What Is Hubspot Revenue Attribution (and Why It’s Not Enough)

woman hands on a computer and a mobile

Determining which marketing efforts are driving revenue and by how much is the godfather offer of the Hubspot Revenue Attribution. And an ultimate goal for marketers.

When armed with accurate data, marketers can link marketing efforts and investments directly to revenue, helping them secure budgets from decision-makers.

But ROI is increasingly tricky to nail down, as consumers increasingly have more touchpoints with brands.

Worse still, existing models are plagued with inaccurate data, resulting in misleading conclusions, especially if founded upon false assumptions. Marketers are, therefore, failing to see value from the marketing attribution platform.

So when Hubspot, the company behind a highly-recognizable sales and marketing platform, announced its revenue attribution module, we had to explore it. Is it worthwhile? Read on for an unbiased overview.

What Is Hubspot Revenue Attribution?

Hubspot revenue attribution is a report that gives insights into the impact of marketing efforts and investments on sales.

The said report pinpoints:

  • Your customer’s journey in terms of the channels that contributed to closing sales
  • Every interaction a prospect had with your marketing assets up until they converted 
  • Marketing investments that drive revenues, and so on.

Overall, the attribution tool pulls relevant customer interactions from the purchase cycle using pre-built models to determine the marketing efforts driving revenue.

Why is Understanding Which Marketing Efforts Are Driving Revenue Important?

Understanding where your leads and sales are coming from helps optimize marketing strategies based on revenue.

Measuring marketing impacts grants you the capacity to decipher:

  • The channels that have prospects converting through the sales funnel
  • The content that’s wasting money
  • Where to invest to increase conversions

In a nutshell, understanding which marketing efforts are driving revenue helps:

  • Understand the marketing effort driving revenue
  • Identify and exhibit success, which can help gain trust and more decision-making authority in your company
  • Efficiently plan and develop a content strategy
  • Build marketing and sales alignment (by lifting the curtain and showcasing how the teams are adding to the bottom line)
  • Request better marketing budget allocation

Related: Revenue Operations Intelligence: Drilling Down into Marketing Impact

But Is Hubspot Revenue Attribution Really Enough?

Short answer, no.

For one, Hubspot uses data from cookies and tracking pixels.

By definition, cookies are pieces of data the browser stores when a prospect visits your company website. They help track the web visitor’s browsing activity.

Tracking pixels are tiny graphics embedded in your promotional email or web HTML code.  They help reveal information such as the prospect’s:

  • Operating system
  • IP address
  • Timing of the touchpoint
  • Screen resolution, and
  • Activities on site

On the downside, such data hardly matches the realities of the buyer’s journey. It only indicates browser activity.

Think about it: Customers do not necessarily use the same device or browser throughout their buyer’s journey. Several people in an office (or household) could also use the same computer – resulting in different prospects. And so on.

Two, each touchpoint is pre-allocated a percentage of the closed deal revenue.

The percentages are mainly guesswork, and they vary with the attribution model. 

So, instead of using the revenue attribution tool to decipher what’s driving revenue, you first need to find a model that closely matches your revenue pattern.

That means, the next month when your competitors have changed their strategy, and you’ve altered your marketing channels and content mix, a different model will probably provide the closest fit to your revenue patterns.

Now, who’s going to believe your ROI claims when you have to use different models each time to prove your point?

Three, marketers shouldn’t just assign weighted, arbitral numbers to different steps in the customer journey.

Because each step is essential. Plus, the models ignore any other activities, such as referrals, offline marketing, etc., that may directly influence the sale.

Four, Hubspot lead attribution is inaccurate.

Anytime a given strategy begins with “when done right,” as does attribution modeling, proceed with caution.

Sure, when done right, revenue attribution can provide a view into your marketing spend with some degree of accuracy. However, there’s no such thing as 100% accuracy with marketing attribution.

Besides, the attributions are broad: “original source,” “organic social,” “paid social,” etc. They don’t boil it down to, say, “Bing Paid” or “Google Paid.” So you only get partial data, which can hinder your marketing strategy optimization.

Furthermore, Hubspot’s attribution only looks at Hubspot CRM and Hubspot marketing automation together.

So you won’t get that full attribution unless you use both systems together. For the purposes of this article, we are focusing on those companies who use one or the other, such as Hubspot MAP and Salesforce CRM, or Hubspot CRM and Marketo MAP.

If this is you, how then do you overcome these limitations and get the most out of your tool?

Integrating Hubspot Revenue Attribution Tools to Other 1st and 3rd Party Data Sources

To get the most out of the Hubspot revenue attribution tool, you’ll have to integrate other data sources.

Here’s a quick overview of three aspects you might want to integrate with your Hubspot revenue attribution analysis: CRMs, e-commerce platforms, and ad management tools.

Integrating your CRM and sales systems with Hubspot revenue attribution

Not everyone wants to use HubSpot CRM or a sales pipeline tool. But most such packages lack a native revenue attribution feature. Fortunately, you can bridge the data from your favorite CRM, creating your own digital ecosystem with enhanced reporting capabilities.

You can then undertake the integration to determine how well the content you’ve set up along your CRM’s customer journey is performing. You can analyze the performance by campaigns, content types, deal types, interaction types, and more.

You can also track customer interactions with pages, posts, and emails, along with your sales interactions.HubSpot can also evaluate the revenue generated due to sales interactions like calls and meetings. So, these can be included along with your content attributions if you want a comprehensive view of your marketing activities.

Related: Best Practices for a Seamless HubSpot/Salesforce Integration

Integrating E-Commerce Platforms with HubSpot revenue attribution

Some e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and NetSuite offer a certain amount of customer insight. Extending that with a Hubspot revenue attribution can provide a more comprehensive look at your marketing ROI.

When HubSpot’s revenue attribution is linked to your e-commerce activities, the focus is on your content and buyer segments unless you offer consultations or other personal contact sessions.

If you want to evaluate the true ROI of your online content strategy, use the “interaction source” configuration. It depicts the most profitable interaction sources like emails, paid searches, website chats, or social media.

Integrating your AdTech platform with HubSpot Revenue Attribution

AdTech tools are great but can be hard to get a handle on. If you find HubSpot easier to work with, you can sync the data with an integration.

While the platforms provide cross-channel customer intelligence, information on the data, and pricing, the resulting insights can’t pinpoint your exact payoff.

HubSpot’s reporting helps you understand what each data segment responds to, how your content works on them, and what to prioritize. It converts data intelligence points into dollars and cents. Helping you make much smarter ad management decisions.

Or Opt for a More Accurate and Less Complicated Attribution Option – RevOptics

Thus far, it’s clear that Hubspot will get you to someplace but not to where you need to go. RevOptics steps in to tell the complete revenue impact story.

With RevOptics, you not only track every new lead but also see their entire customer journeys. In other words, you view your leads holistically and on a granular level.

What’s more? We believe that attribution modeling is complex – there are so many questions about which model to use, when to use it, etc. It’s almost like you need a Ph.D. in attribution to understand it when really, all you want to know is marketing’s impact on revenue.

RevOptics steps in to provide a simpler model for determining marketing impact better than umpteen million attribution tools. Better still, it integrates with your martech stack while saving time you spend migrating your applications over to HubSpot. To learn more about RevOptics, book a demo today.

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About Wayne Lopez

CPO at Vertify