How to Track Instagram Traffic with Google Analytics

Laura Caveney
21st July 2021

We all know Instagram is the perfect platform for reaching potential customers. But tracking its performance isn’t easy. Keep reading to find out how to track Instagram traffic using Google Analytics.

Instagram is the perfect tool for top of the funnel marketing. It’s a great way to reach current and potential customers, engage with them directly, and drive them from your feed to your website.

Related: Complete guide to customer journey stages

This can massively increase your website traffic stats and even help you generate more leads and sales.

And remember, you don’t need 10,000 followers to add links to your stories anymore.

tracking instagram traffic in google analytics - ruler analytics instagram screenshot

While there’s no doubt that Instagram is a beneficial tool to have in your marketing arsenal, proving that your Instagram traffic is affecting your overall performance is tricky.

In this blog, we’ll explore:

So, let’s get stuck in!

How to track traffic from your Instagram posts

There are a few sources of traffic on Instagram. We’ll walk you through them to understand how to track traffic across each. While you might not be using your Instagram to drive website traffic, it’s still worth understanding its impact on your bottom line.

Track clicks to your link in bio

If you only use the link in your bio to drive traffic, then you can have a quick glance at how many people are clicking onto your site directly on Instagram.

Firstly, remember that you’ll need a business account to be able to view this data. If you have a business account already, then head to your insights section on your profile.

insights analytics instagram

From there, select ‘see more’ under ‘Accounts Reached’ to view all engagements with your profile and your content.

In this section, you will find, ‘Website Taps’ where you can see how many people have clicked on the link in your bio.

website taps - instagram insights

Track clicks from your Instagram stories

Thanks to a change to Instagram, you’ll have unlocked the ability to share links in your stories no matter how many followers you have.

But what about the impact on traffic from this source? You can view the individual click performance on your stories within the insights section on Instagram.

Head to insights again. This time, scroll down to where your stories are. Click through and then toggle the metric on the top left to link clicks.

Then, you’ll be able to see how many clicks each story has driven. Of course, if you don’t have any links then it’ll say zero.

instagram stories website link clicks

But there are complications when it comes to getting this data in Google Analytics. And while you could report on traffic as we’ve shown above, it’s going to take a long time and lack insight.

And don’t forget, there are often discrepancies between what you see in Instagram and what comes through into Google Analytics.

Related: Limitations of Google Analytics and how to overcome them

Tracking your Instagram ads

Instagram is part of the Facebook family. And Facebook has seen extreme changes to its tracking and attribution following the iOS 14.5 update.

💡 Pro Tip
Want to make sure you can track all of your clicks and sales influenced by Instagram? Read our guide to how the iOS update can be minimised here.

Many marketers are struggling to accurately attribute leads and sales back to Facebook and Instagram.

There are plenty of discrepancies between Facebook and Google Analytics, and these tend to carry over to Instagram too.

But tracking the impact of your social ads doesn’t need to be hard work.

There are a number of fixes you can try to reduce the discrepancies you’re seeing. You can also implement a marketing attribution tool as this uses first-party cookies as opposed to the third-party cookies created in Instagram.

Essentially, you can completely bypass any iOS issues when it comes to ad tracking.

👉 Book a demo of Ruler Analytics, a leading marketing attribution tool, to solve your Instagram ad tracking problems.

Using Google Analytics to track Instagram traffic

While Instagram goes part way to give you your traffic data, it’s only half of the story. So you can see clicks, but what does that actually mean?

These users could click and click right off. Or, they could convert straight away into a sale. How are you working that out?

Ordinarily, Google Analytics would be able to support you with website tracking. But sometimes, there are difficulties accurately tracking Instagram traffic in Google Analytics.

Why doesn’t Instagram traffic show up in Google Analytics?

Instagram traffic doesn’t show up in Google Analytics because when you open a link from the mobile application, Instagram opens the link directly on your mobile browser. This results in the traffic being categorised into the ‘direct’ category of your Google Analytics dashboard.

Related: What is direct traffic in Google Analytics

While you might see some traffic being attributed to your Instagram account, it won’t be accurate.

