How To: Get Instagram Traffic to Show Up in Google Analytics

Instagram has become a social force to recon with. From a marketing perspective, however, it can be extremely challenging to prove direct effectiveness of your Instagram traffic.

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How To: Get Instagram Traffic to Show Up in Google Analytics

There’s no question Instagram has become a social force to recon with. The platform serves well to the attention deficient minds of an increasingly wide demographic.

(Does your visual content stand out? Give your feed a facelift with these 12 free Instagram templates).

From a branding perspective, it’s impossible to ignore the platform. From a marketing perspective, however, it can be extremely challenging to prove direct effectiveness of your Instagram traffic. It’s hard enough working with only one active link to your entire profile. When traffic driven by this one link doesn’t show up in your Google Analytics data, a solution needs to be implemented.

instagram bio link traffic

Instagram is a Top of Funnel medium. Great for keeping your brand relative between sales cycles. With the right following, your IG content can surely turn heads and get traffic pointed in the right direction. What we’re looking for, though, is how to quantify the traffic to prove results. The interesting thing about Instagram links is that they somehow get lost in your analytics dashboard. Instagram links don’t show up as referral links. Nor do they show up in your Social Network activity. So what gives?

Pro Tip: Don’t forget Instagram is a TOF channel. Learn how you can grow your brand through social media by following 4 basic principles.

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

We won’t get too deep into the why. The solution is more important for moving forward and what we’re focused on for this post. 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. After receiving permission, of course. This results in the link and all traffic ending up in the ‘direct’ category of your analytics profile. Whether you’re new or seasoned with Google Analytics, you want to reduce the amount of ‘direct’ traffic you see in your analytics dashboard. It’s like a blindfold.

expose your instagram traffic

To track your Instagram traffic a bit better you’ve got a few options to work with. Some go for the Google Campaign URL builder… adding UTM parameters is a great option. Doing so will allow you to see your Instagram traffic within your Analytics dashboard.

Simply adding UTM parameters to your Instagram link isn’t always the best, or most complete, option though. The downside to using the Google URL builder alone for your Instagram links is that you’ll be left with a super duper long URL:

In this URL the ‘?’ and everything behind it are custom parameters that track link clicks to the ‘campaign’ section of your analytics profile. They’re great for email campaigns, banner ad links, and even links posted to other social media platforms. They just look a bit bloated in your IG profile.

Using the Google URL builder will be complimentary to actionably digesting this post. Save that link if you’re not familiar already.

For our Instagram Traffic, let’s go for a link that isn’t quite so scary to click.

For your Instagram bio link, let’s go for something a bit more trim. We want to retain those UTM parameters so we see the analytics clearly. Let’s lose as many of those unneeded characters as possible, though. To accomplish this we’ll use a URL shortening service. There are a bunch of URL shortening services to choose from. Our go-to is generally Bitly due to its integrations with many other commonly used digital marketing tools.

Bitly accounts are free to get started. They offer up some pro services which are great if you’re planning to shorten URLs frequently. Even if you don’t plan to go pro with the service, it’s a solid idea to sign-up for an account. Doing so allows you to save your shortened links, make some customizations to them and view legacy analytics for the lifetime of the link.

Here’s the quickest way to shorten your long Instagram link:

Link shortening for Instagram
  1. Head over to
  2. In the top right corner, paste your long URL with the UTM parameters into the box that says “Paste a link to shorten it”
  3. Click “Shorten”
  4. Boom – you’re done. Copy/Paste that link into your Instagram profile and you’re set

Here’s a better way to go about it. Sign-up for an account if you don’t have one already or sign in if you do. Once you’re logged into your account:

Shorten Your Instagram Links
  1. Look for the box in the top left that says “Paste a long URL here to shorten”
  2. Paste in your long URL with the UTM parameters added
  3. Boom – you’re done. Copy/Paste that link into your Instagram profile and you’re set

With either option, you’ll now be seeing your Instagram traffic in your Google Analytics data. What you see will be dependent on the values entered in the URL builder tool. To get to them, though, just head over to your Google Analytics profile, click ‘Acquisition’ in the left menu, then ‘Campaigns’ and ‘All Campaigns’ to get an accurate gauge on how much traffic your Instagram profile is delivering.

Pro-Tip: customize your link with a custom domain.

social analytics dashboard

Bitly offers up their own analytics on links you shorten through them. An added value. Like we do, though, you’ll likely do all your web analytics and reporting from the main GA admin. Except now you’ll have some deeper insight into that seemingly lost channel.

If you’re running an e-Commerce site or have custom conversion goals setup, you’ll even be able to see what effect your Instagram link is having on your bottom line. Pretty rad, right?

As always, shout with any questions in the comments below. Magnetic Creative is always excited to help!


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