Understanding HubSpot’s Contact Create Attribution

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Davis Mastin
Davis Mastin



In the world of omni-channel digital marketing, prospective buyers can engage with your brand in a multitude of ways before ever becoming a contact in your CRM. This leads to one of the toughest challenges marketers face: determining how much credit each of your marketing efforts deserve for creating contacts.

Reporting Blog Image

Knowing when and where visitors convert into contacts (ergo where you receive their email address) is great for assessing what piques their interest enough to continue along their journey with you. If we stop there, marketing materials designed to build awareness or nurture prospects can be overlooked, devalued, and underinvested.

That’s why we have expanded our multi-touch attribution reporting platform. The new contact create attribution report allows you to see which marketing efforts deserve credit for creating contacts in your HubSpot CRM. This blog post will walk you through how to set up, understand, and use the contact create attribution report.

As with every report, data analysis should link to a specific goal. With contact create attribution, the goal is to identify what worked in the past with respect to creating new contacts and assigning credit for those contacts along your prospect's journey. Knowing what worked previously, allows you to optimize or re-create those marketing efforts to generate more contacts.


  • Marketing Hub Enterprise, Marketing Hub Professional, CMS Hub Enterprise, or CMS Hub Professional

Advice to Maximize Value From the Report

  • Host your website on HubSpot — we automatically categorize the types of pages your visitors view so you can see if blog, landing page, knowledge articles, listing pages, or general website pages are generating more contacts.
    • If you are hosting your website on another CMS like WordPress, you can still use our report. To ensure HubSpot can identify or categorize the different types of page views your visitors see, follow our tracking code instructions.
  • Connect your ad accounts to HubSpot to ensure these interactions receive credit.
  • Connect your social media accounts to HubSpot to ensure these interactions receive credit.
  • If your sales team generates contacts through email efforts, install HubSpot’s sales extension to track when these contacts are created and give your team credit.
  • Use HubSpot’s contact lifecycle stage property to mark when your leads reach important milestones.

A note on integrations: HubSpot’s contact create attribution reports can track contacts created through integrations. The report considers the creation of contacts in HubSpot through an integration as a singular interaction; the report does not parse out any additional information from the integration in attribution reports.

Functionality Walk-Through

You can find the contact create report under the custom reporting menu within Attribution Reports, located either through your dashboard or under Reports Home:

Attribution screen

You will be taken to the Explore tab, which will offer example reports of how to view the different ways your marketing efforts are creating contacts. You can click view to see the different dimensions:

Explore tab

For example, content type can tell you whether blog pages or social posts generated more contacts, while content title will tell you specifically whether blog post A or social post A generated more contacts. Later, we will get into what each of these sample reports, or "data dimensions," mean and when to use them.

The sample reports are just starting points. The real insights begin when you go into the Configure tab. Let's go step by step through using and understanding each filter and feature.

Chart type

Screenshot of the different chart types available

The reports will default to "Bar," but you can toggle to different Chart types depending on your visual preference. The Pie Chart and Donut Chart display what percentage of contacts were created by a particular marketing effort. In this example, you can quickly tell that landing pages accounted for nearly 44% of contacts created:

Pie chart depicting the percentage of contacts generated by specific marketing efforts

Date filters

date filters-1

Contact create date allows you to see all the contacts created within a selected time frame. The custom date range allows you to choose any range that doesn’t come out of the box.

Became a lifecycle stage allows you to select the time frame of when your contacts became a lifecycle stage. Click the dropdown to choose either Marketing Qualified Lead or Sales Qualified Lead. You can then choose a date range just as you can for contact create date. This is a user-favorite filter.

Brushing off the Inbound 101 textbook, a marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a contact who has engaged with the team's marketing efforts, but is not yet ready to receive a sales call. A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a contact who has indicated through their actions they are ready for a direct sales follow-up.



Contacts allows you to choose an individual contact or multiple contacts. You can then see all of the interactions, content types, etc. they engaged with before becoming a contact. (If you change the data dimension to "Contact," you will see the names of the contacts on the x-axis.)

Lifecycle stages allows you to filter contacts based on their current lifecycle stage. This is powerful when used in conjunction with the Became a lifecycle stage date filter.

For example, let’s say part of your responsibility each quarter is to nurture new contacts to becoming SQLs. You know that you are generating a lot of MQLs, but many of them are getting stuck and not advancing toward SQL. To analyze why this is happening, try creating a set of reports for comparison.

For the first report, set your Contact create date filter to Last quarter. Then set your Became a lifecycle stage date filter to Last quarter. Finally, set Lifecycle stage to Marketing Qualified Lead. Save this report to a dashboard — perhaps an aptly titled, “Attribution Dashboard.”

Next, create another Contact Create attribution report with the same settings, only this time, you will set the Lifecycle stage to Sales Qualified Lead. Save this report to the same dashboard. Now, you can easily compare the different types of content that generated these two cohorts. If you notice a difference between the two, you can then identify which assets you should invest more into. You can also identify ways to adapt your less successful content to be more like the content that is working for contacts who went on to become Sales Qualified Leads.

Buyer roles is a great filter for those implementing ABM marketing tactics. It takes the same principles of lifecycle stage filtering but instead looks at which journeys specific buyer roles took toward becoming a contact in your CRM.

Data dimensions

This is where the magic happens. Data dimensions allow you to splice your attribution reports in different ways to answer different questions.

Interaction type tells you the type of interactions prospects are taking when engaging with your content before becoming a contact. This is great for seeing how the prospects that eventually turn into contacts engage with your brand. Interactions — and all the accompanying data dimensions they entail — are how HubSpot tracks and assigns credits to prospects. This is a key dimension for understanding how your prospects progress toward becoming contacts.

