Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does Hubspot’s analytics measure up?

I’m now in the second week of my 30-day free demo of Hubspot’s marketing software. I’m using the demo to see if Hubspot’s all-in-one marketing software would make a good fit for some of my clients.

In these first two weeks, I’ve used the tool kit thus far to develop keyword lists and begin optimizing my website with their “page grader” tool.

The two applications have been simple to work with and provided some excellent insight. The keyword tool works essentially the same as Google’s, which you most likely know, is free to use.

This however, should not be your main reason for buying Hubspot’s software – and to be fair with Hubspot, they do recommend Google’ tool in their free-to download reports and papers so it’s not like they consider their keyword tool a major KSP.

What is unique about Hubspot’s tool is how it helps you incorporate your keywords into your content – from blog posts, SM, emails to landing and website pages. It enables you to incorporate and evaluate your use of keywords in your content.  I’ll get into this in a later post as I begin to explore the lead generating capabilities in the software.

Page grader makes the grade

So far in my demo, I have especially appreciated the input the page grader has provided. This is truly an SEO optimizer for dummies – like me.

As I mentioned in my last post, the page grader basically walks you through what you need to correct on your website pages to optimize SEO influencers:
  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords
  • URL
  • HI
  • Image tags
  • Ranking
  • Link analysis
  • Inbound and internal links
With each of the categories above, the page grader tells you what needs fixing, stopping short of actually rewriting your text for you.

Getting down to the numbers – analytics

Having gathered two weeks of data from my blog posts, social media and website analytics, I’ve begun comparing the data with Google’s and from my blogging publisher (blogspot).

Screenshot is from the “Visits for All Sources” analytic
This chart from Hubspot gives a terrific and one-stop overview of the sources driving traffic to your site. If you incorporate your social media publishing – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, FB etc…  as well as your blog posts in your Hubspot account, they will track them all in this data .  You can then see how well they, and the other usual suspects: organic & paid searches, direct traffic – drive visitors to your site.

This is great insight for pinpointing what works.  Although you could find the same stats by using other tracking and many times free software, Hubspot neatly puts the info into one easy-to-review chart instead of having to visit your different tracking sites like Hootsuite etc.. .

For me it was eye-opening to discover that more than 50% of the traffic to my website was being driven by my blog, LinkedIn and Twitter.

As I had been preaching to customers to step up their content creation, my stats provided statistical proof for them to get off their butts.  In fact, I immediately shared the data results with one client to try and convince them to be more active with their blog and SM channels.  Let’s hope they listen.

As a footnote, I’m guessing that Hubspot is already looking into how to incorporate “Pinterest” and any other relevant SM players into their analytics.

Look who’s lookin’

This is where things begin to get interesting, especially when you compare Hubspot and Google.

Hubspot gives you the high level stats like Google: page views, time on the page, visitors, but some of Hubspot’s other details I find very exciting.

Hubspot identifies the company that was visiting you site (not just the city like Google).  This is extremely interesting but also problematic. The company/visit is identified by its IP address. Because of this, the results can sometimes get skewed. For example, some of my results were just the internet service provider and not the actual company making the visit.

What is cool about this tool though is in addition to hopefully identifying the visitor by company name, they also give you a link to the company’s employees on LinkedIn so you can mine that for leads or names – saving a step or two in building lists. You could obviously do this on your own when targeting companies but again, this is helping you target those visiting your site.

Unlike Google, Hubspot does not include “bounce” or some of the other valuable Google stats but if you include Hubspot's other tools like the “page grader” etc… with your overall analysis, you should be able to put together more than enough insight to know who’s visiting your site and how well it is performing. 

Out of curiosity, I did compare the site visit data with Google’s and Lol, they matched exactly.

Incidentally, like Google, Hubspot also enables you to filter your own IP address from the reporting.

You can also hide irrelevant visits when you review or download reports. These might include the before-mentioned ISP addresses etc…

Daily mail follow up

Hubspot also sends a “Daily Prospects Digest” email (depending on the frequency of reports you choose) with your results. It provides the stats from your most recent visitors – nice to wake up to.

Major discrepancy – My first complaint

In terms of my blog stats, Hubspot gave me some very strange results.

Hubspot has its own dedicated blog analytics tool that works by you pasting their code into your blog template, if you’re not using their blog CMS tool.

For some reason, when I go to my Hubspot “Blog Analysis” chart and look at my last post’s stats, it says that I have only had 6 page views over the past week.

If I go to Hubspot’s “Page Views” analysis chart, (which analyzes all my pages including blog and website) it says that I have had 30 page views for the very same post over the same period.

And, if I go to Blogspots’ (my blog publisher) own analytics, it says that I have had 44 page views for the very same post. Plus, I know that blogspot is definitely excluding my URL from visits, which Hubspot analytics hasn’t been instructed to.

These are major differences that I need to get to the bottom of!

I have searched Hubsot’s help section unsuccessfully for an answer. I will chat with them later today to hear more. This will also give me a chance to demo their “help desk.” 

Don’t want to get all gushy but…

I just got off the phone with Hubspot’s help. Having lived in Europe for the last 20 years, I forgot what it’s like to have a friendly voice on the other end of a help line. The woman was very informative and enthusiastic. She noticed that my blog tracking was not working correctly – aha... She also recognized that I had placed Hubspot’s tracking code in my individual posts as opposed to the blog template – she thought this might have screwed up my results as well (not in those words). We’ll see how it works with this post.

Needless to say, it was very refreshing to speak with their help desk. It kind of felt like the classic marketing scenario: customer gets turned from a complaining moaner to your product’s biggest fan. Although I wasn’t really complaining, it is a free trial after all.

Next up, I’ll begin looking at the lead generating tools….

BTW, here’s a link to Hubspot’s latest paper on working with analytics

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I'm a consultant over at HubSpot and I really enjoyed this honest initial review of the HubSpot software. I look forward to hearing what you think of the lead generation tools.

    adam gerard