Discover more from 42 Slash
Does Data Ever Lie?
Torture it long enough & it will tell you exactly what you want?
Ever wondered what other SaaS companies are doing in LinkedIn and Facebook Ads? We put together an Ad list of over 450 SaaS companies so you stop guessing. Check it out for free on the button below.
Data reflects your efforts. The more you understand it accurately, the better you can improve your processes. That is, of course, when you genuinely care about understanding what’s going on without pushing a particular agenda.
Here, you will find an example of some ideas and methods we use when analyzing data to inform performance marketing strategies. As you will see, beyond shaping data to fit a narrative, we do our best to be impartial and help organizations improve their decision-making capabilities.
Let us know if you find them valuable in the comments.
We took a data set of around 500 records that had:
Original Source: How did the prospect first land on the website
Latest Source: What was the source before they converted (i.e., filled out some form to become a known contact)
How Did You Hear About Us (HDY): volunteered data that the prospect provides when they fill out a form (like requesting a demo)
The analysis below covers some high-level insights we found in the data.
Note: This is not an extensive data set (one company) and it must not be extrapolated as a playbook.
First, here’s the distribution of the data:
The first observation is that Google Search is the biggest driver in both cases. For prospects who said, ‘We heard about you via Google Search (42%) - Hubspot matches by saying that most people came in via Organic Search ( 35% to be exact). The HDY field doesn’t differentiate b/w Paid Search & Organic Search, so we can assume that 15% of Paid Search traffic is included in the Search HDY bucket.
Around 20% of folks mentioned website/ blog - this is a bit misleading since it doesn't answer the Q ‘How did you land on our website blog?’ but we can assume a high % of these might be from Search (paid or organic) because of the high % in Organic / Paid Search Original Source data.
What is interesting is the high % of direct traffic. At the surface, it does not correlate with any other channel. What we would expect is a high % of users mentioning Podcast or Social as under HD which would then correlate with a high % of direct traffic. But only 4% of HD mentions LinkedIn that correlates to Direct Traffic under Original Source. Surprisingly only 0.9% of Podcast mentions correlate - our initial working assumption was that Podcast might be leading to Direct Traffic (heard a podcast - went to the website) but that is not the case according to the data. Its likely Direct Traffic is a mix of search + social + paid + long tail of other sources where the referral data was not retained or sessions expired.
For everyone who mentioned trade show as the HD source, the Offline Sources lines up. So in this case Hubspot (in some cases more) was able to track Trade Shows properly under Offline Sources. Curious how to properly attribute / assign source to Offline Sources? Check out our Hubspot Weekly series for more on that.
There’s a lot of noise in B2B Marketing about podcasts but only 3% of folks came in via “podcast’ as a HDY source which seems low for what might be a high cost / effort channel to produce. We definitely don’t recommend NOT doing podcasts but it might not be as effective as we’re led to believe.
As we already mentioned, this is a single company limited data set, so it’s critical you analyze your particular GTM source data to reach such conclusions (feel free to reply to this email if you need a hand).
What is missing from Original Source is Paid Social - on HDY source it shows as FB / LinkedIn - but its unclear if its Paid or Organic. We will make a reasonable assumption that it is in fact Paid Social & the ad platforms show it as View Through Conversion vs a Click Through one (i.e. the user saw the ad & converted within a 30 day window).
To visualize the relationship b/w Original Source & HD Source we plotted this correlation visual:
The darker the shade of the box - the higher the #s
When comparing Original Source to Latest Source:
Almost 40% of prospects converted via direct traffic. This might imply they auto complete the website on the browser or return to after the session / cookie expires.
Email Marketing & Organic are close seconds. For Organic search we can reasonably assume its branded organic search (Google company name) and email might be because they converted via an email marketing campaign.
What does this all mean?
While its hard to draw absolute conclusions from a small data set there’s some learnings here:
HDY Source can help but you probably are already capturing the data via Referral sources.
In this case because Search (Paid & Organic) contributes to the majority of conversions - having HDY Source on form might actually be just an extra step to complete - at worse it doesn’t add anything new.
Podcasts only drove 1% of conversions & our initial assumption that podcast might drive a lot of direct traffic did not hold true.
Capturing First Touch (Original Source) & Last Touch (Latest Source) is probably sufficient for B2B businesses. The long tail of Reddit / Podcasts, etc., likely does not drive meaningful volume to warrant a deeper analysis. One caveat here - as you scale and go into OOH & Linear TV or other non digital channels - its best to employ lift tests, geo tests and other measurement models to determine their success.
RevenueHero, our sponsor, keeps 42/ free for you. They help GTM teams increase their pipeline by qualifying and showing the right sales rep’s calendar immediately after a form submit. Companies like Sprinto, Cast, FusionAuth, Ethyca, and many more achieve their pipeline goals with their product.
Thank you for reading.
You’re in good company, folks from these companies read 42/