooren, an online marketer at Bakker, realized that visitors go to the information pages and read the information, but leave without buying from the website, which was the macro goal. This was the friction that Ben wanted to address. He hypothesized that adding commercially-focused banners at the top of all the information pages (micro goal) will help resolve this friction. The test was run for 12 days on 8,000 visitors. The winning variation led to a 104.99% increase in visits to the “top deals page” and a statistical significance of 99.99%.
Optimize Those Micro Conversions Which Impact Macro Conversions
While running an A/B test for multiple variations, studying micro conversions on each of those variations can provide valuable insights. It can show you which changes impacted micro conversions, resulted in improved macro conversions, and which ones did not. As we mentioned, there are a number of micro conversions that you can look to optimize. But not all of these would contribute equally to macro conversions.
For instance, to optimize an eCommerce product page with macro goal of “increasing checkout”, there could be a number of test variations that you can run:
In Variation 1 the CTA ‘add to wish-list’ is made prominent In Variation 2 the CTA ‘save for later’ is made prominent
Both of these variations will not yield the same impact on the macro goal of increasing checkouts. You may realise that making the “save for later” CTA more prominent is yielding more increase in checkouts. So you would want to prioritize that micro conversion in the subsequent tests.
That said, when running a conversion rate optimization program, the test goal should be set as close to revenue as possible. There are two scenarios explained here wherein optimization for micro conversions can prove disastrous:
When Macro Conversions are Not Considered
Solely optimizing for micro conversions without considering how it impacts a major business goal is a total waste of time and efforts.
Peep Laja from ConversionXL says, “If you don’t have enough transaction volume to measure final purchases or revenue, that sucks. But if you now optimize for micro conversions instead, you might be just wasting everyone’s time as you can’t really measure business impact.”
For example, an eCommerce website can increase micro conversions (visits from the home page to the product page) by making the menu bar prominent on the home page. This change might result in higher visits to the product page. However, if you are not tracking the impact of this change on macro conversion (checkouts), the whole optimization process would lack direction.
When the Focus is on Quick Results
A/B tests with macro conversions as the primary goal can take a long time to provide conclusive results. Conversely, certain tests which measure micro conversions have a lesser testing time.
This happens because macro goals are always less in number in comparison to micro. For statistically significant results, a good amount of conversions on the macro goal are required. This exercise would take comparatively much more time than collecting micro conversions.
For example, on a SaaS website, if your primary goal was to increase visits from “the home page to the products page,” the test will take lesser time (because it has higher traffic) to give conclusive results compared to if the primary goal for the test was “Request a Demo.”
However, testing micro conversions with the objective of completing an experiment faster can lead to failure. While you can track different micro conversions, each of them may not result in a winning variation. This happens because each of those micro conversions might not directly lead to a lift in conversion rates. The false Micro-Conversion Testing Assumption example explained in a post on WidderFunnel, is one example that explains this. The gist of the proposed example is that optimizing micro conversions by assuming an equal drop-off at each stage of the funnel ultimately led to the loss of revenue.
The success of a CRO program rests on how well you define your micro and macro goals. The closer your micro goals are to the end goal in the funnel, the higher are your chances of getting a winning variation. On the other hand, tracking micro conversions and improving them can help you enhance the overall UX of your website.
What metrics are you tracking and optimizing for your conversion rate optimization program? Drop us a comment and let us know.
It is often easy to overlook the underlying principles that compel people to take action. Instead, we tend to obsess over minute details — things like button color, pricing and headlines. While these things can compel users to take action, it is worth considering the psychological principles that influence users’ behavior.
Unfortunately, few organizations try to understand what influences user action. Research by Eisenberg Holdings shows that for every $92 the average company spends attracting customers, a meager $1 is spent converting them.
Shopping Cart and Conversion Optimization platforms together have been making lives simpler for eCommerce business owners. With its latest release, VWO adds Demandware to its kitty of third-party app integrations to allow easy configuration of VWO SmartCode on Demandware stores. In addition, eCommerce stores using Demandware can also track their store revenue and configure custom URLs to run tests.
Using the plug-in, Demandware users can now directly add their preferred type of VWO SmartCode (Asynchronous or Synchronous) to all pages on their shopping website and get cracking with their A/B testing campaign. The plug-in also allows eCommerce websites to track revenue conversions in their preferred format, using different combinations of tax and shipping charges along with the actual value of each order.
A key outcome of this integration is that businesses running Demandware can enable custom URL tracking. This tracking allows running test campaigns on SEO-friendly URLs that don’t have a common pattern. In a typical eCommerce store, URLs are often morphed to match frequent search queries. However, the changing nature of these URLs makes it difficult for marketing platforms to recognize their page types. VWO’s custom URL tracking allows users to easily classify URLs into different categories such as Product Page, Category Page, or Checkout Page, and then run test campaigns on a specific group of pages together.
How Does it Work?
Installing the VWO code on your Demandware store is a one-minute process. Simply download the VWO plug-in and import it into your Demandware studio. Now, follow these simple steps to configure the VWO cartridge for your store with your preferred settings.
In simple words, there is no need to individually add the VWO code to all pages on your Demandware store. The VWO plug-in does all that for you in no time! Also, don’t forget to configure your revenue tracking with VWO and enable custom URLS for running targeted campaigns.
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