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Why We Love HubSpot Analytics - The HubSpot Sources ReportHubSpot has been a game changer for us and for our clients. Becoming a Partner Agency and working with the HubSpot software has not only pumped up our efficiency when delivering marketing services but has also increased transparency across all of our programs. As effectively understanding analytics is a critical requirement for marketers today, HubSpot has made gathering the information so much easier. Yes, you still need to be smart about the numbers – and the story those numbers tell, but the range and depth of information available to you will absolutely change the way you market.

Because this topic is so rich, we’d like to take the time to outline the various data analytics components offered, as well as share how to use them to make better practical business decisions. This post marks the beginning of a series dedicated to HubSpot analytics, and as we add posts focusing on different metrics and tools, we will be sure to link each entry to one another so you end up with a complete view of how to apply the data you collect to your B2B marketing strategy.

So let’s get started! We begin with the Sources Report – the “crown jewel” of HubSpot analytics.


In one convenient place, the Sources Report allows you to quickly see how your traffic is changing – and where it’s coming from. The immediate visual will set your heart aflutter as you see those pretty bars getting taller and taller.

HubSpot Analytics - Sources Report Graph (Client Example)

Each color represents a different source of traffic, defined in the table on the same page. We start first with a visual look – what sources of traffic are increasing? What sources are outpacing others? If we see the blue bar (Direct Traffic) taller and growing faster than the green one (Organic Traffic), we know that optimization efforts are needed, or perhaps the company has a client log-in on their website that keeps people coming back – people who drive up traffic but are not really prospects.

Each of these sources is represented by a number in a chart below the table. The numbers let you know the exact amount of total visits over the time period you are looking at, conversions of those visits to contacts, and conversions of those contacts to customers.

HubSpot Analytics: Sources Report Table (Client Example)

However, as fun as it is to see traffic grow, it’s not just about traffic volume. We find that clients get so excited and prospects tell us with pride how their website traffic has grown over time. Traffic growth really means nothing without conversions. A conversion takes place when someone on your site fills out a form – and consequently becomes a contact. HubSpot has changed this terminology from “lead” to “contact” because the people filling out forms in the earliest stage of the buying cycle may not really be actual leads – they are contacts that need to be nurtured and qualified.

HubSpot Analytics: Visit-to-Lead Conversion (Client Example)

The chart above shows the traffic data for one of our clients, but overlaid on this graph (the black line) is the percentage of that traffic that has converted into contacts. If your traffic is not converting at 3% (and many would say even that rate is too low), you have some work to do. But let’s talk about these numbers for a moment. If your traffic for the past year has been at 0.4% and after six months of working with an agency, it is at 1% – don’t beat your service provider up. Celebrate! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your traffic and conversions won’t be either!

With that said, you need to be clear about the goals and objectives of your site relative to the industry in which you are selling products or services. For example, we’ve worked with an orthodontist, and in this business most people don’t want to fill out a website form; they do their research, gather information and then call. This conversion is not reflected in HubSpot analytics but the website and online presence absolutely contributed.

So no matter what the numbers and the “rules” dictate, common sense always needs to prevail. Too often we have had companies talk to us because they felt their service provider was not doing well for them because metrics were not meeting the “industry standard.” My question always is: what industry? What standard? It’s easy to let the numbers make you jump to a conclusion, but no number lives in isolation – it lives in the context of the business goals, the past results, and the buyer behavior.

Okay, enough of my soap box. We were talking about Sources, right? So, the Sources tool shows you visually and numerically where traffic is coming from, what is changing, and what is converting. A number of insights can also be derived from this data:

