Understanding and Measuring Micro and Macro Conversions

So, today we are going to talk about improving a site through the recognition and analysis of Micro and Macro outcomes on a website. You may not know what either of these things are, especially if you are new to running a website so here is a brief overview.

What the Different Kinds of Conversions Are

Macro Conversions: These are primary conversions, or overarching goals of a website. For an e-commerce site this would be a sale.

Micro Converstions: These are secondary conversions, which represent smaller steps or actions that we want visitors to take. This could simply be clicking a link on the page or signing up for a newsletter. They are often associated with being smaller steps to achieving macro conversions, which may or may not be true.

I think this visual representation, originally from an article by Kevin McCaffrey,  below can be very helpful in understand how they can work together or independently.

Michael Hope with US Search Laboratory helps us to identify each kind of conversion through the use of this chart:

Learning from an Existing Site

Now that we have established what they are we will use the Iowa City Mission Creek Festival webpage as an example to discuss how to recognize and measure outcomes.

Mission Creek is unique because of their selection of experiemental and under-represented artists. A handful of individuals cultivate a list of musical performers and authors of all ages and genres in order to give the audience experience with different mediums of art. Additionally the venues for the events are spread across Iowa City, allowing attendees to visit many locally and nationally recognized locations.

Identifying and Measuring Conversions

First we start by consider all of the reasons that people may visit the site and what we are hoping to achieve through their visit. For the Mission Creek webpage I’ve identified 5 reasons people may visit the site:

  • Volunteer opportunities
  • General information search
  • Media interests
  • Sponsorship/donation opportunities
  • Purchase tickets to attend

From these intentions and the current website layout we can determine how to measure these conversions. This way we can determine if we are providing people the tools they need and also if our site is set up in a way that is providing the company the outcomes it desires.


  • General information search- # of page visits/ homepage bounce rate
  • Volunteer opportunities- # of volunteer inquiries
  • Media interests- # of media inquiries


  • Newsletter sign-ups- # of subscribers per month
  • Sponsorship/donation opportunities- # of donations received/ % of conversions from donations inquiries
  • Purchase tickets- # of tickets sold/conversation rate from overall site visitors

Areas the Site is Successful

It is convenient for users that the festival headliners are directly on their landing page for people seeking information. As well as having direct links to the full line-up and the page to purchase tickets. They also have a link for people that are seeking more general information about the festival as well.

Areas for Site Improvement

They may find better success in donation collection and volunteer sign up if there were a direct link from the home page. Currently you have to dive pretty deep into their “About” section to find any information, and for volunteer opportunities there isn’t a sign-up page, just a place to send an email.

Additionally, an interactive photo gallery or a video about the festival may help increase engagement from visitors. As well as including information about the local area and travel accommodations in the “About” sections.

Key Takeaways

One of the most important things to understand about conversions is that they are different for each company/website based upon what goals your company has for the site.

It is critical to identify not only what they are but how to measure them so that we can put our numbers to work for us as make improvements to the website as a result.







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