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There I was, sipping coffee at my favorite local café, when the “ping” of a new Outlook email startled me from my morning blog reading.

The 2017 State of Inbound Marketing Report was ready for download.

2017 State of Inbound Report: Top Marketing Priorities


Having read this report annually for the past 4 years, I wasn’t surprised to see the usual contenders as the top marketing priorities for this year:

  1. Converting Contacts / Leads to Customers
  2. Growing Traffic to the Website

But here is where things get interesting. An exceptional number of companies listed Proving the ROI of Our Marketing Activities as a top priority for this year.

In fact, 47% of North American companies listed this as a primary focus for their marketing teams this year. Proving ROI surpassed previous top-performers, including reducing the cost of contacts/leads, sales enablement, and increasing revenue derived from existing customers.

Why is it that companies are shifting focus from driving revenue and reducing costs to reporting the ROI of their own marketing efforts?

“The traditional ways of measuring the success or failure of content are broken. We can’t just rely on metrics like the number of page views / visits or bounce rate to determine whether what we’re creating has performed well.”


If you asked the average company how they're reporting ROI on their marketing efforts, a significant portion of them would probably frown, scratch their head, and say, “We report ROI using a cluster of different tools…”

And it’s true. Marketers traditionally rely on an array of reporting avenues to track engagement with content. Google Analytics helps to track website engagement, HotJar can help you view individual page interactions, HubSpot Sources offers a high-level breakdown of original source traffic…

But do page views, number of downloads, and clicked links truly show you how effective your content is? Maybe instead of viewing our content in clusters of segmented data, we should think about the story that our contacts are telling. Let’s move away from the number of page views a URL has, and shift the focus toward how this page contributed to the conversion of a visitor to a contact. Let’s move away from looking at sources that bring the most views, and think about which sources are generating the most qualified leads.

If you’re like me, starting a report from scratch seems daunting. But have no fear! HubSpot has a handful of ROI reporting recipes you can utilize for free with your subscription.

What Are HubSpot Reporting Recipes?

Reporting recipes are pre-designed reports available under the “Reporting” tab in HubSpot. Recipes are designed to help you better understand the makeup of your contact database, and how these contacts currently engage with your content. If your CRM is synced with HubSpot, you can close the loop on your marketing by tying revenue to individual sources and conversion channels.

Here's how you can use HubSpot Reporting Recipes to better tell the story of your Marketing efforts...

Understand Your Contacts Database

Lifecycle Stage Distribution

What This Report Is: This report is designed to give you a snapshot summary of the lifecycle distribution of your contacts.

What Story Does It Tell: This report helps you visualize how your contacts move through your funnel over time. How many marketing qualified leads are active in your database this month? How many customers does your funnel currently have? The recipe also allows you to segment the report by a specific list – so you can view the distribution of a targeted slice of contacts.

What Data Is Shown: The report will show you a numeric summary of specific contacts at every stage of the funnel, including subscriber, lead, marketing qualified lead, and customer.

HubSpot Reporting Recipes: Understanding Your Contact Database

Most Converting Offers

What This Report Is: This report is designed to show you a summary of your contact database’s most recent content downloads over a specific timeframe. 

What Story Does It Tell: You put a lot of content out there: eBooks, white papers, infographics, videos, and guides. If you lock this content behind a landing page, this report will show you what content is most downloaded. This allows you to compare the download success of all your gated content. Using this data, you can make decisions about what content may be most successful with a paid advertising campaign, or to nurture disengaged contacts.

What Data Is Shown: The report will show you a monthly summary of total content downloads. The included chart will break down individual submissions by content offer.

Attribution Reporting

Website Content & Blog Posts That Generate Leads

What This Report Is: This report is designed to show you which URLs are attributed with directly or indirectly assisting with the generation of leads.

What Story Does It Tell: By tracking engagement with individual pages and referral sources, this report allows you to see the pages a contact looked at before committing to a content download. This allows you to attribute more value to blog posts, website pages, and referral sources based on the eventual creation of a new contact. You may be surprised to find that your most viewed pages are not the most successful in assisting with lead generation. You may find that a lightly trafficked blog post you wrote two years ago has a higher attribution score.

What Data Is Shown: This report can be segmented in several ways. You can view the first external page that referred a contact to your website, the page that referred their most recent visit, the page that referred a contact to the page they ultimately converted on, or the first and last pages that they viewed before converting. You can also segment this report by original source – channels that brought a contact to your website, such as social media or paid search, or by URLs of external referral sources, such as Google or partner websites.

HubSpot Reporting Recipes: Website Content

Sources of Most Qualified Leads

What This Report Is: This report is designed to show you which external marketing sources are bringing in the most qualified marketing leads. 

What Story Does It Tell: Qualifying leads is crucial to your marketing success. This report helps you do just that, by showing you which marketing channels are responsible for bringing in the most qualified leads. From this report, you can make informed decisions about where to increase, maintain, or decrease investment in marketing channels.

What Data Is Shown: This report shows a monthly or weekly total of marketing qualified leads segmented by the channel that originally brought them to your website. For example, if an MQL contact found your website through a shared social post, their attributed original source type would be social media.

HubSpot Reporting Recipes: MQL Sources

If reporting on the ROI of your marketing efforts is a priority for your marketing team this year, here is a pro tip: HubSpot allows you to email saved reports to yourself or your team on a regular basis. Simply click the “gear” icon next to any saved report. Then, click “email report”. From here, you can enter multiple email addresses, choose a recurring date and time, and HubSpot will automatically run and send your reports to you in an email summary. The email includes a visual snapshot – which is easy to screenshot for your marketing presentations – as well as a direct link back to the report in HubSpot.

Free Download: The Inbound Marketing Campaign Checklist

About the Author

Kate Moore | Content Strategy & SEO Director
Kate Moore, Content Strategy & SEO Director

Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.

 Tags: Reporting & Analytics HubSpot

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