Date Range Best Practices in HubSpot's Reporting Add-on

Last updated: January 23, 2017

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Marketing: Free, Starter, Basic, Pro, Enterprise
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Add-Ons: Reporting

In reporting on Sales and Marketing, time frames matter - not every business works on the same cadence. HubSpot’s Reporting Add-on empowers you to customize the date ranges of your reports to your team’s specific needs. In this document, we'll walk you through the basics of setting date ranges in the Reporting Add-on.

There are two different types of date range settings in the Add-on: filtering and plotting. Filtering criteria determine which records are included in your report, whereas plotting criteria specify how those records will be displayed visually.

Filtering Date Criteria

When you're building reports, you're generally trying to answer a question about a certain type of record. How many deals were closed? How many contacts were created? Depending on the context of your report building, you might want to zoom in on a certain set of those records. For example, rather than looking at all the deals that have been closed in the history of your organization, you might want to focus on just the deals that were closed last month. Filtering allows you to crop out the unnecessary data, and report only on the records that speak to your specific question.

How to Configure Filtering Date Ranges

There are four primary places to configure filters for your reports. Three of the four appear on the left-hand sidebar of the report creation screen.

1. The easiest way to filter the records in your report is via the Filter By dropdown. This dropdown includes all the date range properties in the record type you’re reporting on. For example, if you’re looking at contacts, you'll be able to filter by properties like Create Date.

2. If you have HubSpot CRM, you can create Views of your contacts, companies, and deals. Views are sets of records that meet a series of custom criteria that you define. When building a report in the Reporting Add-on, you can choose to chart only the records contained in a specific view. The date ranges you define in the selected view apply to the report --- only records that meet the date criteria in the view will be displayed.

3. If you have HubSpot’s marketing platform, you can create Lists of your contacts. Lists are segments of contact records that meet a series of custom criteria that you define. When building a report in the Reporting Add-on, you can choose to include only the records contained in a specific list. The date ranges you define in the selected list apply to the report --- only records that meet the criteria in the list will be displayed.

4. The final place to set filtering criteria is at the dashboard level --- at the top of any of your dashboards. The date range you select at the top of the dashboard will apply as a filter to each of the reports in the dashboard. Combined with the three criteria above, this date range will determine the specific records that your reports will include. In the sections below, we’ll walk through a complete example, to show you exactly how these components work together.

Plotting Date Criteria

Now that you've chosen the records to display in your report, it's time to think about exactly what you want your chart to look like. If you'd like to see the growth of a specific KPI over time, we'd recommend using a date property on your x-axis. Configuring the x-axis is quick and easy. When in the report builder (after you've hit + Add Report), find the header of the first column of data, and select your desired property from the dropdown.

Note that this selection doesn't impact which records are displayed on the chart, but rather how the records selected via the filtering criteria are plotted.

How do filtering criteria and plotting criteria work together?

The four filtering criteria described above combine to determine the set of records that will appear in each of your reports. The plotting date criteria determines how those records are displayed on your chart. Let’s walk through a quick example to demonstrate how these settings work together.

Suppose you ran your first webinar campaign in January of last year, and wanted to see how many MQL’s it brought in that month. How would you go about configuring this report in the Reporting Add-on?

Which records to include (filtering criteria)?

1. First, in HubSpot's Marketing tool, create a smart list of contacts from your webinar campaign. If you’re not sure how to create a smart list, take a look at this article.

2. Head over into the Reporting Add-on, and navigate to the dashboard you'd like to add your report to.

3. At the top of the dashboard, set the date range to January of last year, since you want to study your webinar's impact on that month's MQL generation.

4. Start by clicking Add Report from any of your dashboards. Choose Create custom widget on the following page to get into the report builder.

5. Under Type, choose Contacts, since you're reporting on specific people in your database.

6. Under Date Property, since we're studying MQL generation, choose Became a Marketing Qualified Lead Date.

7. Leave the View option at All Contacts, for this example. Views are held in HubSpot CRM, and are used to collect records in a similar way to Lists in the Marketing Platform.

8. Under List, select the list you created above. This will ensure that only contacts that came through your webinar campaign will be included in the report.

Before moving on, note that you've now defined the set of contacts that will be included in your report - members of the webinar smart list (via step 8) that became an MQL (step 6) last month (step 3).

How to display the data (plotting criteria)?

1. Now it's time to configure how your data will be presented. From the first column dropdown, choose Became a Marketing Qualified Lead Date. Leave the second column as Count of Contacts.

2. Under the Visualization section, select the Area under the Style menu. 


One More Example

To help further illustrate the differences between filter and plotting criteria, let’s make one final tweak to the above example. Let's say that, rather than seeing your webinar's impact on MQL generation last month, you wanted to see how and when those MQL's closed into customers. After all, qualified leads are great, but they don't mean much if they don't close. How might you make that change in the Reporting Add-on?

Actually, the change is simple. We're not altering which records we want to display - we'd still like to show members of the webinar list who became MQL's in a certain month. Rather, we want to chart that same group of records with a different x-axis - the date that the contacts closed to customers.

This report will show MQL’s generated via the webinar in January turned into customers at a steady clip all the way through the end of May. This represents an example where the filtering date criteria and the plotting date criteria use different properties, yielding a different report altogether.


Is it possible to have more than one date range filter represented on the same dashboard?
Not currently.

If my view, list, and dashboard filtering criteria all have different date ranges, which one wins out?
The criteria used in views, lists, and the dashboard level are overlaid - in other words, they're connected with an "And" statement.