Are You Designing for Macro and Micro Conversions?

macro and micro conversions

Designing for conversions is nothing new, but the way marketers create and measure conversions is changing. Until recently, we’ve only really been able to measure user actions individually and do our best to build up a picture of the consumer journey they take.

However, with technology like Google Attribution we can now build up a more accurate picture of the actions users take across different channels, devices and sessions.

This is changing the way we look at conversions and the different types of actions consumers take long the buying process. Your clients are now measuring macro and micro conversions, which means you probably need to start designing for them.

Why should I care about macro, micro conversions?

Essentially, it comes down to guiding users along the consumer journey and being able to measure their progress.


People rarely land on a website and head straight for the buy button. They learn more about products, compare them with others, check out reviews and gradually work their way towards the purchase.

The problem is, if you just sit there and let users find their own way, there’s a good chance they’ll end up buying from somewhere else (or not at all). The idea of designing for macro/micro conversions is to lock users into your clients’ brand, making it less likely they’ll end up spending their money elsewhere.

Of course, this sounds an awful lot like designing sales funnels – and it’s essentially the same process. Except, you can’t simply measure the performance of a sales funnel. However, you can measure macro and micro conversions in Google Analytics to essentially do the same thing.

Here’s a painfully dull explanation from Google:

What are macro conversions?

Macro conversions are the real money earners for your clients: normally product sales or paid subscriptions, but possibly even ad/affiliate clicks for publishers. Whatever your client’s business model is, there are the conversions that bring in the money, nothing else.

The thing with macro conversions is they don’t just happen. People tend to need a little convincing before they open their wallets and this is where micro conversions come into things.

What are micro conversions?

Micro conversions are the actions users frequently take before they make a purchase. Once you identify what these actions are you can create goals in Google Analytics to track them. This not only helps measure the effectiveness of your websites but also the advertising campaigns and other marketing strategies your clients are using.

Here are some common micro conversions:

  • Email signup
  • Created account
  • Download
  • Visit product page
  • Add to basket
  • Free demo signup
  • Watch promotional video
  • Frequent visits

None of those actions have any value in themselves but you can map out a number of consumer journeys with them. The crucial factor is they’re all measurable, which means your clients can adapt their marketing strategies, as users get closer to making the purchase.

For example, when a user signs up to a newsletter from the homepage, you’re looking at a fairly generic email marketing strategy. However, when they sign up after visiting three product pages and placing one in their basket, your clients can be a lot more targeting with their email marketing efforts.

Designing for macro/micro conversions

As brands need to focus more on the smaller details (micro conversions, micro-moments, omnichannel marketing, attribution models, etc.), the elements you design on the page become all the more important.

It puts greater emphasis on how you design your email signup forms where place them. You’re not designing forms simply to get the largest number of signups anymore; you’re designing them as part of a more intricate network of conversions that build up to sale.

The quality of each signup counts: why they signed up, where they signed up and what this says about their position along the buying process.

An example of designing for micro-conversions

Let’s say you have an eCommerce and the subject turns to popups – one of the dirtiest topics in web design. Your clients read all about these things and they’re impressed by the “case studies” they’ve seen. They want in on the action.

The default choice with popups seems to be timed overlays with the goal of increasing email signups. But signups for what? Slapping popups on every page with generic marketing goals is why these things have such a bad name.

Instead, let’s apply them to micro conversions and a specific objective.

Okay, imagine you’ve got an eCommerce clients and one of their visitors has placed an item in their basket. Bang, there’s your micro conversion. From here there are two outcomes: this visitor buys the product or they abandon their cart. Your aim is to minimise the risk of the latter happening.

One option you have is to implement exit- intent popups that only trigger after an item is placed in the basket and users attempt to leave. Now, this popup can offer a discount, voucher or simply to save their shopping list for future reference.

The point is, this implementation prevents users from leaving and gives them an additional incentive to buy. And, if the visitor still decides to leave, your clients have AdWords remarketing as a backup strategy to keep engaging with this user.

Once again, the big picture in all of this is that this approach to designing for micro conversions is measurable. And we’re not just talking data here; we’re talking quality data. By tracking these micro conversions in Google Analytics, your client can specifically measure how effective these exit popups are at reducing cart abandonment and increasing sales. Now we’re talking about macro conversions and this is the whole idea.

Welcome to the days of micro marketing

I’ll admit I’m already sick of hearing about micro-this, micro-that – but we need to pay attention. Designing page elements for maximum conversions doesn’t cut it any more. We have to think about what kind of conversion we’re designing for, where this fits along the consumer journey and how we can implement them along side other elements to guide users in the right direction.