Tags: Reporting

Recently, HubSpot made the official switch to tracking and providing reports on "Sessions" instead of "Visits". This is an important update which will affect the way traffic to your website is calculated. Here's an overview of the changes the update brings and why it's useful for your inbound marketing strategy. 

The new HubSpot Traffic Analytics dashboardWhat the new Traffic Analytics dashboard and Sessions reports look like

What's the Difference Between Views and Sessions?

Visits and Sessions are two different ways in which you can categorise the interactions a visitor has on your website. A visit is counted when someone arrives on your website from a third-party page. A session, on the other hand, is less simple. It's not just a case of seeing when and how many visitors have clicked onto your website.

A session is a more comprehensive way of grouping interactions:

  • They take into account the visitor's activities such as CTA clicks, form submissions and page views.
  • As long as the visitor is active, all of their activities will be grouped together into one engagement session.
  • If the visitor is inactive for 30 minutes, the tracked session will expire. A new session for that visitor will begin if and when they return to the site after the 30 minutes or if they return from a different traffic source (a new session campaign).
  • If a visitor has cookies turned off or has an adblocker installed, HubSpot cannot track page views. However, the update means that when the visitor submits a form, tracking Sessions record the context around that submission and so, can provide more accurate data about the source of that form submission.

Read more about Visits vs. Sessions here

What Does This Mean for You?

A session is about more than just page views. As a result, the switch from reporting on views to Sessions means that instead of only being able to see when and how many visitors have landed on your website, you'll be able to see useful engagement metrics. This provides you with more accurate data and greater insight into how your visitors are interacting with your site as well as what's working and what's not. Ultimately, this might boost your marketing reach and get you more visitors in the long run. 

For example, you might have a visitor who finds your website through organic search and they read through a few of your blogs. They then step out to lunch/attend a meeting and don't return to their computer for another hour. When they do, they go back to your website, which is still open in their browser, click on a CTA and fill out a form. 

With the old view-counting method, HubSpot would only calculate this as one visit. With the new session-calculating method, this would actually count as two Sessions, each from a different source - the first being organic search and the second being the visitor converted via direct traffic. 

This is much more insightful because instead of only seeing when they visited and nothing more, you can see how your customers interacted with your site and even get an idea of how they fit this in around their working day. This provides you with more accurate data which can be used to perfect your buyer personas and ultimately, your inbound marketing strategy. 

What Did Databox Say About the Change?

Databox is designed to ensure that you're reporting on the metrics that matter. Because the KPI has changed in HubSpot, Databox has also changed slightly to reflect that. Some of these changes include:

  • All of the datablocks that map to the "Visits" endpoint will now automatically switch to the "Sessions" endpoint. "Visits by Source" will also change to "Sessions by Source".
  • Although the mapping will change automatically, any manually entered datablock names will not change. For example, if you've added "Visits" to a datablock title, that will still be in place. But be aware that the block will be displaying the number of Sessions instead of Visits.
  • In the first release, everything that's currently available by the app will be covered (for example, Visits to Sessions and Visits by Source to Sessions by Source). In the coming weeks, new metrics will be added that are now available via HubSpot's API (for example, Bounce Rate, Page Views per Session and Time per Session) so you can provide consistently insightful data. 

Want to Get More out of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?

HubSpot's update means that you can learn more about how visitors to your website interact with your content so your marketing strategy can go even further. But it doesn't end there. You need to be using the right marketing automation platform for you and your business's needs.

Download our FREE comparison guide which pits four of the biggest platforms against each other so you can see and choose the one which is best for your business.  

Click to compare HubSpot Infusionsoft Marketo and Salesforce pardot
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