google-adwords-redwhite-1920Believe it or not, there are some some AdWords users who aren’t using AdWords conversion tracking, or even importing goals from Google Analytics into your AdWords accounts.  For those of you who aren’t using either of these features, then you may want to check out the new Smart Goals.

But, what is Smart Goals, you ask?

Smart Goals are powered by Google Analytics, and it’s designed to help businesses that aren’t currently measuring conversions and optimizing their campaigns.  There are quite a number of advertisers who are in this position.

The big difference is that Smart Goals won’t measure actions that are taken on an advertisers website, where as conversion tracking and Analytics goals do.  The Smart Goals feature uses the anonymized conversion data of other websites using Google Analytics to identify the visits that are more than likely going to convert based on the model provided by Google.  Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

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 likelihood to convert: things like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser. We can then apply these key factors to any website.  The easiest way to think about Smart Goals is that they reflect your website visits that our model indicates are most likely to lead to conversions.

Setting up Smart Goals is pretty simple, as the steps are as follows:

  1. Link your Analytics and AdWords accounts.
  2. In Analytics, just select Smart Goals under Goals in the Admin tab.

Another nice feature of Smart Goals is that it doesn’t get automatically activated.  You’ll be able to see how well the Smart Goals model will work for a site before it’s activated  All you have to do is look at a new “Smart Goals” page under Conversions in Analytics.  From here, you can analyze the behavior of Smart Goals visits, and then compare them to the visits not deemed likely to convert.

As an example, if you check out the image below, the Smart Goals visits don’t bounce, visited significantly more pages and stayed on-site longer than visits the model didn’t deem likely to convert.

smart-goals-adwords-analytics-google

If the results that you see are ones you are satisfied with, then you can import Smart Goals into AdWords.

Once the new Smart Goals have been imported, advertisers can set a target CPA with the Smart Goal being the acquisition: “In this way, you’re able to optimize your AdWords spend based on the likelihood of conversion as determined by our model.”

So, when will Smart Goals begin rolling out to the masses?

Well, it looks like Google will roll out the new feature over the next few weeks.  Finally, if you want to be eligible for Smart Goals, the Google Analytics view has to receive at least 1,000 clicks from AdWords over a 30-day period “to ensure the validity of your data.”

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