Closed loop reporting in HubSpot - How to use it

Evelyn Wolf by Evelyn Wolf   14 Aug


 Closed Loop Reporting HubSpot

We’ve updated this post on April 06th 2018 to reflect the new Analytics Tools in HubSpot. RIP old Sources Report, welcome new tools!

Closed loop reporting is one of the great features HubSpot offers straight out of the box. The only thing you need to do is ensure your data is entered correctly and you can easily see your full conversion funnel.

In this post, I’m going to dive into the HubSpot Analytics Tools. I’ll give you an overview of what you can see and how to pull the all important “So what?” information out of it so you can get to work.

The Traffic Analytics- The basics

What used to be known as the sources report is as of April 06th 2018 called Traffic Analytics and there are a lot of new features. However, before we look at the shiny new things, let’s focus back on the basics: number of visits, leads and customers with the respective conversion rates.

Many wonder, are those metrics too basic? Where is the bounce rate? Time spent on page? Where are the individual page statistics? The reaction here is often to jump back to Google Analytics, a great tool also. But, if you want to focus on closed loop reporting, you won’t get a better starting point than the sources report.

Gaps in your funnel

At first glance, traffic analytics should tell you where your funnel is in need of work. Select the timeframe you want to examine first (use the date range selector right at the top of the page) and then scroll right down to your total numbers. Here an example:


Closed loop reporting-1


When I see these, I see a healthy number of visits, with a strong conversion to contact rate at 6.89%. However, the 2.02% to close rate is a little low. Generally, you want to see the conversion rate from contact to customer a lot higher (this depends on your sales cycle and how many customers you need for your business to be successful). As an inbound marketer, I would now reevaluate my nurture process.

Visit to lead conversion

Although not an issue in the above example, I want to show you how to see your visit to lead conversion clearer. Again, set your timeframe up and now click “Combination” in the style dropdown just over the graph. You’ll get something looking like this:

Visit to lead conversion HubSpot


The green line indicates the visit to contact conversion rate. Looking at this example, I’d go over all activities (blogs, campaigns etc) from October, November, January and February. What did we do that increased not just our visits but also our conversion rate to contact (the green line). This is a great way of measuring whether your campaigns really had the impact you were looking for. Very often, we’ve discovered that blog posts that we didn’t think would be too successful actually hit the mark.

Where are my customers?

HubSpot automatically counts when someone visits and of course if they convert through a HubSpot or integrated form. What it cannot automatically know is when a lead has spoken to your sales team and the sale has closed. Often we see reports where the customer number is zero.

All you need to do is either integrate HubSpot with your CRM and push sales information across or manually find the contact and with a click update their lifecycle status to customer. You’ll see the numbers then completely in the traffic report.

So these are the very top level, basic things you can see in the sources report. Nice, ey?

The Traffic Analytics - Diving into sources

What would the report be without diving into actual sources? In the table you can already see the top level breakdown between organic, direct, social etc. If you have done a big data upload, for example after an event, don’t forget to show offline sources as well (turn it on by ticking the box just above the graphic section).

What many people don’t realise is that you can click on the individual sources in the table and get a breakdown. In our example, I’ve clicked on the social media source and got this breakdown:

HubSpot sources

This is very informative. Not only can I see social sources here that I might not have considered to be too active on (you can discover channels such as HackerNews, Reddit, Quora…) but I can also see that Facebook has a very strong conversion rate to contact. Let’s do more here! I can also click on the contact number and get a list. This is a great sense check; are the actual contacts any good? Interestingly, contacts from social are not closing to customer. That confirms our earlier identified issue: we need to work on nurture.

Highly beneficial if you are trying to build more backlinks is to check your referrals. Which sites are sending traffic your way? Anyone there you should reach out to for a co-marketing campaign? Can you think of any sites similar to the ones already linking to you that you could reach out to and build your backlinks with?

Doing an organic deep dive can be frustrating to many. Unknown keywords will make up the biggest percentage because Google doesn’t share this information with anyone. The remaining keywords you see come from other search engines or those who fell through the cracks with Google. It still gives you an idea.

Paid campaigns

I just want to talk about the traffic analytics report today rather than the full reporting add on or the ads tool in HubSpot. The traffic report can still give you valuable information on paid campaigns. Firstly, don’t forget to set up tracking domains (check out this article for help) for your ads. Now, as you go into your paid reports, you can see the tracking campaigns you have built and make a call on whether the campaign is working for you.

You can do a lot of this natively in Adwords and social paid tools. The difference, HubSpot will tell you exactly who came to your site first through a paid source, converted to contact and closed to customer.

When to use other tools  

I like a good toolbox with lots of variety. I use HubSpot to show me the closed loop overview. Once I’ve identified where I need to work on, I may optimise other tools.

The old HubSpot reporting didn’t pull in additional metrics such as bounce rates, new visitor sessions, page views / session and session length. This has now changed with the new Traffic Analytics. This means that for a lot of metrics that we used to move into Google Analytics for, we can stay in HubSpot. This means that you can avoid the frustration of Google numbers not matching HubSpot (more on this here).    

There are also additional tools within HubSpot such as the keyword tool and page reporting. For example, if my main issue is that my visits are flat and organic is not driving results, I’m straight into the keywords tools, I look at the page reporting and yes, I dive into the new metrics in HubSpot reporting to check my bounce rate, time spent on site etc. I also head into Google Search Console to check whether there are any more technical SEO things I need to work on.

Another example of mixing up tools, if my issue is around social, I dive into the social tools within HubSpot and, of course, the native reporting tools in each channel.

Whether you use measurement tools inside or outside HubSpot doesn’t matter, what matters is simply: will you get the information you need and the insights you can act on?

Mixing tools - The numbers don’t match

I got asked this question a lot while I was working in HubSpot: “Why are my visit numbers in HubSpot different to ‘insert other tool name here’?” The simple answer, no tool shares fully with others (and competitors) how they measure. Compare your Adwords numbers with Analytics, even those have a variance. The Google algorithm is fascinating and I’m sure only a handful of people really know all aspects. You just have to live with this.

Understand the differences

You need to have a broad understanding of how each tools measures. I could go into great detail but I would essentially by copying from this article in HubSpot that goes through the main differences. Have a read!

Decide on your main tool that you will use for reporting. If you want the full closed loop, I would suggest to work within HubSpot and get all numbers there. You can deep dive into Google or other tools as you need.

Focus on trends

Key is to focus on trends, especially if you are reporting with multiple tools. Rises and falls in numbers should be the same across the board, even if the exact numbers don’t match. You’ll still be able to identify where your funnel is struggling.

HubSpot Reporting - Taking it further

The sources report is a great starting point. And from here you can take it further through attribution reporting, contacts reporting and more (depending on your HubSpot subscription level). Click on Reports and go to Create A New Report and you will see a selection of reports you can build based on your HubSpot subscription level:

Closed Loop Reporting - HubSpot Next Steps

In addition, you can email reports right from the tool as well, neat!

BusinessBrew Approach

When it comes to reporting and working within HubSpot, BusinessBrew has two approaches:

1. Portal Review

BusinessBrew clients who use HubSpot will all have gone through a portal review. The sources report is our baseline to identify where gaps in the funnel exist. Just as in the examples above, we then dive deeper.

2. Ongoing Reporting

At BusinessBrew we advise customers to take closed loop reporting further and really tie in sales numbers (some of this can be done with the reporting add on as well). The full closed loop takes profit, your budget and expenditure into account.


Topics: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot

Evelyn Wolf

Written by Evelyn Wolf

Inbound strategy specialist and content creator. She will turn your web presence into a magnet and always has wind in her sails.