HubSpot fans are popping up everywhere, and I am increasingly asked if all the bells and whistles and promises of inbound-marketing lift are hype or hope. My official answer: both, depending on who you are and what you want to know about your website.
Not all website analytics platforms are created equal. While a traditional SEO-friendly WordPress installation combined with (free) Google Analytics tracking is just fine for data junkies, the CMO of an in-bound driven company with a small tech team may get more use out of HubSpot Analytics.
HubSpot can work really well for inbound marketing and for website owners that do not have SEO analysts handy. The website analytics are somewhat limited, but give business owners a lot of the conversion and traffic data they need to make solid business decisions. On the other hand, WordPress + Google Analytics provides far more (and sometimes different) data, which is great for seasoned analysts who know what to look for. When deciding between these options, consider the audience.
Benefits and Differences: Website Analytics
Google Analytics and HubSpot track and report on data differently – and how these metrics are defined can vary greatly. Here are some examples:
- Visits: GA counts a visit every time a user comes to the website. HubSpot counts only one “visit” even if a single IP lands on the website multiple times. Each platform makes assumptions, and those assumptions are different.
- Bots: Both GA and HubSpot filter “bot” traffic from reporting, but how each defines a “bot” can be quite different.
Audience-Specific Data: Example
For a 30-day period, Google Analytics reported a total of 10,691 visits to this website, along with 8,069 unique visits and 31, 202 total page views.
For the same 30-day period on the same website, HubSpot Analytics reports a total of 15,065 visits. (That’s 4,374 more “visits” than GA reports – 15,065 vs 10,691.)
We’ve also noticed that HubSpot does not easily report on Unique vs. Repeat visitors unless using the Advanced Marketing Analytics package (upgrade).
Which Data is More Accurate?
Neither metrics are more “correct” than the other. HubSpot is designed specifically for in-bound marketers, while Google Analytics is built for experienced webmasters and SEOs.
HubSpot is a smart marketing agency, but the data is somewhat limited and what you see is what you get. The data does not necessarily provide insight into overall website performance, but specifically for content initiatives and social media engagement. If that’s where you put advertising dollars, it makes sense to measure and report on those metrics.
Google data is far more comprehensive and provides a very detailed level of information and many opportunities to manipulate data. This means that technical SEOs and data junkies can answer more questions regarding overall website performance. If a website owner doesn’t have an SEO analyst to walk them through, actionable insights might not be readily apparent.
While both offer different benefits and could be a good solution for your business, figure out what you really want to get from your analytics to help you determine which one to use. If you need a little help making the right decision for your situation, reach out to us. We’d love to help you find the right platform and data solution for your needs.