Is it a good idea to use Hubspot as a revenue attribution tool?


Hubspot’s digital marketing suite, Marketing Hub, contains nearly everything a digital marketer would need to execute most marketing initiatives, from lead forms to landing pages—and even multi-touch revenue attribution. But how good are its revenue attribution capabilities and is it a good idea to rely on Hubspot exclusively for attribution? Let’s take a closer look. 

What does Hubspot offer?

The first thing to note about Hubspot revenue attribution is that it is not available to all users—only to those with an enterprise subscription, which costs $3,600 per month. And because it is billed annually upfront, you’re looking at $49,200 just to get started (including a $6,000 onboarding fee).

Non-enterprise customers have access to a basic contact attribution report that identifies the first and last touchpoints before a user becomes a “contact”, which could be a lead or an account in the Hubspot CRM, depending on what you label it. 

Enterprise customers get access to two more reports: The revenue attribution report and the deal attribution report, which identifies which marketing efforts resulted in the most deals won. On top of the first and last touchpoints, these reports also include interactions before deal creation and closed-won as additional key touchpoints. And you may apply one of nine attribution models to a report including U-shaped, W-shaped, and time decay. 

Upon closer inspection, you’ll find several crucial drawbacks in Hubspot’s revenue attribution reporting:

  • Incomplete attribution

Hubspot’s revenue attribution report does not account for any revenue or customer interactions outside of the Hubspot platform. That means calls, emails, form fills, and other interactions don’t count unless they’re hosted or created from a Hubspot product like the Sales Hub CRM. Hubspot also cannot attribute offline initiatives such as direct mail, television, and billboard advertising.

  • Rigid models for categorizing traffic sources

Hubspot has a pre-defined model, which considers utm_source and utm_medium, for categorizing traffic into a specific source. While this reduces the need for user-defined values, there are a couple of issues that arise: (1) Missing attribution: If you’re using utm_source and utm_medium values that are outside of Hubspot’s pre-defined model, then you’ll end up with traffic that gets improperly categorized (2) Limited categorization: For higher-scale marketing, you might need to break down a single marketing channel into more categories. With its pre-defined model, Hubspot does not allow for a granular level of analysis.

  • Limited ad reporting

Campaign performance can be included in revenue attribution reports, though it can be limited by API restrictions from the respective media platforms. Additionally, Hubspot reports calculated metrics based upon a fixed model that includes cost per MQL, cost per SQL, cost per deal, cost per lead, and cost per opportunity. If you have a different funnel with alternate milestone stage definitions, it’s not possible to see ad performance tailored to something other than the fixed Hubspot model.

  • User tracking

The Hubspot tracking code sets first-party cookies. But it does not allow you to set cookies using your own domain. With the Hubspot tracking code implementation, there are cases where ad blockers, along with more strict privacy settings, will prevent the user from being tracked and thus result in less complete attribution.

It bears noting that Hubspot was primarily designed as a CRM and marketing automation tool. For enterprises who are subscribed to multiple Hubspot software packages and are completely bought into the ecosystem, its revenue attribution feature, though limited, is a nice addition. For everyone else, a dedicated, vendor-neutral revenue attribution solution would provide a more complete picture with better decisioning data.

A better way forward

Interested in using Hubspot as a CRM but want a better revenue attribution solution? Sona can be natively integrated with Hubspot to complement your Hubspot-centric stack. Here’s what you stand to gain:

  • Ultra high attribution accuracy 

Sona’s first-party, cookieless implementation allows you to reliably capture more than 95% of all user activities anonymously. The cookies are set on your domain so they won’t be flagged by ad blockers, and you won’t have to implement consent banners since no personally identifiable information is collected. 

  • Full visibility and control of GTM data

The Sona team will help you build custom data pipelines, combine large datasets, and shape your data to gain the insights you need to improve demand generation initiatives. With Sona’s built-in ETL capabilities, you’ll be able to cleanse, normalize, combine, and aggregate your data from all your GTM initiatives (even offline ones like direct mail), and send it to Hubspot, making your tech stack smarter.

  • Revenue-focused reporting and analysis

Sona’s dashboards are revenue and CAC focused, ensuring that you keep an eye on the gross profit contribution from the channel and down to the ad, not just vanity metrics. You’ll also be able to see the entire customer journey on one user profile and combine multiple users from the same company into a single company profile, which allows you to track activity at an account level. This profile data can be synced with Hubspot or even Salesforce to enrich CRM contacts. 

Most importantly, Sona is designed to take the complexity out of revenue attribution with a fully-managed process. So instead of spending months with onboarding and setup on Hubspot, you could be up and running within a week working with our team. It’s why Sona customers see more than 700% ROI on average within their first year. 

Ready to move forward? Schedule a demo with a growth specialist today.