Understanding Google Analytics Goal Templates

Last Updated: May 20, 2022

When you create a new goal in GA, you are asked to select the template you want to use for creating your goal:

google analytics templates

Google Analytics provides three types of goal templates:

  1. Predefined templates (template)
  2. Custom template (custom)
  3. Smart goal template (smart goal)

Predefined goal templates

Predefined goal templates come with pre-filled configurations. So when you use one of the predefined goal templates, Google Analytics automatically assign a name to your goal and select the goal type.

The predefined templates are available under the following goal categories:

  • Revenue
  • Acquisition
  • Inquiry
  • Engagement

Google recommends that you create at least one goal under each goal category.

Google Analytics display the predefined templates that are relevant to your industry category.

So GA could display a different set of predefined templates for different industry categories.

This is the same industry category which you selected under ‘Property Settings’:

industry category

If you have not selected the industry category that is relevant to your business then select it now because goal templates are disabled if you haven’t selected an industry category within your GA account.

Custom goal template

custom goal templates

Custom goal templates do not come with pre-filled configuration. So when you use a custom goal template, Google Analytics does not automatically give a name to your goal and select the goal type. This is something you need to it yourself.

Most of the time, I use the custom goal template for creating goals.

Smart goal template (or smart goal)

Smart goals are the most engaged Google Analytics sessions (the sessions which are most likely to result in conversions) on your website.

Google uses machine learning to determine smart goals.

Smart goals are specifically designed for those Google Ads advertisers who do not have the time, expertise and/or resources to set up Google Ads conversion tracking or import analytics ecommerce transactions into Google Ads but who still want to benefit from Google Ads optimization tools, such as automated bidding.

Smart goals are also helpful for those Google Ads advertisers who may not have enough conversion data to use Google Ads optimization tools.

If your reporting view is eligible for ‘smart goals’, you can use the ‘smart goal’ template.

smart goal template

Once you select the ‘smart goal’ template then no additional configuration or customization is required.

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