  • Does the site have strong traffic but low conversions? If so, then we need more offers and Calls-to-Action. Sources tells us where to focus our marketing efforts.
  • Is direct traffic outpacing organic? Then people who know the company are finding it but people who are looking for what they have to offer are not.
  • Is email marketing bringing very few people back to the site? Then you need to dig into your email metrics – look at your subject line and content. Are they compelling? Are you making the mistake of putting all of the content in the email and thereby suppressing a recipient’s motivation to click through and come back to your site?
  • Is your Paid Advertising drawing strong traffic but low conversions? We expect PPC to be the highest converting source on a website. When this is low, that tells us there is something wrong with the landing pages (or the message match between the ad and the landing page). Make sure you are not paying for traffic to your site that is not converting into leads/contacts.
  • Are there any seasonal patterns? By taking a look at month-over-month versus year-over-year comparisons of traffic and conversions, you can sometimes predict a particularly slow month and plan your budget and content strategy accordingly.
  • Are investments in other programs working? For instance, for one client we have a paid program with GlobalSpec – we can quickly see if it is sending traffic and if that traffic is converting, allowing us to make informed investment decisions each year.
  • Are visitor-to-contact conversions strong but contact-to-customer conversions are still non-existent? Okay… there is quite a bit to talk about here.

Customer Conversions

When you see a low contact-to-customer conversion rate, you first need to ask yourself if the data is being updated. Seems like a silly question, but many customers do not have a CRM integrated with HubSpot, which means they need to manually go in and update customers. If this is not happening, your HubSpot analytics will be skewed.

However, if the numbers are up-to-date, then you need to ask some very poignant questions:

  • Is the sales team really doing the work they should be doing? Are they working the opportunities, following up, qualifying, etc.?
  • BUT Marketing, you are not off the hook! Are you really doing the right things? Are contacts being qualified through progressive profiling, purposefully moved through the funnel, graded to determine their quality, etc.? Just because someone fills out a form, it does not make them a qualified lead. It is our job as marketers to understand the buying process, the questions people ask, and the information they want – and to move those people through the sales process until they are sales ready.

So what happens when Marketing says “I am delivering leads” and Sales says “but they aren’t good leads”? These two teams need to come together – as a team, not as opponents. Marketing needs to understand why the leads are not perceived to be strong so they can ask different questions, offer more information, and weed out the “tire kickers”. “It’s not a good lead” does nothing to help. Sales needs to be able to articulate why this is the case, what questions they asked, and how they engaged with them so that Marketing can mimic this through nurturing programs. Strong Sales and Marketing alignment also requires sharing specific data between the two departments.

Drilling Down into Sources

The Sources information in HubSpot enables you to make so many supported decisions, thereby making it one of the most important analytics components in your various reports (hence the “crown jewel” comment earlier.)

Besides these high level (but critically important) decisions Sources can help you make, HubSpot users can take a deep dive into each traffic source for more details (apart from Direct Traffic). For example, by clicking on the Organic label, you can see what specific search terms and phrases are bringing people to your website.

Here’s a little bit more about what you should be paying attention to:

  • Are most of the keywords bringing people to the site variations of my company name? If so, people know you and are looking for you, but you are not coming up in searches for people looking for what you have to offer.
  • Are there relevant keywords bringing people to the site that are not converting? If people are coming to your site for what you offer but they’re still not converting, you need to explore a few items:

    • Are these phrases being tracked in HubSpot? Look to the far right of the phrase. Is it checked off? If not, you are not tracking it and you need to. If yes, then you will want to look at what page is bringing people to the site (you will do this through Reports > Keywords).

    • If people are coming to the site but not converting, do you have “conversion content” for that search term on the landing page? Low conversions could simply mean you are lacking Calls-to-Action, offers, checklists, etc. – something for the prospect to do once they arrive on the site.

Even if you look at nothing else in your HubSpot analytics, the Sources Report cannot be overlooked. This tool will provide you with important insights into your traffic and site performance that will improve your lead flow!

Not a HubSpot customer but want to learn more? Let us know, and we can help you determine if it is right for you.

Currently a HubSpot customer and want to know more about what your analytics are telling you? See if you qualify for a custom B2B inbound marketing and website assessment now!

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    About the Author

    Susan LaPlante-Dube | PMG Principal
    Susan LaPlante-Dube, PMG Principal

    Susan LaPlante-Dube created PMG in 2002 and acts as one of PMG’s Principals. As a jack-of-all-trades in marketing, she loves digging deep on a topic and finding new ways to spin old ideas. While she would prefer having some high-tech voice software to record all of her blog thoughts instead of having to write them down, she loves the satisfaction of helping her readers learn something new.

     Tags: Reporting & Analytics HubSpot Inbound Marketing

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