There are two reasons why a contact's Original source value may change: a user with permissions to edit contacts manually changed the contact's Original source, or it was updated by HubSpot when previously-tracked site activity was associated with the contact.
HubSpot associates tracked site activity with the contact
When a visitors lands on your site, HubSpot tracks their activity and identifies them as a unique visitor by setting tracking cookies in their browser. HubSpot tracks visitor activity on your site even before they convert on a form. Once an unknown visitor submits a form or gets added as a contact to your HubSpot database through other means, HubSpot will try to associate the new contact record with any previously tracked activity.
If HubSpot is able to match a new contact with a previously anonymous visitor whose activity was tracked, the Original source property will be updated to reflect the source of the contact's earliest visit to your site.
An example of when a contact's Original source value might change:
- In March, a visitor lands on your site for the first time by clicking a Google search result. HubSpot sets tracking cookies in their browser.
- They browse a few pages on your site, but do not submit a form. Although they are not a contact in your HubSpot database yet, HubSpot is able to track their site activity and identify them as the same visitor if they revisit your site based on their tracking cookies.
- In July, they are imported as a contact from a CSV file. This sets their Original source as Offline sources.
- In September, the contact either:
- submits a form on your site, or
- is sent an email from your HubSpot account and clicks a link in the email that goes to your site.
- HubSpot associates the contact with their previous site activity:
- the contact's tracking cookies are passed through the form submission, or
- identity tracking from the links in your HubSpot emails, along with the tracking cookies already set in their browser.
- The contact's Original source will change from Offline sources to Organic search, as their first interaction with your site was via the Google search in March, which was earlier than their import via CSV file in July.