Four States Small Business Blog

The Value of Setting SMART Advertising Goals

Posted by Danielle McCollum on October 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM

SMART advertising goals“A goal without a plan is just a wish”. To grow their organizations, brands need a roadmap. Imagine yourself daydreaming of a vacation in Colorado. If you do not have a roadmap in front of you to help you get there, you will make a lot of wrong turns in your effort to get across the country, and end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

The same principle applies to advertising. Setting SMART advertising goals provide your organization with the roadmap you need to see tangible success from your advertising efforts. Setting SMART goals requires precisely outlining what you want to do and how you are going to do it. SMART stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Let’s explore a bit more about what SMART advertising goals entail and what they mean.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goals guide brands through the process of defining what exactly they want to achieve and how they will be able to do it. It forces you to clarify exactly what you mean by your goals and what your process will be for achieving them. You can use these goals to help you become more productive--and to help you use your time and budget more efficiently.

Why are SMART goals important?

SMART goals offer a degree of clarity and direction that marketers need to see real progress. In fact, marketers who take the time to set concrete, measurable goals are 376 percent more likely to achieve success over those who do not. Additionally, 70 percent of those setting these goals later report that they have achieved them.

When you use SMART advertising goals, your entire team will be united regarding what they need to accomplish and how success will be measured. As you begin to follow the path towards your end goals, you will also have specific, measurable benchmarks to guide your progress. If you find that your efforts are not taking you in the right direction, you will have the time to correct your course. This will improve the ability of your team to work together and feel consistently on the same page.

Understanding what is meant by SMART goals

Let’s break down how to use each letter in the SMART acronym.


When you talk with employees and vendors about specific goals, you want to make sure everyone knows precisely what must be achieved. Broad goals, such as ‘increase revenue’ do not give specific parameters. Instead: Increase revenue by 25% by Q4 aligns better with the SMART objectives.


You want to make sure that your organization knows how your team will measure the success of each goal. Know the metrics that will be used to track progress and the tools needed to gather this information.


Is this goal possible? Setting unrealistic goals can quickly kill enthusiasm and lead an organization astray. Each goal should challenge the team to grow, but also be completely realistic.


Know how your goals align with your broader business goals. The goals you set should fit in with the larger goals you have for your organization.


Know the time frame in which you want to accomplish your goal. Note that the time frame you select will also impact the attainability of your goal.

Some examples of SMART goals in advertising

As you get started setting some of your own SMART goals, here are a few examples to get you started on the right path.

  1. Social media goals: A social media SMART goal might be: I want to increase the number of followers on our pages by 25% by the end of next quarter.
  2. Website goals: A SMART goal for your website might be: I want to increase blog traffic by 15 percent in the next six months.
  3. Lead generation goals: A SMART lead generation goal might be: I want to increase the sign-ups on our email list by 30 percent in the next three months.

Notice how each of these examples focuses on providing concrete direction for the team to accomplish. Now, they can set out on their path to achieve their goals with a clear idea of what they want to do.

SMART goals are critical so that all members of your team -- including both your clients and those on your advertising team-- know when goals have been reached, what objectives have been attained, and what progress has been made. Everyone knows what needs to be done so that they can achieve their desired results.

Building a small business annual marketing plan

Topics: Marketing Strategy