Why Use Google's Smart Goals App With Shopify?

5 Min. Read

Most eCommerce stores fail, its a sad fact but Google is trying to help, one app is designed to help ecommerce store owners to improve Adword performance.  The smart goals google analytics app is aimed at helping the large number of ecommerce (including Shopify) stores that fail each year.

Specifically, the smart goals app helps to prevent failure for those those that fail to implement conversion measurement and fail to optimize effectively.

Google states:-

Google Smart Goals

Smart Goals require both a Google Adwords and a Google Analytics account. 

The Shopify store must also have over 500 clicks per month to be activated and then maintain a minimum number of 250 clicks per month thereafter. 

Table of Contents

What are Google Smart Goals Exactly?

Google Smart Goals are AI generated goals that once activated analyzes the sessions your best customers. These are your most engaged visitors (top 5% of traffic from adwords) and then uses this session data to set benchmarks, or as Google calls them “Smart Goals”.  

This feature is entirely independent from the conversion tracking and ecommerce tracking features.

What is the purpose of the Google Smart Goals App?

Simply put, the purpose of Google Smart Goals is to improve Google Ads bidding.  After all, if customers succeed with Google Adwords then they are going to continue to use it.  If more stores succeed Google generates more revenue and profits.

How does Google Smart Goals Work?

Only Google knows this.  It is a black box feature utilizing Algorithms designed by Google that measure numerous “signals” based on your Shopify sessions.  When activated, it must be imported into Google Analytics which then can be applied to Google Adwords. 

What we do know is that Smart Goals automatically scores sessions based on a range of signals and then generates smart goals from this scoring.

The mix of signals includes:-

  • Google Analytics metrics such as
    • Session duration, 
    • Pages per session, 
    • Location, 
    • Device and Browser
  • Google Adword metrics
  • Contextual shared data
  • Non-Google Adwords traffic sources

Why You Should Use the Google Smart Goals App?

The first important point here is that Smart Goals are easy to use and automatic.  If you don’t have a lot of time to micro-manage advertising and constantly improve your ecommerce website through conversion rate optimization, then you might consider resorting to this.  

A common scenario is if you generate the minimal requirement of clicks via your website through marketing efforts from a physical store.  Use in this case should only as a precursor to implementing conversion measurement.

In addition, If you rely on Google Adwords to drive ecommerce sales on your Shopify store then yes, it is a good idea to try it.  For example, if you are generating between 250 – 500 clicks per month through Adword expenditure already then it’s worth testing before implementing conversion measurement.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Smart Goals App?

  1. If you don’t have the budget to continually buy Google Adwords on an ongoing basis.  Specifically, enough budget to ensure your store meets the monthly minimums requirements prevously mentioned, then Google smart goals are not for you.  Google recommends using its automated bidding feature, which is clearly a problem if you have a tight budget.
  2. There is no transparency on data use, for example,  on how the algorithms work.  Why this is a problem is that you don’t own the data, so you can’t test it independently. While the data may be anonymous, do you really trust Google to help you make more money without increasing the cost of adwords?
  3. In addition, you need to allow Google to anonymously collect data to use smart goals.  If you have a problem with a lack of transparency, then this is probably not an option for you.
  4. Smart goals can’t be used for mobile app views (so if have them don’t use it).
  5. Smart goals do not utilize Shopify’s analytics data.

The cynical view would be that at best, if you earn more, – then they earn more, and while a win/win scenario is not a deal-breaker, it can be a problem if you have no idea how to repeat prior results or achieve the same outcome without relying on Google.

Ultimately, the question is do you trust Google and are you ok with being so reliant on Google Adwords?  While Google may claim its a win/win scenario, the question has to be asked: “Who else will benefit from your data?” and “What is the less visible long term cost for enabling it”.  Again it comes back to a question of trust in Google agenda with this product.

Who Should use Google Smart Goals App?

Anyone who is intent on using Google Adwords as the primary website traffic generator might use Google Smart Goals.  Scenarios that spring to mind include.

  • A novice Shopify user paying for AdWords on a learn as you go basis, someone who doesn’t know how to build a brand or someone who doesn’t have the time or inclination to do so.   The question here is why would such an individual enter into ecommerce in the first place.
  • A new Shopify store building up a brand and consumer base prior to building up alternative traffic sources (towards a more balanced approach). 
    • Building backlinks for a content creation strategy.
    • Testing purposes – improving conversion rates.
  • A Shopify website owner who does not need customer loyalty or a brand.

Beyond these user types, the answer to the question “Who should use Google Smart Goals” really depends upon many different factors, including: –

  • Business model
  • Product types
  • Target Group
  • Whether you are ok with not fully understanding your sales figures.


The question that really should be asked when considering Google Smart Goals is, why they are only recommended for those who are not measuring conversion?  

The answer is that measuring conversion and the subsequent process of conversion rate optimization is the gold standard for improving ecommerce sales.  Therefore using Smart Goals is sub-optimal.  However, there may be times during the ecommerce / Shopify website lifecycle when using Google Smart Goals might be advantageous as mentioned above.  Especially considering that Shopify does supply its own analytics (depending on what Shopify Plan).

Ultimately the goal of measuring conversion is to increase personalization through segmentation.  Constant refinement of what you communicate and to whom is key to maximizing sales figures. Doing this process without a hands-on approach is just not possible at the moment, – unless you outsource these tasks.

Fortunately, Shopify Analytics tool Conversific utilizes both Google Analytics and Shopify analytics data to make it easy to measure conversion and segment customers into narrow groups for further personalization. 

In addition, it recommends actions that will improve what you offer and to whom. Checkout the latest features of Conversific.

In combination with OptiMonk a conversion rate optimization tool, which enables precise targeting of segmented groups and AB testing to carry out conversion rate optimization.

It is now easier than ever to improve what you offer, negating the use case of Smart Goals as an alternative to Conversion measurement.  

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