Content type tells you the type of content your prospects are engaging with before becoming a contact. This is great for determining what part of your brand prospects who turn into contacts engage with. If you’re finding that too many leads are coming from integrations or sales emails (often cold or outbound leads) and your company is broadly disappointed with the size of your sales pipeline, this may indicate you need to invest more in blogging, social media, and paid advertising.

Content title tells you the name of the content your prospects are engaging with before becoming a contact. This is great for identifying which specific elements of your marketing materials/content are more engaging than others. If particular content you were expecting to create leads is not showing up in the report, determine what is different between it and other high-performing content titles.

Interaction sources tell you where these interactions are coming from before prospects become a contact.

Campaign tells you the name of the campaign a prospect engaged with before becoming a contact. If you’re running multiple campaigns to target different audiences, this is great for identifying if certain campaigns are better at creating new contacts than others and can help you identify if a certain buyer persona is more intrigued by your brand.

Referrer tells you the URL where your prospects’ interaction session started. For example, if you see bigsearchengine.com or yourwebsite.com, you can deduce that your prospect came from a Google search or went directly to your website, respectively. Referrer URL is great for not only seeing engagement across your own website, but seeing how many prospects are coming from specific search engines, social media sites, and referral sites, which is particularly useful data for SEO marketing.

Contact shows you the name of the contacts who converted during that time period. While you can access the specific interactions every contact took before they became a contact, when you click into the drill-down pop-up from the Contact view, you will see a detailed table of the individual interactions, including when they occurred, the type of interaction, the name of the content they interacted with, and whether the interaction was the first, middle, or last/lead created interaction:

Screenshot of Contact view showing a detailed table of interactions (when, type, name, first/middle/last)

Customizing your report to get a deeper understanding

While a high-level overview of how all your marketing efforts are generating new contacts is great, being able to examine your data further can unlock other important insights.

Perhaps you want to remove a particular content type or content title that vastly outperforms your other marketing assets so you can see other marketing efforts that can be improved. Or perhaps you only want to examine the content types that pertain to your specific responsibilities. There are a few ways to go about this in HubSpot’s contact create attribution report.

Removing a data set from your chart

Depending on the data dimension you selected, it’s not uncommon to have one data type dwarf the report. It can make the report unreadable or unactionable.

On the left hand side of the table, you can "uncheck" the data you don’t want to appear in the report. In the example below, landing page and integration are now hidden from the chart. When you save the report to a dashboard, these settings will be applied to the report.


Adding other data dimensions

Being able to layer additional data dimensions is a key feature to attribution reporting:data dimensions

Selecting a dimension from the Choose a dimension drop-down allows you deeper insight into the first dimension. This second layer becomes a data cut in the graph view as well as a dropdown option in the table view, allowing you full insight into how your data dimensions relate to one another, as you’ll see in the examples below.

A few of favorites:

Content title by interaction source is great for seeing where interactions with specific content are coming from. As you can see in this example, this top performing landing page is gaining most of its interactions come through paid ads and social:

Screenshot of Content Titles ranked by performance

Content title by content type is a great view for double-checking what type of content you’re looking at. You may not be familiar with every content title — this is a quick way to confirm if something is an integration, a social click, or a long forgotten blog post that is still generating new contacts:

Content title example

Campaign by content type shows you which types of marketing assets are most effective at creating contacts within a specific campaign:

Campaign by content type example

Campaign by interaction source also shows you which sources are the most effective at driving campaign engagement that netted new contacts:

Campaign by interaction example

Filtering down to specific content types

What if you want to dig deeper into one specific category? For example, which blog posts are generating more contacts? Which social media posts are generating more contacts?

The “Content types” filter allows you to narrow to a single category or multiple categories of content types and save this as a report to your dashboard. This filter is great for analyzing and assessing what is working within a specific marketing channel:

Screenshot of content type filter

This powerful filter is also great if you — like many marketers — are in charge of multiple parts of your marketing operations, want to clearly show what is working, and need to delineate what type of marketing asset it was. For example, by filtering to blog post, landing page, and website page, you can clearly see which parts of your website generate the most contacts:

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 11.49.46 AM

Many bootstrap marketers will have someone in charge of posting to social media and paid social/search. Filtering to just show ads and social posts can help you bring all of your efforts across these channels into one view:

ads and social

Attribution Models

Choose one or more attribution models to tell HubSpot how to distribute credits across the different interactions of a contact's conversion path. Keep in mind you can select more than one model as each model and their associated credits will be displayed separately in the chart.
Currently, you can choose from the following models. 
  • ​First interaction​: Attributes 100% of the contact credits to the contact's first interaction in the conversion path.
  • Last interaction​: Attributes 100% of the contact credits to the contact's last interaction in the conversion path.
  • Linear​: Attributes the contact credits equally to each interaction in the conversion path. 
  • U-shaped​: Attributes 40% of the contact credits to the first interaction and lead conversion interactions each. Assigns the remaining 20% of the contact credits to all other interactions equally.
  • Time Decay: Attributes more credit to contact interactions that happened closer in time to the conversion. Credit is distributed using a 7-day half-life. 
    • This is based on the industry standard formula: y= 2^ (-x/7)​, where Y is the time-decayed value of an isolated interaction, while x is the number of days before the conversion occurred.
    • In other words, if an interaction 8 days before a conversion gets half as much credit as an ad interaction 1 day before a conversion.

What New Insight Will You Learn? 

Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.

Join a discussion in the HubSpot Community.

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