Although Google just announced a re-branding of Google Adwords (which you can read about here), the features of the advertisement platform will remain essentially the same.

The re-branding and efforts are designed to help advertisers simplify their strategies and maximize results.

Macro Goals vs Micro Conversions

When business folk talk about maximizing results, we are usually referring to macro-level performance indicators like sales, cost of customer acquisition, customer lifetime value, increasing traffic to a website, or building brand awareness.

As you can tell, these are quite challenging metrics to measure with accuracy. While there is no debating the importance of macro-level performance indicators – they are ultimately the most important metrics for gauging the success or failure of an advertising campaign – an issue does arise when business owners or marketers get hyper-focused on macro-level goals without considering the incremental micro-level conversions needed to get there.

For example, generating a high volume of traffic to an optimized lead magnet might mean a number of micro conversions, but it definitely does not mean sales will skyrocket. A sale will only occur once the first-time visitor has been nurtured through the various stages of the buyer’s journey. But far too often, advertisers will overlook micro-engagements and focus instead on rudimentary macro-conversion metrics that only track one goal and do not describe the incremental steps of the buyer’s journey.

The buyer’s journey can be broken down into four stages:

  1. Acquisition. Getting people onto your site
  2. Engagement. Inspiring new users to spend more time on your site by offering valuable content.
  3. Retention. Using email marketing and other tactics to bring people back to your site on a regular basis.
  4. Conversion. The user purchase a product or service.

The secret to hitting macro performance goals is to set-up a range of micro-conversions, track their success or failure in turning visitors into customers, and adjust your advertisement strategy to fix what is not working. Otherwise, you run the risk of putting more ad dollars in the wrong places and falling further behind your desired macro-level goals.  

What are Micro Goals in Google Ads?

Micro goals include any interaction a customer has with your site other than purchasing a product outright. It could be spending time on a landing page, returning unprompted to a page, or the click through rate of your ad groupings.

Conversions track the progress a customer makes from clicking on your ad, to navigating your site, and eventually taking whatever action you have optimized for, whether it be a phone call, signing up for a newsletter, or otherwise.

The type of conversion sought after is dependant on the macro-goals you have in mind. For example, let’s say your micro goal is to increase sales on your site. By making sales the ultimate goal, you can then set up a series of micro-goals like (note: conversions goals are often set-up in Google Analytics):

  • Keyword optimization. The keywords you chose to use in your ad groups will not perform equally. You can pay close attention to which keywords are driving most traffic (which is part of the trajectory for getting more sales), and then optimize all your ads accordingly. You can monitor the performance of keywords via it’s click-through rate (CTR), which Google tells us is “the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown.”
  • Landing page optimization. Which landing pages do visitors spend the most time on? What is it about said pages that keeps them there? Much like the keyword optimization process, with landing page optimization you want to analyze what works best and replicate it across all landing pages. Clean design and engaging copy go a long way here, as does an inviting sign-up button.
  • Event goals. You can set up specific event goals on a landing page to help you understand what is working, and what is not. For example, you can set up an event goal on the sign-up sheet placed on the landing page. Or if you want to get really specific, you can set up custom event tracking to inform you when a visitor performs a rudimentary action on your site (like putting a product in the shopping cart without proceeding to check out). Note: this feature used to be set-up via Google Tabs, but in the new version it should be available from the same platform.
  • Page/session goals. The beauty of advertising on Google is that it comes with so many built-in optimization features. One of the best,in terms of generating more sales, is the retargeting list function. You can create a Duration Goal on your site that collects the emails of any visitor that spends more than ‘X amount of time’ on a landing page or who visits ‘X number of pages’ in a visit. The emails are categorized into an automated retargeting that does all the outreach work for you!


As you can see, there are many different types of micro-conversion goals available to help you achieve whatever macro-goal you are striving for. Marketers and small business owners alike should always be testing, measuring, and refining their micro-conversions because they are crucial in connecting with customers at the right time, and in the right ways. Measuring ads across platforms is easier than ever in the newly integrated Google Ads, so now is as good a time as any to re-calibrate your advertising strategy.


Prior to starting Climbing Trees, an online marketing agency in 2010, I worked in the ad industry for over 15 years, for three of the World's largest media agencies on brands such as Waitrose, Ford, Lloyds TSB, London Zoo, Amnesty International plus many more.

Comments are closed.