Smart Goals … Blèh

Google recently introduced Smart Goals to Analytics & Adwords. Good idea, mediocre execution. They lack some parts in their platform to do it better, I think. I also think they messed up. Not using it anytime soon, sry G. Here’s why. And pls tell me I’m wrong.

Small intro might be in place.
Or just watch the video for my rant.

What Are Smart Goals

Smart Goals are configured at the view level. Smart Goals uses 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. (Remarketing Smart Lists use a similar machine learning model to identify your best users.)

To determine the best visits, Smart Goals establishes a threshold by selecting approximately the top 5% of the traffic to your site coming from AdWords. Once that threshold is set, Smart Goals applies it to all your website visits, including traffic from channels other than AdWords. After enabling Smart Goals in Google Analytics, they can be imported into AdWords.

Why This Is Wrong!

Seriously? Visits into a Analytics goal?
For me, that’s a segment. The remarketing smart lists are segments as well. As it should be.
My guess is that they can’t properly find a way to integrate these visits into a goal into Adwords. Into Adwords that is! That’s why the use Analytics. No Google, pls No.

A Goal is a conversion like a transaction or a form that gets filled in.

I really don’t like this.
I doesn’t make sense.

Dear G lords, do you know how hard it is to tell clients traffic matters, but only if it converts (or maybe for branding and strategic purposes). Not just for the sake of it. And putting the “best” visits into a goal? What’s the use?

Dear G lords, remember, that if goals get overwritten, the data stays available in Analytics. So all the previous dashboarding and reporting suffers and needs adjustment! Waste of time.

Dear G lords, CRM systems make buckets and lists of people. Why not build a smart list out of this and make a workaround for Adwords, if you’re still want Adwords to generate the top 80% of your dollars. Pls do. You guys are smart enough. I just know you are.

There Is ONE Thing I Like About It Though

The example they give:

You spent $2,000 in Adwords over the past two weeks and have 80 Smart Goals conversions. Therefore, the average CPA for a Smart Goals session during that time period is $25 ($2,000 / 80 = $25). This is the average cost for you to acquire a session with a high likelihood to convert, based on the Smart Goals model. In this example, you should set your target CPA in Adwords to $25.

A good way to make us marketeers and clients aware of the importance of a CPA.
But not like this Google. Not like this.

Edit 23/12/2015: Jules tweeted me a good suggestion to add a separate profile in Analytics and have some fun there without messing up the data. I recommend adding a second profile to test things, but in Adwords, you’re stuck with a goal in your general overview, that’s messing up your ability to rapidly analyze your current state of budget to conversion rate. You’ll need to filter and make extra reports. I personally don’t like a messed up Adwords account myself.

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