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Conversion Rate Optimization

How to use micro conversions to increase sales

Micro conversions allow you to measure (and optimize) journeys instead of moments. In today's world of increasing CAC and competition, it is more important than ever to focus on repeat purchases and lifecycle marketing.

This guide details how eCommerce stores can implement micro conversions into their overall conversion optimization strategy. 

If you are already familiar with micro conversions and would like to skip straight to the best practices, click here. Otherwise, read on to see what micro conversions are and the different types you should consider.

What are micro conversions?

A mirco conversion is a an action taken by a user that indicates a key step toward a "macro conversion", typically a purchase. 

It is a subset of user events, which are defined as any interaction between a user and a brand. In contrast, micro conversions are identified as high signal and often mandatory preliminary actions users must take before they are able to complete a purchase.

What are the best examples of micro conversions?

One misconception is that eCommerce funnels are one size fits all. The truth is....

The best micro conversions are context dependent.

This makes intuitive sense when you realize the vast array of eCommerce industries today. Some stores live off the impulse $5 add on while others depend on once a decade $10,000 purchases. 

That being said, below is a list of common micro conversions that may be tracked. 

1. Destination based micro conversions

A destination based micro conversion is a conversion based on visitors viewing a page. 

Examples of destination based micro conversions are

  • Landing pages
  • Checkout pages
  • Thank you pages

2. Time based micro conversions

Time, or duration based, micro conversions are based on how long a visitor is engaged in a certain activity. These types of micro conversions are crucial to measure engagement, and are especially useful in industries that have  long buying cycles.

Typically, these micro conversions are defined as a visitor passing a pre-defined threshold of time engaged in a given activity.

  • X minutes of time on site 
  • X minutes of time engaged with a product feature
  • X minutes of time watching a video 

3. Action (event) based micro conversions

As we will see, action or event based micro conversions should be your bread and butter. Events are more granular, and thus more descriptive of what is actually happening. 

Events are the only way to properly capture the nuance of a visitor navigating through your site. 

  • Signup for loyalty programs
  • Redeem coupons or deals
  • Engage with personalized offers
  • Watching a video
  • Clicking to call a sales rep or customer support

Micro conversion best practices. A step by step guide to increasing sales.

1. Define what you want to improve

The first key to a successful micro conversion practice is to define exactly what you want to improve.

There is a temptation to track everything. The consequence of this is a deluge of data and meaningless noise. 

You want clarity in your conversion optimization campaigns, with clearly defined AB tests.

The major considerations for most eCommerce businesses will revolve around customer acquisition, customer retention, and increasing lifetime value.

Do you want to discover which channels generate the most valuable customers?

Do you want to see which products lead to repeat purchases?

Or do you want to improve your cart abandonment rate? 

Each of these questions requires a different set of micro-conversions to measure.

2. Define what success looks like (KPIs)

After you determine what you want to improve, the next step is defining what success looks like. 

Typically this will be in the form of a single KPI metric.

3. Outline the customer journey to achieve your KPI metric

We've detailed before in our guide on conversion rate optimization how to find the biggest opportunities in CRO. The same tactics can be applied here to identify the micro conversions that lead up to your key performance indicator. 

  • Prioritize bottlenecks - Your site has checkpoints that every customer must pass through. In eCommerce, these pages are typically a product page, a checkout page, and a thank you/upsell page.
  • Analyze current traffic trends - You can identify other opportunities by analyzing your current traffic trends. Which of your pages get the most traffic? As we say in the guide:

    "If one category accounts for 80% of sales, invest in that category before the others."
  • Important segments - Finally, you should pay special attention to important segments. For example, do you want to measure first time shoppers differently than customers who are already enrolled in your loyalty programs?

4. Identify the top 3-5 steps in your customer journey leading to conversion

Now that you have your journey mapped out, you want to whittle it down to the key steps. 

Again, we want to focus on the highest leverage moments to create AB test experiments for.  For that, we want to key in on the 3-5 key steps that shoppers take on their way to completing the KPI you defined in step 2. 

One common mistake is not taking into account post purchase micro-conversions. In our last study on email marketing statistics, we found triggered emails for post purchases had incredibly high conversion rates, with an average conversion rate of 7%.

