Sources | Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: November 8, 2018

Applies to:

Marketing Hub
Basic, Professional, Enterprise

Find answers and general information quickly about the sources and analytics in HubSpot.

What are the top-level sources?

  • Organic search: non-paid visits from recognized search engines, like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  • Referrals: visits from links clicked on other websites.
  • Social media: visits from links clicked on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Email marketing: visits from tracking links in your emails. These links are automatically added to the emails you send from HubSpot. They can also be manually added using tracking URLs if you're using an external email system.
  • Paid search: visits from paid search ads that are either automatically identified by HubSpot or set by your own tracking URLs.
  • Paid social: visits from paid social ads campaigns that are either automatically identified by HubSpot or set by your own tracking URLs.
  • Direct traffic: visits to your website with no referring source or tracking URL. Usually visitors who type your website directly into their browser.
  • Other campaigns: visits from campaigns that are being monitored with specific tracking URLs other than those used for Social Media, Email, or Paid Search.
  • Offline sources: this category does not apply to visits, but contacts and customers who originated outside of your website like those who are imported. In the sources report, Offline Sources is hidden by default.

Learn more about how HubSpot categorizes sessions, contacts, and customers in the sources report.

How does HubSpot decide to categorize a visit into the right source?

  1. Tracking URL: a parameter that can be added to the end of a link to your website. A tracking URL might look like this:
  2. Referrer: information passed along when someone clicks a link from another website to your website. The referrer is the original site that contained the link to your website.

Learn more about how HubSpot categorizes sessions, contacts, and customers in the sources report.

Can I change a contact's Original source?

A contact’s original source gives you insight into how a contact first interacted with your website. If you're importing your entire contact database, or have accidentally set an incorrect UTM parameter within a tracking URL, you may want to manually change your contact's Original source value.

The Original source property options (i.e., the top-level sources in HubSpot) are not editable, but an individual's Original source value can be manually changed to any of the nine options. You can edit this value on an individual contact record, in bulk on the contacts dashboard, or through a workflowIn addition, you can include Original source values when importing contacts into HubSpot.

At this time, only a contact's Original source value can be manually changed. When you change a contact's Original Source value, the contact's Original source drill-down 1 and Original source drill-down 2 property values will be cleared. These property values cannot be edited, so no new value can be added once the values are cleared. 

How does HubSpot define the metrics displayed in the sources report?

You can see a high-level view of how your website is performing across several key metrics in the sources report. Hover over a specific date on the graph to see more details about the data recorded across all channels.

  • Sessions: a series of analytics activities taken by a visitor to your website. Activities include page views, CTA clicks, events, etc. A session expires after 30 minutes of inactivity. Learn more about sessions, visitors, and page views.
  • Contact conversion rate: the number of contacts divided by the number of visits for the selected time period.
  • New contacts: the number of new contacts created in HubSpot divided by the number of new sessions for the selected time period.
  • Customer conversion rate: the number of customers divided by the number of sessions for the selected time period.
  • Customers: the number of customers who originally converted on your website during this time frame and are currently in the lifecycle stage of customer.
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
  • New visitor sessions: the number of new unique visitors on your website.
  • New session %: the percentage of sessions that are from new users.
  • Page views/sessions: the average number of page views per session in the given time range.
  • Avg. session length: the average duration of a visitor's website session.

Why is a customer not showing up in sources for the month they converted?

  • Customers are reported in the sources report and the marketing dashboard based on the month they first became a contact in HubSpot, not the month in which they were converted from a lead to a customer. For example, if a contact is added in March as a lead and closed as a customer in July, they will appear in the sources report and dashboard for March under the Customer category.
  • This process lets you analyze your customer conversions from a closed-loop marketing perspective--illustrating what traffic sources were most effective at ultimately creating customers during a specific time period--to better focus your marketing efforts.

How often does sources update?

The sources report data updates every 20 minutes.

Why was there a sudden spike in direct traffic in my sources report?

