When you’re evaluating your goals and tweaking your website to improve your performance, it’s important to understand the difference between conversion and micro-conversion. What do these terms mean, and how do they help you reach your goals?
Conversion, or main conversion for the purposes of comparing things in this article, is the goal action that is most closely tied to revenue. If you’re selling a product, the conversion happens when the person completes the checkout and makes the purchase. Many people misuse the term “conversion” when they’re testing. They may refer to things like downloading a whitepaper, providing an email address or adding something to a cart as a conversion. None of these things are actually conversion - conversion is the action that is most closely tied to revenue.
Micro-conversion is a term that can be used to refer to goals that may eventually contribute conversion, but are not tied to revenue. It’s good to get a micro-conversion, but it’s better to get a full conversion. However, you can better test the performance of your website by tracking multiple goals - micro-conversions get your prospects closer to conversion, and can be an indicator that a small tweak may get your customer across the line to conversion.
One popular conversion testing book author has created nicknames for different types of micro-conversions that can be useful in your testing:
• Micro-step conversion: this is a goal that is a step along the way toward full conversion. If you’re selling a product, for example, getting the customer to add a product to the cart might be a micro-step conversion - one step closer to purchase, but not actually across the line to checkout.
• Micro-indicator conversion: this type of goal indicates interest in a future conversion. A micro-indicator conversion may be something like a social-media interaction, or downloading a whitepaper. Staying in touch or following up with these prospects can tip the scale toward a full conversion.
When you’re testing your website, tracking all of these actions can tell you whether you’re improving your process and getting your prospects closer to conversion. But don’t misuse “conversion” when you’re setting your goals; make sure you differentiate between revenue-generating actions, and steps along the way.