5. Implement user ID tracking

As a final preliminary step, you should have implemented user ID tracking. 

Improving eCommerce conversions requires a longitudinal view of customers. Without the ability to track users across devices, the metrics you choose in step 2, and especially metrics such as repeat purchases, retention, or customer lifetime value will be inaccurate.

The single best way to overcome this challenge is by implementing a unique user ID to track customers across sessions.

Barilliance enables cross-device tracking: Barilliance compliments user ID tracking with email pixel booster. Sometimes, customers don't log into your site, and would otherwise remain anonymous. However, Barilliance's pixel booster is able to tie these anonymous sessions to identified users when they click on a marketing link, giving you more complete understanding of your customers.

6. Setup tracking for each micro-conversion

With a unified user ID tracking, we are now ready to setup tracking for each micro-conversion.

There are many analytics companies capable of tracking micro conversions for your site. However, with Google Analytics making the recent update to Google Analytics 4, funnel tracking is easier than ever. 

Google  Analytics 4 comes with a number of advanced features previously reserved for Google Analytics 360, including advanced funnel and cohort analysis.

How to use micro conversions to increase sales

With micro conversions set up on your site, the next step is to use the data to improve sales. 

There are three key ways to use micro conversions to increase sales. 

1. Create multivariate tests to improve independent micro conversions

The most direct way to improve sales with micro conversions is to identify weak points in your conversion funnels and improve those areas. 

The best way to accomplish this is through multivariate testing.  Below is an excellent example by Casper Mattress, changing multiple elements at once to discover how to improve the first step of their funnel, the home page.

With Barilliance, it is easy to implement any number of multivariate tests, giving the ability to improve multiple micro conversion steps at once. Below is an example from one store implementing various rules and measuring the effects on conversions, revenue, and average order value. 

Create Multivariate Test with Live Editor:  Barilliance empowers eCommerce stores to quickly create multiple versions of their site with an easy to use, no code WYSIWYG editor. Click here to learn more.

2. Use micro conversion data to create useful behavioral segments

Second, micro conversion data allows you to create incredibly powerful customer segments. 

We've created a few excellent guides in the past on how eCommerce stores can utilize behavioral segmentation to increase profits.  One easy to understand approach to behavioral segmentation is RFM analysis.

In addition to providing integrations with analytic platforms such as Google Analytics, Barilliance automatically tracks a number of customer behaviors.

3. Implement personalization software to create relevant, personalized offers and experiences for your behavioral segments.

To truly unlock the power of micro conversions, eCommerce stores should create personalized offers for each step of the customer journey.

We've put together a few detailed guides on the most common applications, including:

Below are some highlights of companies using personalization to bolster their micro conversion benchmarks.

1. How Billabong uses personalized product recommendations to increase AOV

Billabong uses personalization to not only increase conversions, but also increase their average order value

In fact, they were able to increase their conversions from product recommendations by 15.2% using micro-conversion data with Barilliance's AI.

You can see the full case study here.

2. Using behavioral segments to create timely offers

Skandium has created a unique way to stop cart abandonment.

When a visitor copies a product name on their site, they interrupt the process by displaying a personalized pop-up letting them know that they price match on the item they are viewing. 

3. Improve each step of the journey with AB tests

Finally, implementing AB and multivariate testing doesn't have to be complicated. 

Barilliance's platform is built to quickly create multiple versions of your site in minutes with a no code, WYSIWYG editor. The dashboard lays out clearly which variation is winning across a number of key metrics, from conversion rates to revenue, to average order value. You can even define your own goals. 

In this way, personalization can gradually increase each step of your customer journey, using micro conversions as your custom goal to determine if the personalization is truly creating a better customer experience.

Above, a Barilliance customer found that improving their popup to a specific segment increased revenue by 20% compared to the control group.

Next steps...

Once you've decided to invest in micro conversion tracking, you want to decide how to capitalize on the data. 

For that, you need a personalization partner who is able to track users across devices, setup tests for each step of your customer journey, and create relevant, compelling offers along the way.

For a quick guide on how to select a personalization vendor, click here.

And, if you would like to see if Barilliance can help your store setup and improve micro conversions, you can request a demo here.

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