Keep Your Data Moving: Active vs. Static Lists in HubSpot

Marketing Technology

If you’re a HubSpot Marketing Hub user, you’re probably familiar with the lists tool. If you’re not, here’s a crash course. Lists may seem simple, but they’re a powerful tool in your marketing program. I’m going to highlight the differences between two kinds of lists in Hubspot: active and static lists

Let’s get metaphorical. If active lists are you after you’ve been training for a marathon, a static list is you right after the holidays and before your January gym membership kicks in. It’s a snapshot of you, but not you at your best. In HubSpot, a static list is a snapshot of your data at one point in time. Sure, it looked that way at one point, but since then it’s cleaned itself up, gotten more complex, and trimmed the fat- just like you following your resolutions.                 

HubSpot Active Lists

A ton of available filters, which will automatically update as contacts and companies in our database change to reflect meeting/or no longer meeting these parameters

Active lists can be set up using a sophisticated list of criteria that you can always tweak and change. This includes contact properties, company properties, and/or statements, has ever been/has never been statements, and more. Contacts and companies on your active list will be automatically removed if they no longer meet your requirements.

HubSpot Static Lists

No filters, just data as it was presented at one point in time

Static lists will always remain in the same state they were when originally uploaded, requiring manual work if you want to remove or add contacts. However, static lists aren’t a lost cause. You can create custom properties to tag the contacts or companies in your static lists, and then use those properties to pull them into an active list that can then be used for marketing emails and other segmentations.

The Benefits of Active Lists

Once you’ve made your active list, you can apply them to your HubSpot marketing in a variety of ways.

You can:

  • Send unique marketing emails based on each contact’s behavior and properties. Active lists can automatically update the list of subscribers to your newsletter, marketing email types, etc.
  • Group your contacts by any property you desire-and see how that list changes over time
  • Keep a list of your contacts with a constantly updating property such as HubSpot Score, and always have your most active leads rise to the top

For instance, let’s say you send out a monthly newsletter. When you first started your list, you used an excel spreadsheet of all your current subscribers. But that was 6 months ago, and you’ve had many people opt into receiving your newsletter since then. How can you make sure your list will constantly update with new subscribers, as well as remove anyone who has left their company?

It would look something like this:

You’ll have created a custom property for Newsletter Subscriber, and been sure to set up an automation to automatically mark anyone

who fills out your subscription form with this property. Then, you added it to an active list, making sure to exclude anyone who is no longer at their company.

Then, each month when you’re ready to send your newsletter, all you do is select your ‘Newsletter Subscribers’ list as the recipients, confident that the data is accurate and updated. 

In essence, the active vs. static list debate boils down to one question:

‘Do I want to be able to use my lists in a bunch of innovative ways, and have them clean themselves based on properties I choose, or do I want to just upload a chunk of excel data every time I want to communicate with my customers/prospects?’.

If you’re a marketer with a constantly evolving list of contacts and prospects, active lists will be the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with them effectively. A static list might be a good starting point, but the final destination should always be active lists that you can rely on being up to date and accurate.

If you have any questions at all about lists or any other aspect of HubSpot, Gate 39 Media is here to help. You can call us at 312.715.1475, or reach out me directly at