Let’s leave the nice talk behind and cut straight to the aching point. Instagram is on everyone’s lips. There’s no doubt about its rising popularity. Brands and businesses are lining up to vamp up their profiles and implement creative campaigns on the platform. Anyone who’s anyone is on Instagram, as the platform is so popular that it is impossible to ignore. Sill, while everybody knows that Instagram is of the utmost importance, not many go through the trouble of proving it. How about you? Are you using Google Analytics for Instagram? Or are you basing all your efforts on intuition?

If so, the question becomes: is the Instagram funnel a hot air balloon or does it have real substance? Sure, you might have thousands or hundreds of thousands (millions? good for you) of followers. But is the traffic resulting from Instagram quality or just quantity? Unluckily, it’s not simple to find out. But it’s not impossible either! So let’s see how you can do it!


How Google Analytics and Instagram worked back in the day

Up until not long ago, traffic derived from Instagram didn’t show up in the social section of Google Analytics. Instead, it appeared all bundled up in the “direct traffic” category. How misleading was that? Very. The reason for this was not clear to anyone, but it was sure a nuisance for everyone.

So, back in the day, Instagramers used various tricks to get their content in the “social category”. And while many of those tactics are unnecessarily complicated today, there’s still one gimmick that can be useful from a certain point of view. We’re talking about using a link that’s not so scary to click. Yep, a short link.

When it comes to your Instagram bio, links are going to be changing often. Well, you should change them often to fit your current objectives. We’ve already talked about how to craft a converting Instagram bio, remember? Okay, that means that maybe, just maybe, from time to time, your links are going to be a bit long and scary. Without any reason. So, in those cases, we suggest you turn to an URL shortening service. Bitly is a very popular one, it’s free to get started and it’s also easy to integrate with other marketing tools. Another one is Clicky. And there are a dozen others which can do the job just fine. Most of these tools also have their own analytics, so that’s a plus.

Whether you opt for the easy option of straightening the link with just the click of a button…

…or you choose to create an account, things will be easy.

And you’ll be able to check out the data and statistics that come from that link by accessing Acquisition>Campaigns>All Campaigns.


How to use Google Analytics for Instagram today

If you’re not afraid of long links, there’s another way to go. The new way. The way.

Nowadays, tracking Instagram referral is as straightforward as it gets. You simply need to go to Acquisition>Social or Traffic Sources>Social. Here you’ll find a bunch of juicy statistics that will tell you whether or not Instagram is delivering the right traffic to your website.

The Overview dashboard in Acquisition>Social will let you in the exact number of traffic that comes from Instagram. What’s more, you measure the values of each interaction according to your goal. Be it conversions or e-commerce transactions. From here, you’ll also have the chance to recognize user traffic patterns on your website. That means that you’ll know how your followers behave when interacting with your product and have a clear view of when your funnel gets stuck.

Looking at the Instagram insights from Google Analytics will also have to be done in comparison with the other social networks you’re using. By checking out the data, you’ll have a better idea of how to split your efforts. You might have a faint idea of where most of your converted users come from, but are you certain? This is your way of finding out!

Make sure to also check the audience reports to determine behavior of followers in regard to your website. You’ll also want to know what exact pages your followers are opening and where they spend most of their time (and the least of time).

We recommend you take each section of Google Analytics one by one and extract the Instagram and social media statistics that can help you back up your campaigns or improve your efforts.


What learnings you can draw from Google Analytics

By carefully checking all the statistics and comparisons in the Google Analytics social category you’ll be able to draw some powerful conclusions. Such as:

  • Are your followers converting to customers? How many?
  • How frequently do followers come to your website?
  • What are your followers searching for on your website?
  • How valuable is each interaction that comes from Instagram?
  • How well is Instagram performing in comparison to other social media platforms you’re activating on?
  • What are your followers traffic patterns on your website?
  • How are your landing pages performing in connection to Instagram?

All the answers to all these questions will give you a clear picture about the real value of your marketing on Instagram. You’ll be able to see if your creative campaigns are as creative as you thought or tweak them if you find out they’re missing the mark.



A well-prepared social media manager is going to make the most out of every insight they can get their hands on. From Instagram Insights to more powerful analytics such as Ink361 and the almighty Google Analytics. These will help you better understand your users and if your campaigns are failing or succeeding. We’re eager to hear how you’ve experimented with Google Analytics for your Instagram efforts and what conclusions you ended up with. So, over and out and now to you!

Ilona Iftode

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Hey Ilona,

    Absolutely amazing read. Complete and very informative.

    Even if I use Google Analytics every day, I didn’t know how to use it for social media. Thank you very much for sharing this with us.


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