Google AdWords Smart Goals For Conversion Tracking

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 15 Feb 2016 by Pooja Shevade
Paid Search (PPC)

If you haven’t been able to set up Goals in Google Analytics or AdWords Conversion Tracking for some reason, fear not! Google recently launched the Smart Goals feature in AdWords that can help you do this easily.

Smart Goals are slightly different from traditional Conversions on the website. They are not actual actions conducted by your website users. Instead, Smart Goals use anonymous Google Analytics data from other websites to identify visits that are “most likely” to convert.

Here is a snippet of how Google describes Smart Goals:

Smart Goals use machine learning to examine dozens of signals about your website visits to determine which of those are most likely to result in a conversion. Each visit is assigned a score, with the “best” visits 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. 

Prerequisites to set up Smart Goals

  • Your AdWords and Analytics need to be linked
  • Your AdWords Account must have sent at least 1000 clicks to the Analytics Account in the last 30 Days.
  • Your website should not receive more than 1 million hits per day.
  • Your Analytics Account should have Data Sharing Enabled.

If your Account meets all of the above criteria then you are eligible to set up Smart Goals.

Smart Goals Setup

Step 1: Goal Set Up in Google Analytics

Smart Goals - Analytics Help



  • In the Google Analytics Admin Tab, select your desired view and click on Goals
  • Click on the Add New Goal Button.
  • If your account is eligible, you will see the Smart Goal Option. Select it.
  • Give your Smart Goal a name and click Save.
  • No additional configuration or customisation is required.

 Step 2: Importing Smart Goals into Google AdWords

Smart Goals - Adwords Help

  • Select conversion in the AdWords tools tab.
  • Select Google Analytics from the left-hand-side menu.
  • Select the goals you want to import. Click Continue.
  • On the next page select your settings and import goals.
  • Click Close, or click Import more for more goals.

Step 3: Optimising with Smart Goals in AdWords

With Smart Goals imported, you can set a target cost per acquisition (CPA) rather than just setting a cost per click (CPC). You can thus optimise your AdWords spend based on the likelihood of conversion as determined by Google’s model.

The Smart Goals are visible under the Conversion Section in Google Analytics.

Smart Goals Google Analytics

You can monitor your results and if you are happy with the outcome, you can then include them in AdWords Conversion Tracking.

Limitations of Smart Goals

  • Smart Goals are not customisable.
  • Only one Smart Goal available for a website view.
  • Not currently available for Mobile App Views.
  • They do not support view-through conversions or cross-device conversions in AdWords.

According to Google, Smart Goals will be rolling out over the next few weeks.

It will be interesting to see how Smart Goals perform versus traditional conversions and what kind of insights advertisers can gain by implementing them.

If you would like to share your thoughts on AdWords Smart Goals, please feel free to discuss this on our Twitter Page. We would love to hear from you.

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