No Conversions Set? No Problem. AdWords Debuts Automated Smart Goals

New "Smart Goals" within Google Analytics will now allow AdWords advertisers to target automated conversions based on user data.

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Without conversion data, optimizing AdWords campaigns simply isn’t possible. Many small advertisers don’t have the expertise to properly set up campaigns and end up setting up campaigns with simple goals like acquiring more clicks. Google has announced new “smart goals” that will use website insights to guess which clicks may be optimal, for those using both AdWords and Analytics.

Simply put, small businesses that currently use Google Analytics will have the ability to use their own website data with no extra code or setup required. Google will analyze both the good and bad metrics occurring on a site and automatically shift towards the better traffic. According to the announcement from Google:

“… 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.”

Smart Goals can be turned on and integrated into AdWords with two simple steps. First, within Google Analytics, head to the Admin section, click on Goals and enable Smart Goals. You are now tracking! Next, hop into AdWords, go to Conversions within the Tools tab, then click on Google Analytics in the left navigation. You can now choose to import the Smart Goal and get optimizing.

Who Should Use This?

Any non-sophisticated advertiser that doesn’t have clear-cut conversions set may benefit from Smart Goals. Local restaurants without phone tracking, brochure websites with no contact forms and local stores without ecommerce capabilities could benefit from these auto-generated conversions. For now, think of Smart Goals as a “better than nothing” option for the unsophisticated.

If Smart Goals are turned on and used for optimization, it would be recommended that you closely monitor the effectiveness on your business to make sure it is driving the right traffic for you.

Who Should Not Use This?

Anyone with any type of sophistication shouldn’t use Smart Goals. Custom conversions should be created for website goals — such as sales, contacts, calls and downloads. While Google may do a good job of automation, you still know more about your business goals.

For more information, see the official release from Google.

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About the author

Greg Finn
Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides world-class social media and search marketing services and web & application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 10+ years and specializes in Digital Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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