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Why Smart Goals are a lot better than no measurement at all

Using Google Ads, it would be easy to drive a huge stream of visits to our websites tomorrow for a penny a time. But the visitors wouldn’t be any good. So it goes without saying that we need to measure the quality of the traffic.

A surprising number of companies think that it’s too hard to track the outcomes they want from visitors (telephone calls, etc), and they just don’t bother. Their advertising strategy is just to put their ads in places where they think any viewer would probably be a decent prospect. They point out that nobody would search for ‘blue widgets’ on Google unless they wanted a blue widget, right? So if that’s the place where their ad appears, any clicks ought to be decent. Job done.

But this really isn’t good enough. At the simplest level, at least measure the engagement of the visits you’re buying. Set up some ‘goals’ in Google Analytics (such as time on site, pages viewed, or critical action taken) and feed that back to your advertising. You’ll find out all sorts of interesting things. Minor variations in keywords can give huge differences in quality of visitor. Likewise the geographical location of where your ads show, or the time of day.

If you’ve really not got much to work with, or you’re not sure what you’re doing, take a look at ‘Smart Goals’. This is a measurement you can enable in Google Analytics which attempts to use machine learning to identify quality visitors. It goes further than simple time-on-site or pages-viewed measurements by trying to put these into the context of other factors. You’ll find a lot of Google Ads professionals dismissing the Smart Goals measurement as being too general, and not understanding a particular advertiser. That’s true. But if you can’t set up anything more sophisticated, for whatever reason, then having Smart Goals set up is a lot better than just hoping your advertising is only hitting the right people.

More information on setting up Smart Goals can be found here.