The definition of a conversion is more complicated than the number of sales, views, or leads your site generates. If your website is going to drive growth, you need to take a closer look at everything it does to make loyal customers out of your online audience.

Digital analytics is not a blunt instrument, which is why it’s critical that you approach the assessment of your digital strategy with a focused measurement plan. If you use any generic, cookie-cutter set of KPIs to track your success, you end up with data overload on your analytics platform. This becomes confusing and makes it harder to draw actionable insights from the dense mass of data you’re pulling every minute.

So how do you decide which KPIs are useful and which ones are crowding your platform? It’s a matter of identifying small, important indicators and eliminating the larger, less relevant ones. To really charge up the conversions you’re making, you’ll have to drill down all the smaller factors and activities that go into each one — your micro conversions.

Macro vs. Micro

If you’re still unsure of exactly what outcome your site is trying to achieve, start by asking yourself a simple question: “Why does my site exist?” The answer will probably depend on your business model: for an eCommerce site, your main goal is probably to sell products; for a B2B, it may be to generate leads; for a blog or news site, to get pageviews. These examples are called macro conversions, which is the main purpose of your site and, if you’re doing anything right, something you’re already measuring.

The KPIs you use beyond that should help you gain deeper, more strategic insights. These less obvious metrics are called micro conversions — they could be potential behavior that often leads to macro conversions, but they could also simply be different indicators of success on your site. One way to look at micro conversions are relationship building activities with site visitors.

Many micro conversions demonstrate brand engagement. Social shares are an intuitive example, since they’re an easy way to demonstrate that people are interacting with your brand, and also providing some free advertising. Other such factors might include site registration and file downloads, especially if you’re a B2B company that requires leads to download materials.

But some micro conversions aren’t so obvious. The use of online support tools, for instance, saves costs by freeing up the time and resources of call center workers. And an add-to-cart action might seem irrelevant without a purchase, but it still shows the intent to buy, even if that intent was somehow derailed.

The Next Step

Having identified the outcomes you want to measure, you need to effectively track them and set them up as a goal in your analytics platform. The key to tracking is segmentation — by applying segments, you can learn which channels and marketing campaigns are most effective.

Once you’ve started effectively measuring this data, you’ll have insights that you might have previously overlooked about how consumers are using your digital services. Some channels might not look productive at first glance because they don’t generate a lot of macro conversions, but they might be key in generating micro conversions that actually fuel your service’s goals.

Provided that you continually check these metrics every 6-9 months to ensure that they’re still relevant, these KPIs will give you a real understanding of your users’ behavior and needs. It’s steps like these that every company needs to take if it wants to become a data-driven organization.