Introducing Smart Goals

Analytics Smart Goals

Google Analytics Smart Goals

Great news for the many advertisers who don’t track website conversions, whether it’s because there are no actionable end results or a technical barrier prevents it. Google has now provided an alternative way of measuring high quality traffic with the addition of Smart Goals.

Smart Goals are a new way of helping advertisers, without conversion tracking, to better optimise Google Ads campaigns and drive stronger results by using data from the ‘best’ website visits as conversions. The major difference between conversion tracking and Smart Goals is that conversion tracking measures an end action taken on a website for example: a completed transaction, form submitted or phone call made; whereas Smart Goal data is taken from virtual analysis of website traffic.

How do Smart Goals work?

Each website visit triggers dozens of signals which are examined by Google to determine which ones are more likely to result in a conversion. The signals include: session duration, pages per session, location, device type and browser. Based on these signals, visits are scored, with the highest scoring visits being translated into a Smart Goal. Google explains that ‘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’.

In terms of looking at results, essentially a Smart Goal is acquiring a session that is of higher quality and more likely to convert, giving marketers without conversion tracking a metric to work with. Based on the model that Smart Goals are acquiring higher quality sessions, Cost per Acquisition (CPA) is a good bidding strategy and will allow search marketers to compare CPA for Smart Goals vs other Google Ads traffic.

Activate Smart Goals


Enabling the Goals is simple. Under the ‘Admin’ tab in Google Analytics, select ‘Goals’ and then ‘Smart Goals’ – no code, no tracking, no web developers needed, it’s that easy! There are however a few limitations to be able to use Smart Goals:

  • Google requires Analytics and Google Ads accounts to be linked and at least 1,000 clicks within the last 30 days being recorded. Goals will deactivate if the linked accounts fall below 500 clicks within 30 days and until the clicks exceed the 1,000 thresholds again;
  • This option is not available to websites that receive more than 1 million hits per day;
  • Goals are not customisable.