[credit: Headline photo from https://unsplash.com/@georgiadelotz]
If you rely on Instagram for referral traffic and look at your Google Analytics account, you may not see a lot of Instagram referral traffic because of the way the Instagram app redirects traffic. To see what’s going on, first go to your Google Analytics account and look for some Instagram traffic.
Follow the path here:
Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium
Do you see the same thing as above? Notice how ‘(direct) / (none)` is the number one result in the image above? If your Instagram traffic looks to be lower than you expect, and you have a lot of direct traffic, there’s a good chance your Instagram traffic is not being categorized properly.
What can I do to make Google Analytics happy?
First, you should update your link so that it contains all the information Google Analytics likes. Go to their Campaign builder tool here: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
Then enter the basic information in the form field as shown above.
For example, I would have the following:
- URL = midstride.com
- Source = instagram
- medium = web
- name = oct_2020_flash_sale
This generates a long URL like
It’s not the prettiest link but this does provide Google with what it needs to properly record everything.
How can my link on Instagram be prettier?
Because social platforms like Instagram only allow you to embed a single link in your profile, a long ugly URL is not an ideal solution. You could use a link shortener like https://bitly.com/ to keep it short and avoid showing those extra URL parameters.
Or you can instead create a mini landing page that has all your links on a single page with a single link. For example, https://linktr.ee/ is a product for this single purpose, but if you’re on WordPress you can use https://wordpress.org/plugins/bio-links/ or other similar plugins to achieve the same thing. What you want to achieve is a page that will look like it’s from Instagram, while giving you the ability to share more than one link.
Just remember, that if you do create a link tree landing page you should add in the UTM parameters to the links to improve your analytics.