When you establish a strong social media presence and an increased Instagram traffic along with it, a question on how to track Instagram traffic becomes more than crucial. 

And since you’d want to have your analytics data coming from various sources stored in one place, today we’re going to review how to track Instagram traffic with Google Analytics. 

Let’s begin!

Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

Google Analytics Instagram tracking

First of all, let’s begin with the fact that Google Analytics Instagram tracking does not have a step-by-step road you can follow. As you probably have noticed by now, Google Analytics does not actually record Instagram-referred visits as a separate source, leaving them mixed with other unrecognized medium sources. 

Your Google Analytics dashboard does not record Instagram traffic as referral links. And – surprise, surprise, – Instagram analytics also do not show up in your Social Network activity panel. So what do we do if we want to track our Instagram traffic in Google Analytics?

Well, to begin with, we have to announce that this analytics problem has a solution, or even 2, to be exact. There are two different ways you can utilize to receive your Instagram methods, which we’ll describe right below.

Method 1: Unify Google Analytics referrals

Since humans are generally dedicated and endlessly stubborn, when they encounter an obstacle on the way to their goal they find a way around it. So here goes the first one of them – combining Google Analytics referrals. 

If you’ve tried to track Instagram visits in Google Analytics before, you’ll find that this analytics giant splits all of the Instagram traffic into instagram⁣.com and l⁣.instagram⁣.com, where the “L” a Link Shim your users go through before reaching your website.

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To a user, Link Shim appears as a window that warns him that he’s leaving the Social media website like Facebook or Instagram now and a lot of times have to press the “confirm” button to proceed further. 

A Link Shim appears on the Facebook-powered websites for 3 different reasons:

  • Security. 

While redirecting, Facebook is checking whether the website user is trying to access is prohibited, has forbidden content or trying to steal his personal information.

  • Privacy. 

If it is a malicious website a user is trying to access, a Link Shim is used to win time and rewrite user’s referral information and his privacy. 

  • Protection

While Facebook has it’s own list of websites it rates as spammy and checks against when the new redirect link is encountered, Link Shim is also used to preserve Facebook referral data esp., according to this source. 

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While this analytics tactic protects the user, it does harm the ones trying to interpret those user actions – us, dear friends. Instead of registering a visit from instagram⁣.com it registers it as l⁣.instagram⁣.com, and there’s more. 

If the user accesses the website using a mobile phone that’s yet another referral source – m⁣.instagram⁣.com, and lm⁣.instagram⁣.com – if it’s both from a mobile device and through Link Shir. Which totals into 4 different sources, when really it is just one.

So to unify your Google Analytics referrals, follow the steps described below:

  1. In the Admin section, select the view you want to apply the filter for. Click Filters in the column below.
  2. Click +Add Filter and give it a distinct name, e.g., All Instagram Traffic.
  3. Set Filter Type to Custom, and select the Search and Replace option.
  4. Configure the filter as follows:
    • Set Filter Field to Campaign Source.
    • Enter (.*\.|^)?[I|i]nstagram($|\.com) in the Search String field.
    • In the Replace String field, enter Instagram.
  5. Click Save to apply the filter.

Method 2: Utilize UTM links

If you ever ran any Social Media promotions, you already know what a UTM link is. UTM link is a short version for a much longer and scarier link type, called Urchin Tracking Module, which is aimed to track the data associated with the user clicking the said link. 

UTM links can be used in the Instagram traffic analytics in 3 cases:

  • Profile link.

If you place a UTM link in your profile on Instagram and don’t share it elsewhere, you can see the exact number of people who reached your website through your increased Instagram traffic.

  • Post link.

If you generate a link specific to a certain product, service, or a discount, for example, you can place it in the related to your product post and track how many users arrived at your website through it.

  • Campaign link.

When running an Instagram promotion, the greatest way to track how many people actually clicked on your ad is to insert a campaign-specific UTM. 

Sounds like a great tool for Google Analytics Instagram tracking, you’d say, but how do we do it? Well, our answer is – it’s quite simple, as all you need is an imagination and a Google UTM Builder, which are both free. 

Start creating your UTM link by visiting your Campaign URL Builder, where all you have to do is fill out the forms, indicated by Google and voila – you have your free campaign, post or profile Instagram tracking UTM link! 

And if you get confused, don’t get distressed, as right below the required fields are the attribute examples you can use to build yours.

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Conclusion

Although the single unified way for combing Google Analytics and Instagram traffic has yet not been found, by using the two methods described above you are already succeeding at tracking Instagram traffic with Google Analytics. You can choose one, or use both of the Google Analytics Instagram traffic options as they are absolutely free and require just some time and attention to detail. 

And along with the free tools, there are a number of paid Instagram Google Analytics tools on the market, which we can’t not mention. One of them is OwoxBi, which does exactly that – combines your Instagram data with your Google Analytics dashboard, serving as a pipeline between two marketing services. 

Choose the methods that suit your business needs best and never miss a single Instagram visit!