There’s a tremendous amount of data out there for marketers. According to the IDC, we generated 1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion GBs) of information in 2011. In 2012, we added another zettabyte. And by 2020, we’re expected to hit 40 zettabytes. With all of it to sort through, it can be difficult to determine what metrics really matter, and which ones to keep an eye on. Should you be paying attention to the number of Facebook likes? The number of web visits? What about bounce rate?
Even if you love getting lost in data and analytics, it can be overwhelming. So that’s why I want to talk to you about setting goals, then focusing on conversions, more so than specific metrics. Since various metrics can play a role in conversions, it allows you to focus on what really matters, rather than on picking and choosing the numbers that you think may matter the most.
What Are Your Goals?
Before you can figure out what matters, you need to create your own definition of success. When setting your goals make sure they follow the SMART model:
- Strategic: Make it clear, and specific, related to accomplishing your end goal. If it’s not, you won’t be able to focus your efforts the way you need to, or get the motivation you need to achieve it. What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources and limits are involved?
- Measurable: Your goal must be measurable to track your progress and remain motivated. It keeps you focused, allows you to meet your deadlines, and generate excitement because you’re closer to reaching your goal. Your goal should answer questions like: how much? How many? Or, how will I know when it is accomplished?
- Attainable: Before your goal can be successful, it must first be realistic and attainable. It’s unrealistic to lose 100 pounds in a month, so even though it’s measurable, it’s not attainable. You must be able to answer how you’ll accomplish the goal, and be able to determine how realistic the goal is based on any other constraints you may be facing, like time, budget, and staffing issues.
- Relevant: This ensures your goals not only matter to you, but are also in alignment with other goals. While you should make plans that drive your entire company forward, you must ensure that each individual is responsible for achieving their own goal. If the goal is relevant, it can answer yes to any of these questions: Is this worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match our other efforts and needs? Am I the right person to achieve this goal? Is this goal applicable in the current socioeconomic climate?
- Time-Based: All your goals should have a target date, so you have a deadline to keep yourself focused. Having this deadline in place prevents your everyday tasks from taking precedence over your long-term goals.
An example SMART goal: “Sarah is responsible for increasing Facebook reach by 10% by the end of 2017.” You should take time to set goals for both macro conversions and micro conversions.
What is a Micro Conversion?
Micro conversions are metrics that show the potential for success, without necessarily equaling success. These are essentials for businesses with long sales cycles, as a full conversion may not happen for months or even a year after the initial contact takes place. There are likely lots of micro conversions hiding in your current marketing strategy, such as:
- Email list sign up
- Downloading a free resource
- Liking or following on social media channels
- People reading/commenting on your blog
- Sharing your content
- Watching a video
- Followed a topic
None of these activities relate directly to sales, but they do help educate and engage your audience. When someone completes a micro conversion, they are showing interest in your business, which is a necessary step toward macroconversion.
There are two types of micro conversions: process milestones and secondary actions. Process milestones refer to the conversions that represent linear movement toward a macro conversion. Keeping an eye on these helps you learn where any improvements on user experience need to be made. Secondary actions are not the primary goals you’re aiming toward, but rather the actions you want people to take as an indication of future macro conversions.
Process milestones are an essential part of the conversion optimization process. Let’s say you’re running a series of split tests to test design changes in your linear path to conversion. If you spend time looking for significant changes in your macro conversion rates, you may end up skipping over good design changes.
Secondary actions are those I listed above. They are the actions that build trust over time, and ultimately lead to the macroconversion. As such, they can help predict future macroconversions.
What is a Macro Conversion?
A macro conversion is a primary site goal. These can include: requesting more information, contacting the company for a free quote, making an ecommerce purchase, or starting a free trial.
Measuring Micro and Macro Conversions
You can measure both micro and macro conversions within Google Analytics, using the Goals feature. Goals are setup in the Admin section of your account. You can choose a variety of goals starting from templates, such as: revenue, account creation, inquiry, or engagement, based on your needs.
You can use goal funnels for your process milestones. This allows you to define the sequence of actions someone takes to get to the macro conversion. You can keep track of this data in the “Funnel Visualizations” reports in “Conversions” in Google Analytics.
Measuring success with Goals in Google Analytics doesn’t allow you to measure the users who take multiple sessions to move their way through funnel. This can be an issue for B2B sites, since it’s normal for people to require multiple visits as they move from awareness to decision. Each of these stages can have a variety of microconversions. If you want to get to that level of detail, you’ll have to use segmentation.
As you define segments, you choose the conditions have to be specific to a session (visit) or can apply across multiple sessions (users.) How you define the conditions will give you the detailed information about how someone arrived at your site, what they saw, what they did, and when they took specific actions. You can define sequences to determine which visitors follow specific paths.
Micro Conversions Get You to the Macro Conversions
In reality, you already have both of these things in your marketing strategy. It’s just taking the time to define exactly what they are, so you know exactly how to track them. Think about what you want or need people to do along the way and make those a list of micro conversions to track. Then, set up your goal tracking to see how well you’re doing. If you notice you could make improvements to get better results, it’s time to start testing!