Goals have always been “exact match” by default, and only used any kind of wildcard matching if you specifically added that in. We thought this was the best way to do it but over the years, we’ve found that the vast vast majority of support requests that have to do with goals are because the user is not using wildcards where they should, usually on the end of the string.
For example, a user might enter “/thankyou.php” as their goal URL, without realizing (or simply forgetting) that these types of pages typically have query parameters too. Then their goal wouldn’t work, so they’d contact us, and adding a wildcard on the end was almost always the only change needed. Sometimes a wildcard is needed at the start though as well, but usually just the end.
So, as of now, all goals by default will be processed as if they had a wildcard at the start, and at the end. We know this won’t work for everyone of course, so we added a new checkbox to the goal setup page called “exact match”. This will force the old behavior, but it is off by default (based on our analysis of how you have setup goals, very few of you will need it). We also expect quite a few people who setup goals but they never worked to suddenly find them start working as if magic has occurred.
While we were at it, we also fixed a few long outstanding bugs: “https://” goals used to not work, and depending on how goals were setup, sometimes they were case sensitive which was quite obnoxious. These are both fixed.