What are micro conversions and why should you be tracking them?

By UserTesting | July 21, 2023

Let’s take a look at micro conversions – smaller user actions that you can track on your website, and how they can help you to understand visitor behaviour.

First of all, it’s useful to define both micro and macro conversions, so we can understand how they relate to each other.

What are macro conversions?

Macro conversions are the main goals of a website – what the site hopes most visitors will do when they arrive on site. For retailers, this would be someone making a purchase, while for other sites, it may be a booking for a demo, or a request for a quote.

These macro conversions have a direct effect on the site’s profitability, and are therefore the primary goals for many websites.

They will be the main focus, but it’s important not to overlook micro conversions, as these can in turn help to increase the number of macro conversions.

What are micro conversions?

Nielsen Norman Group’s Jen Cardello spits micro conversions into two categories:

  • Process Milestones. These are micro conversions that can be seen as steps along the path to a macro conversion. For example, this could be viewing a product video on an ecommerce site, or adding an item to a wishlist.
  • Secondary Actions. These actions are not necessarily steps on the path to conversion, but actions that show customer interest, and can be indicators of future macro conversions.

Here are some examples of micro conversions:

  • Posting comments.
  • Sharing content from the site.
  • Signing up for email alerts or newsletters.
  • Reading blog articles.
  • Steps towards checkout – viewing product pages for example.
  • Downloading content like ebooks and white papers.

Why track micro conversions?

Micro conversions are all indicators of how well your site is working towards its main goals.

Most visits to a website will not result in a major conversion, but this doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from these visits and visitors.

Micro conversions can give an indication of how people are interacting with your site, information you can use to improve performance in terms of macro conversions.

For example, sites with a blog or other content could track engagement metrics such as the number of people reading multiple pages, or sharing content. This indicates that content is performing well in terms of attracting visitors and keeping them interested.


Even if no macro conversions come from these visits, they are helping to promote your site by sharing, or their interest in your content may be the first step towards a later conversion.

By tracking micro conversions, you can see a fuller picture of your site performance and find out more about how people use your site than you could find from macro-conversions alone.

Other micro conversions, those referred to as process milestones, have a more direct relationship with macro-conversions. Tracking these can help you to identify areas to focus on for conversion rate optimization.

Email sign ups are one such example. For retailers, visitors signing up for email alerts and offers are showing a clear interest in the retailer and products, and a possible future intent to purchase.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to track micro conversions like sign ups, and look to optimise to drive more subscriptions.

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About the author(s)

With UserTesting’s on-demand platform, you uncover ‘the why’ behind customer interactions. In just a few hours, you can capture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what your customers want and expect.