Until recently, sales and marketing analytics was the exclusive domain of sophisticated tech-forward companies; now it’s a priority for nearly every business. And while just a few years ago Google Analytics was pretty much the only tool available, today every content management system (CMS) and marketing automation platform has an analytics dashboard.
HubSpot is one of these platforms. It has built out its analytics tools to give users real-time insight into the performance of their website, landing pages, email campaigns and more.
But while native analytics adds to its convenience and utility, HubSpot doesn’t provide the same experience or depth of insight as Google. HubSpot’s streamlined approach to data makes it accessible to everyone, but only Google offers the robust analytics and functionality you need to get the whole story of how your site is performing.
Fortunately, you can get the best of both in a single platform that uses AI to present data-driven insights and prioritized recommendations on how to improve performance.
HubSpot Analytics Makes Data Accessible
HubSpot has built its name on providing all-in-one marketing and sales software. Aside from its breadth of capabilities, HubSpot’s appeal lies in its convenience and ease of use. Tasks that traditionally required specialized expertise or software can be done quickly and simply on a single platform.
Those benefits extend to HubSpot’s analytics. Data can be overwhelming for the average person, but HubSpot has streamlined its analytics to make the data more accessible while providing much of the information a layperson needs.
That’s not to say that HubSpot analytics offers everything you’d need; it definitely has limits and shortcomings. Here’s what HubSpot’s analytics tool gets right and where it’s lacking.
A Good Overview
At a high level, HubSpot’s analytics tool offers much of the data most marketers want to know. It provides all the major metrics that seasoned data-heads lean on, including: Channels, Sessions, Views, Bounce rate, Exit rate, Time on page, Conversion rate, Session to Contact Rate, and Customers.
These are the frontline numbers nearly everyone uses, and HubSpot has brought them together on a single dashboard that is accessible to the average person.
From the data that HubSpot provides, you can begin to form a picture of how people are getting to your site and how they’re engaging (or not) with the content you create. And from that information you can start to get an idea of which pages are doing well and which need work.
But how, exactly, do you turn raw numbers into actionable insights? Or, to skip the marketing-speak: Data is great, but how do you know what it means and what to do about it?
A Step Toward Turning Data Into Optimization
One thing HubSpot has consistently done well is provide its users with tools that make complex, specialized tasks easier. Its optimization checklist offers insight into the major elements that affect the performance of everything from blogs and landing pages to emails and web pages.
The image below shows the optimization screen for a blog.
As you can see, HubSpot will tell you if you’ve completed tasks associated with, in this case, better blog performance, such as providing a meta description, images and CTAs. When you click on the meta description, which it lists as “incomplete,” it tells you the current description is too long for best practices. Likewise, if you click on “images,” you’ll discover that the image doesn’t have alt text.
This information – that you need a meta description and image alt text, and how long each should be – is not common knowledge to anyone not versed in content marketing. That’s what makes the HubSpot optimization checklist so valuable. It ensures users include important elements they might otherwise overlook.
So let’s say you review your data and see a blog is severely underperforming. Now what? You can look at the optimization tab and see what, if any elements, are incomplete. In the above example, you could rewrite the meta description, review the length of your H1 and add alt text to your image.
An easy-to-use dashboard with a distilled view of the most commonly used metrics? An optimization checklist that lets you know what elements are incomplete? It sounds like a dream come true, especially if you’re like most people and lack specialized knowledge about SEO, CRO and data analysis.
In one sense, it is a dream come true.
But in another sense, the HubSpot analytics tool suffers from being both too simple and not simple enough.
It‘s Simple, But It’s Scattered
Nothing is more annoying than a tool that was designed to make life easier, but doesn’t feel easy to use. To a certain extent, that’s the case with HubSpot’s analytics. Yes, HubSpot has done a great job of presenting the information you most need to know. But it would be an overstatement to say it’s all there on one tidy dashboard.
Instead of housing all of the data on a single easy-to-access screen, it’s spread across multiple screens. If you go to the Reports menu in the main navigation, there are options for Analytics Tools and Dashboards.
Choosing Analytics Tools takes you to a page with options for traffic analytics, website analytics, campaign analytics and contact analytics. Each offers a different view of the data. For instance, Traffic Analytics allows you to explore data by traffic source, while Website Analytics shows data by page type (website page, blog or landing page).
Choosing Dashboards takes you, not surprisingly, to a dashboard. You can choose among dashboards for marketing, sales and web analytics. Each offers a quick-hit overview and gives you the ability to click deeper into the data. For instance, in the web analytics dashboard, you can
- Click on Engagement, then
- See engagement data by source (organic, direct, referral, etc.), then
- Click on a specific source to view its top performing pages
Each click is a new page. And that’s problem with both the analytics tools and the dashboards. Although it all lives under the reports menu, the information feels scattered among a maze of pages.
The result is that users, especially those new to analytics, can start to feel lost. Constantly going back and forth among numerous pages, they’re left scrambling to understand how the numbers differ, what they mean and how they relate to one other.