There are several possible causes of a sudden increase in direct traffic in your sources report:

  • Filtered IP addresses were removed or changed. If an internal IP address is removed or internal users are using an IP address that is not currently blocked, direct traffic visits may suddenly increase.
  • Source Tracking is disabled for HubSpot emails. To check this:
    • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
    • In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Marketing > Email.
    • Click the Tracking tab.
    • Under Source tracking, make sure the Add source tracking tags to all URLs radio button is selected. Otherwise, HubSpot will not add tracking parameters to links clicked in HubSpot emails and resulting visits will be bucketed as Direct Traffic.
  • Emails were sent from a non-HubSpot email service that does not include tracking on links clicked in the email. Without any source tracking parameters, visits from these emails are bucketed as Direct Traffic.

How do I make a link for my campaign so that it appears in the correct source?

Your HubSpot tracking URL builder can help you generate tracking URLs with specific parameters to ensure that visits are bucketed in the correct source. Learn more about creating a tracking URL.

How do I block my visits to my website from being counted by HubSpot?

To prevent your own visits from being counted towards your website analytics, we recommend excluding traffic from your IP address.
  • Search on for your ip address. To block a range of IP addresses, reach out to your IT team to find out the full list of addresses to block.
  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  • In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Reports > Tracking Code.
  • Click the Advanced Tracking tab.
  • Add any IP addresses to filter in the IP Addresses to Exclude field and then click Save.

Learn more about IP filtering in HubSpot.

Which domains can I filter by in the sources report?

In the sources report, you can filter your report by the primary domains listed in your domain manager. These are the only domains that will appear in the dropdown menu in the source report. A domain may be set as primary for blog posts, email, landing pages, or website pages depending on your product subscription.

How does filtering by a subdomain in the sources report work?

When you filter the sources report by subdomain, you'll only see contacts whose first session started on that subdomain. The total number of contacts in each of your subdomains will match the total number of contacts when you filter by All domains.

Why does a contact have an original source of Email Marketing when they have never been sent an email?

There are a few reasons why a contact who has never been sent a HubSpot email might have an original source of Email Marketing:

  • The contact was forwarded the email from another contact and clicked on a link in the email to first visit your site.
  • Before becoming a contact in your HubSpot contacts database, the contact received the email as a member of a distribution list and clicked on a link in the email to first visit your site. For example, if received one of your marketing emails from the distribution email and clicked a link in the email leading to your site, their Original Source Type property would be Email, even though the email was not sent directly to
  • The contact was sent the email as a different contact with a different email address, clicked on a link in the email to visit your site, and submitted a form using a second email address.
  • The contact clicked on a link from a non-HubSpot email that contained email tracking parameters to first visit your site.

Will deleting contacts remove them from the sources report?

Yes. If you delete a contact, they will be removed from the count of contacts or customers generated by a specific source in the sources report. Learn more about what happens when you delete contacts in HubSpot.

What happens when I change a contact's lifecycle stage back from Customer

By default, the sources report recognizes and calculates customers based on the lifecycle stage of the contacts in your database. If any contacts who were already counted as a customer change to a different lifecycle stage, the sources report calculations for the customer and customer conversion rate reports will update.

Can I view form submissions from filtered IP addresses in the sources report?

If you select the Include offline sources checkbox in the sources report, then you'll see form submissions submitted from a filtered IP address. When a contact submits a form through a filtered IP, your sources report updates and disregards the sessions. The contact has no sessions and is therefore bucketed under offline sources. The analytics tool doesn't receive data from the original source, but it knows the conversion ID and recognizes it's from a form, so it gets categorized as an offline source.

What does "Unknown keywords (SSL)" mean under Organic Search in the sources report?

In September 2013, Google made a change that encrypts the search results for most of its users. As a result, web analytics packages, such as HubSpot, are no longer able to identify which keywords are generating organic search traffic from websites.

Visits originating from most Google searches are now bucketed under Unknown keywords (SSL) within the sources report.

The same applies when visits are bucketed into the Paid Search (PPC) category. If the visit originates from Google's HTTPS address (such as from users logged into their Chrome browser or other Google apps), HubSpot is not provided the keyword and you will see Unknown keywords (SSL) listed in the PPC category.

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