This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will receive a small share of any sales generated through these links

Google Analytics // Link Tracking

Okay, things are about to get a bit more complicated around here. So let’s take things slower. To see the other three posts in this…


google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

Okay, things are about to get a bit more complicated around here. So let’s take things slower.

To see the other three posts in this series, which talk about the basics of Google Analytics, click the following links:

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

In my March Stats and Income report, I spoke about how I had changed my Instagram name to my blog name for consistency across all my social media channels. I also mentioned how I had added a link to my blog in my Instagram bio.

I know that Instagram is known for not getting much traffic. I have 3.5k followers, post a couple of times a day and get somewhere between 50-100 links per photos, with a handful of comments. So I thought I might see some views from there.

Please note that I don’t post promotional photos on my Instagram, requesting people to check out my latest post. I post mainly fitness related posts and food which is probably one of the reasons why I’m not seeing much traffic.

Well, after a few days, I didn’t see anything come through. I was expecting to see maybe one or two referral a day. I knew it would be small, but I thought I would get something. But I got nothing at all.

I found out that the reason I wasn’t seeing any traffic referrals, is because when you click on a link in an Instagram profile, you have a prompt to open the page in your browser which will then show as direct traffic in Google Analytics, not a social referral from Instagram.

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

If you noticed in the screen shot of my Instagram profile, the URL isn’t just my blog link, but a shortened link that I’ve made using Google’s URL Shortener Tool.

This is because I added a tracking code to my link, which made it UGLY and LONG. EW UGLY LINK. Look:

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

I’ve added this tracking like so anyone that comes to my blog using this link, I know they have come from Instagram.

So, let’s figure out how to do this!

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

How to Track Instagram Referrals to your Blog

1. First you need to open your Google Analytics and go to ‘help’

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

2.Type in URL builder and search to get to the URL builder tool. Scroll down to the URL builder form.

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

3. Next there are a few boxes to fill in, but you only need to fill in 4.

Website URL: This is the link that you want to track to, eg your main blog page, or maybe a specific blog post or lead page.

Campaign Source: This let’s you know where it has come from.

Campaign Medium: This let’s you know the medium which it was sent to you.

Campaign Name: This is how it will show in analytics. So I’ve used ‘insta’ again.

This then generated the link to pop in my bio. I used Google Link Shortener to make it into a shorter URL.

You can fill the form in different ways, depending on how you want to use it. Because Instagram only lets you have one clickable link, this is why I named the source as Insta and Medium as Social. 

If, for example, I wanted to track how a certain post has done across various social media, I may have filled it out like this:

Website URL: Blog post I’m wanting to track.

Campaign Source: I could type in Twitter or Facebook, for example.

Medium: Social

Campaign Name: Something that let’s you know it’s that particular page they’ve gone to. Part of the blog name, maybe.

Then you can shorten the link and use it in a Tweet. Next, build further links for different social media, such as Google+ or Pinterest, for example, changing the ‘Campaign Source’ to googlep or pinterest.

This means when you check Google Analytics, you can see how well the campaign has done as a whole, but then drill down further into how each source has performed. Have you had more traffic to this post from Twitter or Pinterest?

To view the information, go to: Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

Here, you can see the campaigns by name.

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

If you click into the campaign name, you can see further information, such as the break down by source and medium.

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

Of course, I only have one set up at the moment, had I created several links for different social media, you would see the sources break down here.

google analytics link tracking instagram referrals

So since I set this up a week ago, you can see that I’ve only had 11 referrals from Instagram. Although they do tend to stick around my blog for quite a while and the bounce rate is lower from my Instagram referrals as it is on average.

You can use the link building tool for a few things, such as:

  • Tracking referrals from your news letter.
  • Tracking referrals from your social media profile – eg Twitter Bio.
  • Tracking referrals from individual posts.
  • Tracking links placed on other websites – guest posts or adverts.
  • Tracking PPC campaigns.
  • Tracking referrals from a blog post to a landing page/other post.

So yes, this can be a handy tool to track where you are getting traffic from. I currently have just sent one up for my Tumblr profile page too, to see how many people come from my Tumblr bio to my blog.

I’ll also be using this when I send out my next news letter, which you can sign up for below ;). Though Mail Chimp does say how many clicks each news letter gets, it doesn’t go into much detail so it would be handy to see how well the news letters actually do!

Have you even used the URL Link Builder tool to track anything before?

If you like what you see, please sign up to my newsletter below and follow me on Twitter and Bloglovin so you don’t miss out on updates!

Keep up to date with my newsletter


  1. Great post! I do this sort of thing for work all the time but never get round to doing it for my blog!

  2. Oh wow, I had no idea about this at all, so thank you so much for this info, Corinne. I use the very basic for GA so this was an eye opener on how useful it is for a blogger.

  3. Wow thanks a lot for this, I’ve just set up one for my blog home page on Instagram because I always wondered if I’m getting any traffic from there! 🙂 Btw, I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m definitely sticking around, cheers from Croatia!

  4. Oh this is such a great idea! 😀 When I’m ever asked to send a media kit to someone I’ll go update my stats thorugh analytics and it’s difficult not knowing where things come from very well – this is wonderful! I had no idea it was possible, I’d always used my links to track things!

  5. Fantastic post and so interesting! I’m only just getting my head round things like this, but didn’t even know you could do this!
    I literally must have all your seo posts saved, as they’re just brilliant and so well written.
    Thank you!


  6. I’ve never thought of doing this for my blog, I use Google’s URL builder for work though so am very familiar xx

  7. This is really helpful, thanks! I don’t look at my analytics that often I have to say, I go by my wordpress stats but I know they’re not as detailed at all! I love instagram but find it’s quite slow-growing for me x

  8. This is brilliant, thank you so much! I’d been wondering for ages if there was a way to do this 🙂

    Jess xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.