Using Goals and Micro-Conversions in Analytics to Match Your Customer Funnel

Often, when webmasters and business owners try to identify the ultimate purpose of their website, they think of one thing: Sales. Increasing revenue is often the number one purpose for any given website, no matter what the business. While different types of businesses have different ways to increase revenue, it’s pretty typical that most business owners and marketing managers are primarily concerned about the site’s impact on their bottom line before anything else.   The mechanics that influence the bottom line can vary dramatically: Webmasters may be relying on product sales and eCommerce transactions. Lead generation sites may gather new customers primarily from contact forms that arm their sales team with the information needed to follow up. Content writers and blogs may focus on engagement metrics so they can monetize their site to advertisers. Whatever the case, there are measureable milestones that can act as great performance indicators for sites of all types.   However, as the digital world continues to become more complex, with more and more channels used to market your business, and more steps that lead customers from discovery to conversion, it’s important to measure all goals on your site and ensure they align with your customer’s journey. Below, we look at three different types of websites and the macro-conversions and micro-conversions often associated with each of these types of sites.

Setting Up Goals for eCommerce Sites

E-Commerce websites have a pretty straightforward purpose, and it should come as no surprise that the primary macro-conversion should be a sale. But what steps go into identifying the micro-conversions that might come with your eCommerce site?   CrazyEgg recommends first identifying the macro-conversions for your site, and then simply brainstorming other activities that can act as milestones to signal that a user might be close to purchasing or further engaging with your content. These can include the following:  
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Adding a product to a user’s cart or favorites
  • Reading or writing reviews
  • Watching a video about the product
  • Sharing the product on social media
  Once you’ve identified the tools in your marketing arsenal that can serve as micro-conversions, the next step is learning how to measure them. Depending on the tracking that you’re using, this can include destination URLs set up within Analytics, or events to be tracked using either Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager.   The training video above walks over how to set up goals and events for eCommerce sites. For Tag Manager, the video below walks over the details of integrating tags in Tag Manager with your data layer to synchronize goals with Google Analytics.   Ensure that you track the micro-conversions on your site, and nurture the channels and marketing efforts that are leading users to these small conversions prior to a purchase. For instance, if you find that users are adding an item to their cart yet not converting, this can alert you to complications within the purchasing funnel that may be preventing a sale. First, take a look at your purchasing funnel and monitor any exit pages for drop-offs. While you make fixes to simplify the purchasing process, nurture the channels and marketing messages that are driving users to the product. Some guiding questions can include:  
  • Have any social media campaigns explicitly focused on this product?
  • Where are people adding the product? Is this a featured product from your homepage, or are users actively seeking out the product through your navigation?
  • Are you driving users to land on this particular product page using AdWords, the Display Network, or organic search?
  Double-down on these marketing efforts to ensure that you continue to drive a steady stream of leads to the site. In doing so, you’re helping customers to discover your site, build trust, and can ultimately retarget the user until a purchase is made.

Lead Generation

With a lead generation site, businesses are often selling a service rather than an individual commodity. As a result, the end goal is simply having a user submit a contact form indicating that they’re interested in a particular service. Sites like this often need to require on multiple channels in order to acquire conversions, and simple steps can often signal interest and trust in the brand while also signalling purchasing intent.   ConversionXL points out that these are divided into two different types of conversions. Citing a report from NN/g, there are two distinct types of micro-conversions that become especially relevant for lead generation sites:  
  • Process Milestones – These actions lead directly to a macro-conversion. In this case, this could include viewing the pricing menu or even a secondary contact form on the site designed to request more information.
  • Secondary Actions – These actions don’t necessarily translate to a particular conversion funnel, but signal interest and trust in the brand or the product. This could include visiting a certain number of pages, comments on a blog post, or sharing a page using social media. Other actions also include downloading an ebook or whitepaper–something to supplement your conversion funnel by requesting a newsletter subscription to access the gated content. Those who fill out the form are indicating trust, brand affinity, and a willingness to read more of your content.
  It’s critically important to look at these secondary actions as a paramount part of your marketing efforts. Since the financial decision may take place without a physical meeting or phone conversation, secondary actions often serve to build trust in the brand, augmenting the sales pitch by illustrating your site’s ability to act as an authority and a resource for these brands. Again, it’s crucial to find ways to nurture these channels and identify how to reach more users that trust the brand and can amplify your content’s reach. This can happen across a number of different channels: From email marketing to content marketing and social media, brands can develop ways to build trust for their site and nurture the potential to groom leads out of these very preliminary signs of interest.

