Are Smart Goals Worth Tracking & Reporting?
In a nutshell, Smart Goals allows website owners to measure the most engaged visits to their site. Those visits can automatically be turned into goals, even if conversion tracking and e-commerce tracking isn’t set up yet.
Smart Goals are useful because they have the ability to improve the Google Ads bidding process where in-depth tracking is not set up or available.
How Do Smart Goals Work?
Before we go into discussing why Smart Goals might be worth tracking and reporting, it’s essential to understand how they work. If you’re already aware of how they work, you can skip this section. This said, most people who want to know if it’s worth tracking, need to start with an understanding of how it works.
Smart Goals are part of Google Analytics and uses machine learning algorithms to scan for signals within a website’s sessions to find which are highly likely to convert. Each user session is assigned a score with the so-called “best” sessions labeled as Smart Goals.
OK, so what are these signals? Well, generally speaking each signal is a session duration, location, pages per session accessed, browser type and device which is most popular. Smart Goals uses a threshold by choosing the top 5% of your traffic from Google Ads to determine which were the best sessions. Once the algorithm sets a threshold, the Smart Goals are applied to the website sessions, which even includes traffic from sources other than Google Ads. Once Smart Goals are enabled in Analytics, they can just as easily be imported to Google Ads.
Tracking Destination Goals
One of the reasons why Smart Goals might be worth tracking is because they help tell you if certain features like newsletter signups, sales, and contact forms are performing well. Product sales can be tracked by using the order confirmation page, or similar pages presented once a sale is complete. Meanwhile, you’re also able to track sales on your ecommerce store which gives you key performance data, mainly about which categories are outperforming others.
The other reason why tracking sales via Google Analytics is so important is because it gives you insight into the digital campaign’s true ROI (Return on Investment). When configured, you can see all traffic sources that have a higher probability of leading to a sale. The information can give you vital knowledge that will help you plan successful future campaigns.
Smart Goals can also track contact form submissions. Businesses that generate leads will want to find out how many leads their campaign is yielding. Doing this is easy; create a Thank You page that users are directed to after they have successfully submitted the required information.
We also encourage businesses to get creative with their Thank You pages. You can have different landing pages that have various forms. Users can then be redirected to the ‘Thank You’ page that’s best aligned with what the user entered. The respective Thank You pages will then confirm to the user that the message was received and you can see the questions or queries which are posed most often.
Smart Goals also help you track mailing list opt-ins, tracking confirmation pages. However, here too, you can get creative with the confirmation pages by displaying blog posts you think the reader will find valuable. The goal for many businesses will be to keep users on their site long enough and presenting related blog posts on the confirmation page, is a great way to achieve this.
Smart Goals Can Tell You if The Site is Lacking Optimisation
Many business owners may not know this, but Smart Goal tracking can offer sufficient insight into how well things are working. The process will tell you where your site is lacking optimisation, so that you can focus on those areas.
Analytics provides you with useful information about users, including their average session duration and whether they clicked on to another page before exiting the site. Plus, it tells you the type of devices they’re using.
Average session time tells a website owner if they are engaging with the visitor, i.e. is the visitor is finding the content useful? If you’ve drafted and published a detailed blog post, you should see a massive increase in session time, which suggests that visitors are taking the time to read it. On the other hand, if the average session time is under 30 seconds for that post, then it would suggest that either you’re not getting the right kind of traffic or the post isn’t interesting enough. In other words, something needs to be optimised.
Since Google records the average duration of a user on the web page, you can set this up as something that can be tracked. Set a minimum duration for that page and see if that goal is being met.
Conclusion – Tracking Smart Goals is Important But Doesn’t Work for Everyone
In order to start tracking Smart Goals, your Google Analytics account must be linked to the Google Ads account and the ads should be sending around 500 analytics sessions per month or every 30 days. If you receive anything less, then Smart Goals will be deactivated until traffic increases to over 500 sessions.
As we discussed earlier, there are limitations to Smart Goals – the fact is that there isn’t a lot that can be configured or customised. Plus, not every Google Ads account is going to be eligible for it. With this in mind, Smart Goals isn’t going to be useful for all businesses, especially those that rely on leads and traffic that come in from social media and video sharing websites. Furthermore, it isn’t going to work for websites that don’t use Google Ads.
Smart Goals aren’t worth tracking if your website has minimal traffic. However, for businesses that have limited internal resources for advanced tracking setup and analysis, Smart Goals can help hone and optimise content and strategies with insights that cannot be gained from anywhere else.