The term conversion often relates to visitors that complete a desired goal.

A conversion rate is the percentage of that goal completion out of the total number of visitors. Goals vary between industries. For example, a conversion for an Ecommerce store would be successful checkouts, whereas for a lead generation store it could be form completions on a form.

Just to let you know, in this blog we’ll be switching between the term conversion rate optimisation and CRO throughout. Not for any specific reason, but just that sometimes it sounds better saying the full term, while other times, we can get away with saying CRO.

When some digital marketers introduce it as CRO to senior management, there are at times a time of confusion, “Why on earth do we need to invest in a bird?” (get it).

A key goal for any conversion rate optimisation manager is to streamline the user journey and increase conversions for their website.

One beautiful thing about CRO is that it influences all channels and is backed by data, which removes the guess work.

But a common mistake people make is that they focus solely on end conversions, meaning the macro, or main conversion such as the checkout journey. We’re not saying that this is a bad thing, but it’s time to look at the "conversion within a conversion".

No, this isn’t a marketing rendition of the great, awesome, confusing film Inception (he was still in a dream at the end), this is focusing on micro conversions.

What are Micro Conversions?

A micro conversion is a step a user takes that indicates interest in your website. This could be anything from steps that assist in a primary macro conversion, to actions that help future engagement.

Let’s put this into perspective, say you are an Ecommerce store selling electronic goods. A macro conversion is when a user purchases a product from your website. But a micro conversion can be the steps taken such as adding a product to cart, creating an account, subscribing to the newsletter, or watching a video.

You may have not realised how important some of these steps are but through the right conversion rate optimisation strategy, you begin to appreciate these effective steps within the conversion funnel.

Micro Conversions In Action

For example, imagine you have a pretty awesome email marketing team and you have noticed that the email newsletter is one of the strongest converting campaigns for your company.

Your conversion rate optimisation manager or the agency you have hired has noticed that the only time you ask your audience to subscribe to the newsletter is at the checkout stage of the website when the user is inserting their checkout information.

Through some data analysis and design ideas, a proposal is brought in to have a newsletter subscription option permanent within the footer. After a period of two weeks, the experiment has concluded.

You’ve noticed that the newsletter subscription field in the footer delivered more subscribed users and at the same time, revenue from email has increased.

That’s the power of a micro conversion. Its ability to influence the overall conversion shows why it is an important element of conversion rate optimisation.

How to Track Micro Conversions

Micro conversions can be tracked in your favourite performance analytics tool such as Google Analytics.

One benefit of tracking these is that you will have a constant reporting layout of these that you can analyse based on dimensions such as devices, source / medium and campaign. Each micro conversion can be tracked as a “Goal” in Google Analytics.

However, before you start setting up goals, you need to determine what micro conversions you want to track as part of your conversion goals within that complement your business objectives.

As a data-driven conversion rate optimisation agency, our specialists tend to track as many micro conversions as possible, and dive deeper into granular events to paint a bigger picture.

You can use a tag management tool such as Google Tag Manager to effectively “tag” up your website to track almost anything. If you’re familiar with Google Tag Manager, great, let's carry on! If you need to get familiar with Google Tag Manager, there is a free fundamentals course from Google that you should get your hands on.

Let’s look at an example of a situation where you would want to tag up micro conversions for users to add a product to their cart. We’re going to assume you already have enabled the built-in variables and already have clicks listener tag for this.

Tracking Micro Conversions in Google Tag Manager

Open your Google Tag Manager container and enter preview mode so that we don’t mess anything up and publish straight away. Go to a product page on your website and click the add to cart button.

On the left-hand side of your Tag Manager snip, you should see an action pop up. If you’ve not clicked on anything else on the page, it will be the most recent action.

For us, it is action number 5, “Click”. Select it and click on Variables.

You should see a list of variables that has been recorded based on the click activity. As this is an add to cart event, we want to look for anything unique relating to the button.

It’s important to use unique variables based on your tags as you do not want to mix things up.

Image of Google Tag Manager

As this was a click, we will go to our Trigger list and create a new Trigger. We will be using “Click – All Elements” and only fire this trigger on some clicks.

We’ll take the Click Text from the variable report previously and have this trigger fire when Click Text equals Add to Cart.

Google Tag Manager Some Clicks

Next, we are going to create a new tag. We are going to select “Google Analytics: Universal Analytics” for the Tag Type and change the Track Type to Event.

Changing it to Event allows us to monitor activity in Google Analytics and report on them better under the Behaviour > Events report. For best practice, we like to use grouped Categories, and have specific Actions and Labels.

For our Add to Cart, we have decided to have “Ecommerce” as the Category, and “Add Product To Cart” as the Action.

GTM Google Analytics Track Type

Once your Tag is configured, refresh your container and your web page, wait for the page and the Tag Manager section to load and add a product to cart.

If configured correctly, you should see it appear in the Tag Manager Summary.

If it hasn’t fired, then perform some troubleshooting to see where you went wrong and try again.

You can also test if events are firing in Google Analytics by Selecting Realtime > Events. Once everything is fine, publish your tag and get ready for the second stage.

Tracking Micro Conversions in Google Analytics

Now that you’ve set up your micro conversions in Google Tag Manager and hit the publish button, let’s go into Google Analytics to start collecting data. If you would like to set the event as a goal, go into your admin section and select Goals under your desired view.

Goals set up

Select Custom and give your Goal a name, we’re going to call this “Add To Cart”. Next, give your goal a slot ID. Remember, you have a limit on the number of goals you can create so make sure any goal you create is important and relevant

GA events match

After clicking Continue, make sure the Category and Action match the Category and Action you set up in Google Tag Manager. Once you are happy with this, click save and there you have it, your Goal has been set up for the micro conversion.

You do not always have to create a goal, you can still monitor behaviour and measure micro conversions in Google Analytics under the Events report.

Plan To Monitor Micro Conversions On A Weekly

We recommend you wait a few weeks to gather data on your website. It depends on the level of traffic your website receives. Once you feel that you have enough data, go to Behaviour > Events > Overview and you can see your event activity here.

You can go into deeper data by also creating a segment that you can use to look at behaviour of those who triggered your event.

You can schedule your reports in Google Analytics to be sent to the key stakeholders at a set time so that it always stays in your mind and removes the risk of forgetting to check up on the micro conversions.

Testing & Optimising Micro Conversions

Now that the micro conversions have been set up and you’ve left it to gather data, you should have key insights that you can convert to actions.

It’s time to set up a document with your findings and identify what micro conversions need optimising. You could consider setting up some process milestones so you have a clear definition of progress.

If testing and execution is new, hire an experienced Conversion Rate Optimisation agency who would perform the tests and develop new strategies on your behalf.


They should be able to interpret data at a granular level to uncover hidden conversion barriers and identify areas of improvement.

To summarise, testing both macro and micro conversions helps your business growth in the digital world. However, optimising for micro conversions is great and is often missed out or completely ignored.

With the correct tracking in place and strategy, you can turn your website into a winning one with small changes across your website that influences conversions later down the funnel.

If you would like to know more of what we do or want to learn how we can help you optimise your website with a full CRO strategy, get in touch with the Williams Commerce Team.