You Don’t Get The Full Story
Most people don’t use all the data available to them, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be using more of it. The information provided in HubSpot is a nice start, and provides valuable insights.
But while HubSpot offers most of the data the average marketer would want, it doesn’t give you the whole story. If you want to go deeper, you need to leave HubSpot and go into Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Is Robust
Not so long ago, Google Analytics was basically the only platform businesses used to track website performance. And although numerous other tools have made their way onto the market, Google remains the gold standard.
Some of that has to do with the Google brand – it’s so intimately tied to site traffic that people implicitly trust that Google Analytics will provide the most trustworthy data. But its dominance also reflects the quality of its tools – it offers robust analytics, allowing you to both look at top-level data and dig deep into metrics.
But Google Analytics is by no means perfect. Here are its pros and cons.
Pro: It’s GOOGLE...And It’s Free
When businesses talk about site traffic, they’re primarily talking about visitors who come via Google organic search or Google Ads. As far and away the most-used search engine, everything Google does matters – every change and update to its algorithm affects every site.
Given that so much site traffic, and therefore site activity, depends on Google, it only makes sense to use Google Analytics to measure site performance.
It’s also worth noting Google Analytics is free.
Many people will be quick to point out that only the standard version is free, and Google 360 requires a subscription However, most non-enterprise businesses can get away with using the free version.
Pro: It Gives You Everything You Need To Know, And More
When you first open Google Analytics, you immediately see just how much data is available. It offers a trove of information that gives you ability to look at data with added context. It also provides valuable information that HubSpot doesn’t, allowing you to do such things as:
- View performance by device type, which is important in Google’s new mobile-first indexing
- View how your website is performing in different regions
- Check site speed, which is important now that Google has indicated it’s a ranking factor
- Look at user behavior to see the paths users to take from page to page during a session
- Customize goals/conversions to reflect how users interact with your site – from simple clicks and form fills to content downloads and video plays
- See the terms bringing visitors to your site and the number of impressions that each term gets, as well as its average position and CTR
- View persona demographic data, such as age, gender and interests
Pro: It’s All There In Front Of You
For as much information and capability as Google Analytics offers, it still manages to provide a clean user experience. Once you get a feel for the dashboard and become familiar with the lay of the land, you can get the information you want quickly and easily.
Unlike HubSpot, you don’t need to click back and forth to get data or changing pages. Google uses sidebar navigation that allows you to access its modules and features quickly. In fact, it breaks up the data most people want into three simple buckets, known as the ABC modules: Acquisition. Behavior, Conversion.
Poking around in these modules and their respective features, even a novice will glean valuable information about how their site is performing. While the sheer amount of information available is jaw-dropping, it’s all right there in front of you. The sidebar navigation and the ability to drill down into data means you’re almost never lost.
Con: It Is Intimidating
This may seem like a contradiction after the previous section, but Google Analytics is overwhelming for many people. The fact that it does a good job of presenting all that data helps, but, let’s face it, many people freeze up at the sight of a wall of numbers.
Numbers by themselves don’t tell you anything: They require interpretation. The average person doesn’t know what the numbers mean, let alone what to do with them. And that lack of understanding, more than the data itself, is the root of the anxiety.
For any non-analyst/non-datahead, even HubSpot’s streamlined format will cause some initial dismay. Adding more data, functionalities and capabilities only makes the experience more intimidating – and prevents many businesses from digging deeper into data.
Get The Best Of Both Worlds
An ideal analytics platform would combine the best of what HubSpot and Google Analytics bring to the table. It would be robust but accessible, going deep into the data while remaining easy to use. Yet that still wouldn’t eliminate the biggest problem the average person faces with data.
Whether you use HubSpot, Google Analytics or both – or some other tool altogether – you have encountered a shared lack. While these platforms offer valuable data, they don’t offer the guidance the typical user needs.
Most people don’t know what to make of data, regardless of how it’s presented. How, exactly, do you turn raw numbers into actionable insights? Or, to skip the marketing-speak: Data is great, but how do you know what it means and what to do about it?
Given the prevalence of AI and all of the available marketing data to draw from, why
can’t there be a platform that splits the difference between HubSpot’s ease of use and Google Analytics’ capability? A platform that tells you which pages are failing, why they’re failing and how to fix them?
MAXG takes your data from HubSpot and Google Analytics, then leverages AI to turn it into actionable insights and prioritized next-step recommendations.
You no longer have to spend your day poring over data. MAXG automatically notifies you about:
- Which pages are underperforming, based on benchmarks in your specific industry
- The most likely reasons each page is underperforming
- How to fix the issues
- Which tasks to prioritize to achieve the greatest impact
You don’t need to jump from HubSpot to Google Analytics (and back) to get the full story. You don’t have to analyze or interpret the data, or translate it into an action plan. MAXG tells you what to do, how to do it, and when.
Get More From Your Data
MAXG Tells You What To Do, How To Do It And When