You may have noticed in your Google Analytics account that there is a beta test feature called Smart Goals showing up under the Conversions category, and for many companies this is going to be a huge addition. The new feature was created to help businesses that are not currently measuring conversions, which of course can make it tough to optimize your campaigns. Believe it or not, according to a Search Engine Land article, there are thousands of advertisers that find themselves in this position. This could be because a business does not have a way for users to convert on their website, or they may just not have the time or resources to track conversions using AdWords.
Regardless of why you may not be measuring your conversions in AdWords, Smart Goals makes it easy to gain insights. Even if you are measuring conversions on your own, this new feature can still help you come up with conclusions about your audience and their behavior. So according to the official announcement, the way it works is this:
To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymized conversion data. From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with the likelihood to convert: things like session durations, pages per session, location, device, and browser.
In other words, Smart Goals are not taking or measuring any actions that happen on your actual website (which is how it works with conversion tracking through AdWords). The data they use for Smart Goals comes from many different, anonymous websites, and then Google Analytics makes “most likely to convert” predictions based on that. You can then use their conclusions and that data to test different options for your own website.
3 Steps to Getting Started with the Smart Goals Feature
Below explains how to get started using the feature and how you can use it to your advantage:
Connect your Analytics and AdWords accounts.
This is actually the only way that you will be eligible for Smart Goals, so it’s important to connect your two accounts. You can do this by clicking Admin in Analytics > Property column > AdWords Linking. You simply follow a few screens from there so it’s pretty self-explanatory, but you can visit here to learn more.
Activate and visit Smart Goals in Google Analytics.
Visit Admin > Goals > Smart Goals. You’re all set! No need to do anything else, the feature will just start working for you. You can also see how Smart Goals perform before you actually activate them by looking under the Conversions section of Google Analytics. This will show you how behavior changes between Smart Goals visits and other visits that are not expected to convert. Below is a screenshot from the official announcement that shows how the Smart Goals visits saw more pages on saw users stay on-site for a longer period of time than the visits that Smart Goals thought would not convert:
Import Smart Goals into AdWords and Optimize for Smart Goals
If you choose, you can improve Smart Goals into AdWords and then use Smart Goals as an AdWords conversion. In other words, you set a target cost per acquisition with the Smart Goal being that acquisition. This will allow you to better understand what you want to do with your AdWords campaigns based on Smart Goals data.
Keep in mind that Smart Goals is still rolling out so you may see if pop up over the next several weeks. Once you give it a try, let us know what you think in the comment section below.