Smart goals measure the most engaged visits to your website and automatically turn those visits into Goals, even if you don’t have conversion or ecommerce tracking. Then use those Goals to improve your AdWords bidding. This article will explain exactly what smart goals are and how to use this feature.
I need to start by saying that if you want to use Smart Goals you need to have an Adwords account linked to your Google Analytics in order to enable this feature and you need Edit permission at the view level in order to get the setup done. Also, the linked AdWords account must have sent at least 500 clicks to the selected Analytics view over the past 30 days before you can set up Smart Goals. (If the linked account falls below 250 clicks over the past 30 days for the selected view, Smart Goals will be deactivated until the clicks rise again to 500 or more)
Smart goals are recommended to be used when you aren’t measuring conversions. Smart Goals is an easy way to use your best sessions as conversions. You can then use Smart Goals to optimize your AdWords performance based on the ‘best sessions’ pattern.
Smart Goals are configured at the view level. Smart Goals feature from Google Analytics is the result of machine learning technologies. These algorithms will examine dozens of signals about your website sessions to determine which of those are most likely to result in a conversion. Each session is assigned a score, with the “best” sessions being translated into Smart Goals. Some examples of the signals included in the Smart Goals model are Session duration, Pages per session, Location, Device and Browser. (Remarketing Smart Lists use a similar machine learning model to identify your best users.)
To determine the best sessions, Smart Goals establishes a threshold by selecting approximately the top 5% of the traffic to your site coming from AdWords. Once that threshold is set, Smart Goals applies it to all your website sessions, including traffic from channels other than AdWords. After enabling Smart Goals in Analytics, they can be imported into AdWords.
Instructions for setting up Smart Goals
If your view is eligible, you can enable Smart Goals by selecting the Smart Goal goal type when following the regular goal setup flow:
- Sign in to Google Analytics.
- Click Admin, and navigate to the desired view.
- In the VIEW column, click Goals.
- Click + NEW GOAL.
- Select Smart Goal (if available).
- Give your Smart Goal a name and click Save.
- No additional configuration or customization is required. (That’s part of the reason why we call them “Smart Goals.”)
Instructions for importing Analytics smart goals into AdWords
- After you’ve activated Smart Goals in Analytics, sign in to your AdWords account, click the Tools tab, and select Conversions.
- Click Analytics in the left-hand menu.
- Check the boxes next to the goals or transactions you want to import. Click Continue.
- On the next page, you’ll see settings that will apply to all of the goals or transactions you selected.
- Make your choices, then click Import goals.
- Click Close, or to import more goals, click Import more.
- AdWords will begin importing the data from your Analytics account. Historical data from before the import won’t be included.
The Smart Goals report
To help you see how Smart Goals perform, use the Conversions > Goals > Smart Goals report. This report shows you how your Smart Goals traffic differs from other traffic. You can also include the Smart Goals Completed dimension in custom reports.
The Smart Goals report shows you how Smart Goals would perform even before enabling them in your view (assuming you are eligible to use Smart Goals in the first place). This lets you determine if Smart Goals will be of benefit to you before going through all the steps above. Both the Smart Goals report and the Smart Goals Completed dimension are only available in views which are eligible for Smart Goals.
Interested in getting help with any of these features? Get in touch with our experts and we’d be happy to help!