Blog Conversions

If the site is purely content driven, typically your macro-conversions would be unique visitors. This would give you a platform on which to build out your advertising pricing so that advertisers can get a sense of the amount of impressions and ads your site may serve. However, there are some significant micro-conversions that, in this case, could be lumped in with process milestones in order to better understand your visitor and nurture further visits. These could include the following:  
  • Sharing a certain piece on social media
  • Commenting on a blog post indicating engagement with the content
  • Visits to at least three pages or more
  • Time on site goals
  Time-on-site goals and pages visited goals are part of the default settings for custom goals within Analytics. Setting these up can be an easy way to open your eyes to additional marketing opportunities and ensure that you’re seeing a growing audience. Additionally, by measuring the micro-conversions on your blog, you can better measure the marketing channels that had the greatest impact–both for converting visitors and those who seemed to simply register interest and trust in the topics that you’re covering. What are some of the micro-conversions that you find to be important? Let us know in the comments below! For more information on how to better measure and understand your traffic, user behavior, and conversions, sign up for our newsletter!  [grwebform url=”″ css=”on” center=”on” center_margin=”200″/]

Leverage your product: How to make sure it’s worth growing

Product demand

Sit down and ask yourself. Are you answering the needs of the consumer? Will they miss you if you were not in the market place. If your answer is is less then 40% you should revise until you have an answer to market need. One of the crazy facts about me as an entrepreneur is that I love trying out new ideas. I have a furniture site, an online flower shop, and some other eCommerce sites that I test Product/Marketing/Conversion strategies on continuously. One of the big takeaways I learned from with these tests is how important market demand is for items. For this article I will be referencing my success with my Online Web Design Business: Creativehaus. I will also give examples of my brick and mortar company: Fox and Jane Salon. It has now become our mission that every product we work on must answer this question: How would you feel if you could no longer have this product? — CreativeHaus really answered this question first hand. We get so many clients who literally say they couldn’t have put their business online if it wasn’t for our flexible prices and support. Our cancellation rates compared to our other services are extremely low due to the fact that we answer such a demand. We never nickel and dime the client, we found this was a retention issue with web designers who would get the client for an initial design, they would then leave and go somewhere else a year or two later. Fox and Jane was an early adopter to this concept in the brick and mortar perspective. We slightly underpriced our high end, boutique experience. All our stylists must have 5 years minimum experience and go through an intensive training process. Finally we heard from clients that a business reflective to the community goal was important. This answers the demand of quality, affordable, services with ethical mission statement to help the local groups. Since its inception 3 years ago we have now grown to be the busiest salon in NYC area and do close to $4 million a year in business.

Give your budget a fighting chance

Whenever we first start marketing efforts we always start the uphill battle of conversion and budget. I quickly try to learn about the emotions of the visitor so not to waste PPC budgets, this is otherwise known as A/B testing. I also meet with my sales team/office staff to figure out the exact concerns of a client as they contact us. I try to subtlety answer concerns they might have whilst on my sites. I spend time making changes and addressing the visitors to conquer conversions.

Fix leaks

Creativehaus did this after a bumpy few weeks with conversion tracking. We updated the image of a mobile device and a website on it, no contract, all inclusive. We also took away online ordering of the service, now a client fills out a form and gets to talk through the issues and design they want to have. CreativeHaus now has a close rate of 60% and a conversion of 1:10 to 1:19 depending on if I’m running Pay Per Click. With Fox and Jane we have our prices clearly posted, reference to yelp reviews, well branded website, and the ability to book online. Our conversion is now between 1:6 to 1:8 depending on seasonality. This has allowed us to leverage marketing spends and have a strong return on investment.

Increase ease of action

“Nothing ever comes easy” – Should not apply to a conversion on your website. You want to make the ease of purchase instant. Amazon has done this with 1 click purchasing. I typically have a form visible for ‘fill out’ on every page of my site. I also try to reduce the process of eCommerce purchasing with fast checkout options. Fox and Jane helps this by directing clients to a specific geo page based on their location, appointment setting, and a phone number that they would need to make an appointment. Many other location specific Salon sites lack this goal.

In all…

You have to find the best conversions for you. What might sell paper plates may not be the same conversion ideas of someone selling high end rugs. Keep this in mind and be agile in your approach to updates and changes.