Cookie Consent: Separate the Analytical role of the HubSpot Cookie from the Tracking role
By default, in part, HubSpot determines the Original Source of a contact based on the First Page Seen property value. The First Page Seen value can only be recorded once a visitor has accepted cookies. More specifically, the First Page Seen property is populated when the HubSpot script is loaded.
Consider the following scenario
- A visitor lands on page X and the URL contains UTM parameters for tracking purposes that correspond to a Paid Search campaign
- The HubSpot script is loaded as part of the normal page load
- Once the page has loaded, the visitor accepts the cookie consent notice (the HubSpot script is *not* reloaded)
- The visitor navigates to page Y on the same website
- The visitor populates a form on page Y to access an asset
In the above scenario, page Y would be recorded as the First Page Seen, which has the knock-on effect of defining the Original Source as Direct Traffic instead of the correct identification as Paid Search.
The information available on HubSpot cookies states that the __hs_do_not_track cookie "still allows anonymized information to be sent to HubSpot". However, if the HubSpot script is loaded and the Do Not Track cookie is set then the Original Source is still not correctly assigned in the above scenario.
In the case where UTM parameters are present, the Original Source is calculated from the First Page View property.
If the HubSpot script is loaded, the First Page View property should be sent to HubSpot in either case as it represents valuable "anonymized information" prior to cookie consent being given.
Without such an approach, there is diminished value in any analytical feature of the HubSpot platform as the data cannot be relied on as being accurate. Furthermore, the Original Source property is one that is often synchronised to contact records within CRM systems from which ROI reports are determined. Therefore, there is a significant business risk associated with this problem if not resolved as such reports are used to determine future budgets and investment.