So, how can you track Instagram traffic to better understand the platform’s impact on your bottom line?

Tracking your Instagram traffic with UTM tracking

The most reliable way to track your Instagram traffic is to add UTM tags. This doesn’t just work for Instagram, it works for any external source that you use to drive visitors to your website.

UTM tagging allows you to set details against a URL, such as the source e.g. social, and the campaign. This allows you to segment your data in Google Analytics and view specific link clicks for one URL.

Related: How to accurately track link clicks in Google Analytics

With the UTM tagging, you can make sure that Google Analytics logs traffic exactly as you want it to and that it’s accurate 100% of the time.

Here’s a quick guide on how to set up a tracked link using Google’s URL builder.

First, head to Google’s URL builder.

From there, add your URL into the box called ‘Website URL’. For campaign source, you’ll want to highlight the referrer. For example, is it coming from Facebook, Google, or another particular website?

UTM tagging instagram traffic google analytics

Then, select your medium. This refers to how the user arrived at your link. For example, organic, social, paid etc.

Next, add in your campaign name. This will allow you to group web performance based on a particular campaign name.

You then have campaign terms and content to break down differences between your links further. For example, if you were using this link on a paid post, you might use terms and content to differentiate from an A/B test.

And there you have it, your complete unique URL.

final URL UTM tagging google analytics instagram

Then, just copy and paste that into your post or bio, and you’ll be able to view it directly in Google Analytics.

✏️ Note

You might benefit from extra manipulation of your link, particularly if you’re using it in your bio. Bitly is a great option to shorten and customise your link while retaining your UTM tags. You can also use platforms like Later and Linkree to get creative with your bio link.

Now you’re tracking your links, but what’s next?

Tracking your leads from Instagram with marketing attribution

Ok, so now you can accurately track your Instagram traffic in Google Analytics. And, if you have an eCommerce site, you’ll be able to see its impact on revenue too.

But what about those businesses that drive leads for a sales team? There are thousands of B2B businesses that are dominating their niche on Instagram.

So how can they prove that channels like Instagram are having an impact on lead and revenue generation?

Marketing attribution, of course.

💡 Pro Tip
Not sure what marketing attribution is or how it works? We like to think of ourselves as experts, so we’re here to help.

Read our full guide to marketing attribution.

Marketing attribution tools like Ruler Analytics allow you to connect your website, to your customer database, and to your marketing tools.

Let’s break it down.

You’re tracking your links now on Instagram, which is great.

But what if someone swipes up from your Instagram story, then calls your company and becomes a lead, or even a sale?

Track Instagram story example customer journey

While Instagram is generally thought to be a TOFU channel, it does support driving revenue.

If you’re not completely eCommerce, or tend to see long sales cycles, then tracking the revenue impact of your Instagram is going to be tricky.

This is where Ruler comes in.

track sales leads - closed loop framework - www.ruleranaytics.com

Once your tracking links are set up, Ruler can monitor each and every visitor to your website and collect data on their session data and referrals.

When that user becomes a lead, Ruler will pass all of the data held on that user over to your CRM, or whatever you’re using to monitor leads and customers.

Ruler will continue to work in the background, monitoring that user and their activity.

When that user then closes into a sale, Ruler will scrape the revenue data assigned to it and fire it back into your marketing dashboards.

That means, you’ll be able to look in Google Analytics and see a direct revenue number against your Instagram and Stories channels. And even better, you’ll be able to assign revenue by campaign too.

So for any campaign terms you use, you’ll be able to view revenue against them directly in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Revenue screenshot

What better way to highlight the impact of your Instagram?

Start tracking Instagram traffic more effectively

And there you have it. How to track every URL used on your Instagram. Now, you’ll be able to track Instagram traffic directly in GA and understand how the platform is working to drive or influence sales.

Remember, the best way to connect your marketing touchpoints is to effectively track users through your customer journey. You can do that best by integrating a marketing attribution tool.

Integrate Ruler Analytics into your marketing stack. Book a demo of Ruler to see it in action and how it can support you to connect the dots between your sales and your marketing.

book demo - customer journeys - www.ruleranalytics.com
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