What are HubSpot Marketing Contacts and how do they work?

Updates to HubSpot happen regularly, that’s one of the reasons we love the tool… it’s constantly being optimised for better customer experience.

Updates to HubSpot happen regularly, that’s one of the reasons we love the tool… it’s constantly being optimised for better customer experience. Now they’ve launched a change to the way they store contacts within the Marketing Hub.

This update is something that’s going to give HubSpot users more choice in how they manage the contacts in their portal, but it’s important to understand how it will affect contact tier limits and pricing. Read on to learn more about this change and what it means for you.

What are marketing contacts?
What has changed with this update?
Does this change affect Service Hub, Sales Hub, or the CMS?
How do I manage my contacts?
How does changing my Marketing Status work?
What does this mean for current Marketing Hub customers?

What are marketing contacts?

Marketing contacts are contacts with the Marketing Status property value set to Yes. In other words, these are the contacts which you’re actively marketing to via marketing tools like  email sending and ads audiences. They’ll also count towards your contact tier (which we’ll discuss more later).

When the property value is set to No, they’re non-marketing contacts. Non-marketing contacts cannot be used with those marketing tools and will not count towards your contact tier. This allows you to store up to 15 million non-marketing contacts in your portal at any time.

Here's an illustration to help you understand the hub segmentations a bit better. HubSpot Marketing Contacts

From 21 October 2020, all new Marketing Hub portals will follow the above rules to allow for marketing and non-marketing contacts. If you are a legacy customer still on the previous contact setup, we recommend reviewing your account and deciding if you want to switch over. If you currently have a discount on your account you may find it more affordable to remain on your current setup. Just keep in mind that once you decided to switch over, you can't switch back. 

What has changed with this update?

Previously, with a Marketing Hub portal, your contact limit included all contacts in your portal, regardless of whether you’re actively marketing to them or not. The change now allows for marketing and non-marketing contacts to be separated and has affected contact management and email sending limits according to the below table which explains the changes to each tier. 

Marketing hub with marketing contacts





Price (per month, before annual discount)




Included Contacts




Contact Bundles




CTU Starting Price




Email Sends

5x marketing contacts

10x marketing contacts

20x marketing contacts

The biggest changes include a slight increase in the monthly cost for Marketing Hub Professional and the included contacts for this cost. Another is the change to the number of contacts you can buy at a time, called contact bundles above. Previously you could purchase 1000 contacts at a time, but now, you need to purchase contacts in bundles of 5000 (Professional) and 10 000 (Enterprise) contacts at a time.

One final thing to take note of is a change to the timing around when you’ll be charged for contacts. Previously, you were able to exceed your contact tier and were only charged at your next billing cycle, this meant that managing your database size was not an urgent matter as going over your contact tier could be managed on a monthly or quarterly basis. The new plan doesn’t offer this leniency so database management and control of the number of contacts in your portal is vital in managing your billing.

Does this change affect Service Hub, Sales Hub, or the CMS?

Marketing contacts only affect portals with the Marketing Hub and does not affect portals with only CMS, Service, or Sales Hub(s). While you’re prevented from sending marketing emails to non-marketing contacts or using these contacts in your ads audiences or lookalike audiences, you’ll still be able to send service emails, sequences, sales emails, and have chat conversations with and report on activity performed by non-marketing contacts. This allows you to only pay for contacts you are actively marketing to.

And, if you have a Marketing Hub portal only, you can still send one-to-one sales email to non-marketing contacts without your contact tier being affected.

How do I manage my contacts?

To assist with contact tier management and database monitoring, notifications will be sent to the billing contact(s) in the HubSpot portal to advise them at the following points:

  • When the marketing contacts reach 75% of the contact threshold
  • When the marketing contacts reach 90% of the contact threshold
  • When the marketing contacts reach 98% of the contact threshold

Permissions are available to limit who has access to change contacts from marketing contacts to non-marketing contacts and vice-versa.

Take a look at this article for tips on how you can use workflows to maintain this more effectively in your database. 

How does changing Marketing Status work?

You can change a contact from marketing to non-marketing at any time but the change will only reflect on the 1st of every month.

You can change a contact from non-marketing to marketing at any time and start marketing to them immediately - just keep in mind that if you go over your marketing contact tier, you will be automatically moved to the next contact tier and billed retrospectively.

When creating contacts the below rules apply to whether a contact will be listed as marketing /non-marketing:

  • Contacts from an import - Automatically created as non-marketing contacts.
  • Contacts who complete a form - the form setup will have a property that chooses whether these contacts who complete this form will be marked as marketing/non-marketing contacts. Take a look at the article mentioned above for some ideas on how to manage this. 
  • Contacts created through Conversations/CRM - Automatically tagged as non-marketing contacts.
You can manage the status of contacts and switch between marketing and non-marketing using any of the following methods:
  • Manually update the contacts using the edit functionality
  • Individually update the property on a contact in the CRM
  • Use a workflow to update the status of contacts based on specific criteria.
    • The eligibility flow tool allows you to check and understand the number of contacts HubSpot recommends as non-marketing

What are HubSpot Marketing Contacts and how do they work?

I already have Marketing Hub, how will I be affected?

Current HubSpot Marketing Hub customers are under no obligation to change to this package BUT, if you’d like to make the change, we recommend that you wait for your next billing cycle to upgrade as the change will restart your current contract and no credits will be allocated.

The contact limit on HubSpot has always been a debatable topic, and we think this change is going to have many pros for future customers. But if you’re a current one, take some time to consider what you’re currently paying for HubSpot and any discounts you have applied to your portal before you determine whether this is a good fit for your business. We recommend this change for companies who only market to a segment of their database but store a large number of sales or service contacts in their database as well.

If you’re looking at getting HubSpot or you’re currently using Marketing Hub and would like an expert to help you use your portal to the fullest, please reach out and we’ll help you determine how this can be applied in your business.

Contact Spitfire Inbound

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