HubSpot Analytics & Google Analytics Don’t Match - Here’s Why!
Have you ever noticed that the data in Google Analytics doesn’t match the data in HubSpot? There could be many reasons for this, such as the way the two tools count sessions, bot filtering, cross-domain tracking, and many other things. Let’s drill-down into the factors causing this.
Why Are There Differences Between Google Analytics and HubSpot?
What IP Addresses Are Blocked?
Top Tip: be aware that when you exclude IP addresses in HubSpot, internal tests run from excluded addresses won't attach to HubSpot Analytics data. Don't ask how we learned this ;-)
Bot Filtering Differs Between HubSpot and Google Analytics
Both Google Analytics and HubSpot have bot filtering settings, but they may detect bots differently. Ultimately, this may result in different tracked traffic between the two tools. Find out how to turn on bot filtering in HubSpot and how to remove bots in Google Analytics.
The HubSpot and Google Analytics tracking codes should be installed on the same pages on your website. If this isn’t the case, HubSpot and Google Analytics won't track sessions for the same number of pages leading to differences.
As HubSpot already tracks HubSpot-hosted pages, it only needs to be installed on external (non-HubSpot) pages. On the other hand, Google Analytics tracking code needs to be installed on both HubSpot and non-HubSpot pages.
Check out how HubSpot’s tracking code can be installed on non-HubSpot pages. Additionally, learn how to install the Google Analytics tracking code on HubSpot pages or non-HubSpot pages.
Source of Sessions
Google Analytics records a session by the referral source/medium (Google/organic, Facebook/referral, etc.). This may result in some interactions being counted as a single session in one, but multiple sessions in the other.
Additionally, the two tools segment traffic differently. For example, HubSpot compiles traffic from Google Ads into “Paid Search”, while Google Analytics may compile traffic from Google Ads into either “Paid Search” or “Display”, ad dependent.
What Do Sessions Mean?
In Google Analytics, a session is tracked when a user visits your site from a referring source within a certain time frame. When a visitor reaches your site, their interactions are bucketed together and will only count as one session, until the source changes or the session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity or at midnight (no this article is not about Cinderella, but there are some similarities ;)).
When the timeout occurs can easily be customized in your GA account settings. On the flip side, HubSpot sessions contain a series of analytics activities taken by a visitor. These can be events, CTA clicks, page views etc. After 30 minutes of inactivity, a session will expire.
A new session will start when a user returns to your website following inactivity or when they return to your site from a different traffic source. When comparing the sessions recorded in the two tools, they are not expected to match exactly.
Cross - Domain Tracking
Cross-domain tracking is a way of aggregating analytics across multiple domains. Here’s an example scenario: a visitor lands on domainX.com and then visits domainY.com. Cross-domain tracking helps make sure that the interaction is considered as part of the same session. If Google Analytics and HubSpot don't have the same domains enabled for cross-domain tracking, the tools will not match.
In order to ensure that sessions and pageviews are not counted during testing and content creation in HubSpot, the tracking code is automatically prevented from firing on preview pages or content editors.
However, this may not be the case with Google Analytics tracking code. To prevent this, it’s recommended to filter the IP addresses of any internal users in Google Analytics.
When analyzing your results in the two tools, you shouldn’t compare specific numbers. Instead, it’s recommended to focus on the overall trends between the two systems. Here is a clear image from HubSpot depicting the session trends, even though they represent different numbers.
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