One of the most common questions we get asked about conversions as digital marketers are “Which marketing channel works best?”  As businesses, we don’t have unlimited financial resources to pour into marketing campaigns so we need to make strategic decisions as to what marketing channel to invest our valuable dollars and time into.  Social Media?  Paid Advertising?  TV?  Radio?

The reason we get asked these questions is because small businesses with limited budgets and resources try to run these campaigns on their own and see limited results.  I find quite often they have run online campaigns for a couple of months with poor results, or they paid Facebook a few hundred dollars to “boost” a post and didn’t see any returns so the attitude is that these methods don’t work.

When we take on new clients we like to look at what they’ve done in the past and the most common issue we find as to why their campaigns had not worked is that they never set up proper goal tracking to measure the results properly.  There are many different types of goals that are worth measuring but what I wanted to talk about today is something we use with our client’s campaigns that we all micro and macro conversions.  Not tracking conversions is akin to playing a soccer game without keeping score.  How do you know if you’re winning the game if you’re not keeping score?

Assisted Conversions - Google AnalyticsA macro conversion is an ultimate goal we typically strive for which for a business is the sale or having a prospect reach out for their service in the form of an online form or a phone call.  A micro conversion is a small event that may be an important element that will inevitably drive the macro conversion. An example of this might be if someone watched a video on the website, or showed interest in a page or content on the website.

Now, imagine you want to run a campaign to drive brand awareness for a new business and website you launched.  A display campaign on Google is a great way of doing this.  For this type of a campaign, you want to set a micro and a macro conversion.  The macro conversion would obviously be a signing on a new customer but the micro conversion could be engagement with the website in that they visited two more pages instead of bouncing on the first page. Once we have these set up we’re ready to roll.

In Google AdWords, for example, we can see many different data points as to where the traffic came from that clicked on our ad, what age group and gender they may be, their proximity to the business when they clicked etc.  Because we’re driving brand awareness we want to look at this data and paint a picture of what types of customers are engaging with our website and services and which ones are the ones that macro convert.  All the while we’re adding the micro converters but did not macro convert into remarketing lists that we further advertise to, because we know they showed interest in our page by visiting more that one page.

Path Length To Conversions - Google AnalyticsEven though the micro conversion traffic didn’t end up converting does not mean my campaign wasn’t successful because the data and insight we learn from this traffic will ultimately help us drive macro conversions down the road.  As business owners, we need to understand that every single visitor to our websites provides us an opportunity to learn more about our customers and how well our website performs.  In addition, we also need to understand that people visiting the website may not be in a position to convert or call at that moment.  They could be on the train, waiting to get into a meeting or simply in a hurry.

If we just measured our campaign success on how many people macro convert we may be disappointed or feel that the campaign isn’t working, where if we add in micro conversions we can start to see what patterns lead to more goals.

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Images are screen shots from Google Analytics

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