For businesses without a way to measure conversions and optimize AdWords campaigns, Smart Goals powered by Google Analytics might give marketers a leg up. Google introduced the feature Thursday.
The platform aggregates conversion data from Google Analytics-enabled sites for advertisers that don't have another way to track and optimize for conversions. It won't measure actions like conversion tracking or analytics goals on an advertiser’s Web site. It uses anonymized conversion data of other Web sites using Google Analytics to identify visits that are most likely to convert based on Google’s model.
From this information, Google can glean dozens of key data points that correlate with the likelihood to convert -- including session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser. Google then applies these key factors to any Web site. Smart Goals reflects the Web site visits that Google's model indicates are most likely to lead to conversions, per Google Software Engineer Abishek Sethi, and Google Product Manager Joan Arensman.
Like any other goal in Google Analytics, Smart Goals can be imported into AdWords to use as an AdWords conversion.
One benefit of measuring conversions in the Adwords account is the ability to set a target cost per acquisition (CPA) as opposed to just setting a cost per click (CPC), per Google. For those not measuring actual conversions, importing Smart Goals as conversions in Adwords allows the user to set a target CPA to optimize Adwords spend based on the likelihood of conversion as determined by the model.
The push to become more available for companies in need of support will likely spawn similar products in the future. Smart Goals will roll out during the next few weeks. To become eligible for Smart Goals, the Google Analytics view must receive at least 1,000 clicks from AdWords in more than a 30-day period to ensure the validity of the data.