Google today announced a new program called Smart Goals that’s designed to help businesses optimize their AdWords campaigns to attract site visitors who might actually purchase something.

The program uses machine learning and Google Analytics data to help businesses recognize such site visitors who are likely buyers, then helps them optimize their AdWords campaigns to attract more of them.

Here’s how the nerds at Google explain the science:

“To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymized conversion data,” software engineer Abishek Sethi and product manager Joan Arensman wrote in a blog post Thursday. “From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with likelihood to convert: things like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser.”

There’s now a Smart Goals report in the Conversions section of Google Analytics. The metrics in it show the engagement level of Smart Goals visits compared to other visits which, according to Sethi and Arensman, can help businesses see how effective the program will be before starting to use it.

To help you see how Smart Goals perform before you activate them, we’ve built a Smart Goals report in the “Conversions” section of Google Analytics. The behavior metrics in this report indicate the engagement level of Smart Goals visits compared to other visits, helping you evaluate Smart Goals before you activate the feature.

The Smart Goals can then be imported into AdWords to be used as an AdWords conversion, the blog post explained: “Once you’ve defined a conversion in AdWords, you’re able to optimize for it.”

Smart Goals can be imported into AdWords to be used as an AdWords conversion.  Once you’ve defined a conversion in AdWords, you’re able to optimize for it.

Google believes that many small businesses that use AdWords don’t have the mechanisms to measure when and how it’s working well.

If you’re an AdWords user and want to turn on the Smart Goals function, you can find full instructions in Google’s blog post.