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Why Micro-Conversions are Just Like Dating [Video]

Someone clicked your call to action! Nice one! You’re awesome! Touchdown. Slam dunk. That counts as a conversion! Right?

Not quite so fast there skippy. To be classified as a successful conversion, your visitor needs to have walked the complete tightrope of your “conversion funnel” – which is comprised of many several smaller steps that must be completed en route (these are your micro-conversion points).

What’s this got to do with dating?

Absolutely nothing. Wait… yes… lots. Just let me finish my analogy! Let’s calmly look at an example of how a “nice friendly shopper” might go about buying an iPad on the “internet”:

  1. Micro Conversion Point 1: Search in Google for “iPad” – easy
  2. Micro Conversion Point 2: Arrive in the iPad section of Apple.com – decent
  3. Micro Conversion Point 3: Check out the features – smokin’
  4. Micro Conversion Point 4: Click the “Buy Now” button to go to the Apple Store – hmm, not sure why I have to click a ‘buy now’ type button twice but, okay
  5. Micro Conversion Point 5: Click the “Select an iPad” button – selected!
  6. Micro Conversion Point 6: Choose the color, model and network carrier etc. – pimped out!
  7. Micro Conversion Point 7: Click “Continue” – zzzzzzzzzz
  8. Micro Conversion Point 8: Resist buying the acessories and click “Continue” again – like holding breath under water – srsly
  9. Micro Conversion Point 9: Add personalized engraving – (why not? It’s an example)
  10. Micro Conversion Point 10: Click “Check out now” – check this out
  11. Micro Conversion Point 11: Complete billing & shipping details – snore
  12. Micro Conversion Point 12: And we’re done (roughly speaking). – If you survived all my color commentary, then you are a spectacularly awesome shopper, indeed worthy of an iPad.

That’s 12 small steps for mankind, but one giant leap for conversion

Basically, micro-conversions need to be part of your Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) process if you want to walk in your customers shoes. If you can connect your analytics and testing practices to each of these micro-conversion points, you’ll gain an understanding of where the fallout is occurring and you’ll be helping romance in the process.

What?(pause) Okay, the romance part will kick in when you see the video later on.

The user experience could have been broken at any one of those micro conversion points, with two potential results:

  1. Micro-Conversion Tracking in Place: You understand where people bail, and you fix a busted experience -> higher conversions
  2. Micro-Conversion Tracking NOT in Place: You don’t notice a thing… and your conversions suffer

Basically… the small stuff matters.

Switching back to the real world, it can take a lot to get from “Hello” to “Here’s my number”. I smell a segue…

The dating part (with the video)

That whole preamble was a just long winded intro to my real-world comparison with dating. And rather than go through a big long list of steps like I did before, let’s just watch a video of Ted from “How I Met Your Mother” to see how many micro-conversion points there are between meeting someone and asking them out…

The Dating Game – It’s all About the Numbers

Context: Ted met 16 people at a newsstand while holding a copy of a magazine with his face on the cover (which equates to 16 “clicks” in the online world). Having met 16 people, Ted managed to get through a rigorous process of elimination to get down to two dates – a conversion rate of 2/16 = 12.5%

Not too bad really.

What does this teach us?

Whether you’re on the lookout for a new partner or shopping online for a new iPad, remember to realize the importance of the journey and not just the destination.

How very zen.

— Oli Gardner

p.s. While we’re talking about How I Met Your Mother – check out this page of 10 Awesome Unbounce Features (featuring Barney Stinson)

About Oli Gardner
Co-Founder of Unbounce. Oli has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He is an opinionated writer and international speaker on Conversion Centered Design. You should follow Oli on Twitter
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  1. Adrijus

    What to do if your site is just a landing page with a pitch and a submit form and you want to keep it dead simple. Like at my http://www.weighttrainingweekly.com or at site like http://www.dailyworth.com, goal is to get an email. I guess micro conversion don’t apply here?

    • Oli Gardner

      If you only have a landing page – then you have fewer micro-conversion points, but it’s still a valid concept.

      For an ecommerce scenario you might have:

      1. Ad click
      2. Landing page click-through (for ecomm purposes)
      3. Arrive at shopping cart – confirm purchase
      4. Create account or sign in
      5. Confirm address and billing info
      6. Complete transaction – then try to gain a post-conversion conversion (follow me, subscribe to newsletter etc)

      For lead gen it would be shorter and something like this:

      1. Ad click
      2. Landing page lead form completion
      3. Confirmation – try to gain a post-conversion conversion (follow me, subscribe to newsletter etc)

      Either way, it’s a multi-step process.

  2. Rich Norton

    Love the example of dating being a conversion metric, that’ll bring a whole new angle to that side now. Micro conversions are a great way to make sure you’re not tripping up visitors too who are trying to convert too :)

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