Pinterest and Instagram have quickly become two of the top social platforms for businesses interested in telling visually compelling stories about their brands, products, and service offerings. Their recent popularity could be attributed to each network’s millions of active users or from the ongoing success that some brands have seen on these channels.
When it comes to measuring the success of your efforts on both Pinterest and Instagram, the solution isn’t always as clear as some would like. Often times, marketers feel the need to use a multitude of tracking software and analytics platforms to gauge the performance of their efforts from channel to channel, which can make it more difficult to isolate the content that is truly resonating with their target audience and generating ROI.
Although there are pros and cons to most analytics tools, simplifying your analysis process can help your company identify the effectiveness of your visual marketing efforts in a more timely manner and make changes quickly. Learn how to properly use Google Analytics to measure your content on both Pinterest and Instagram to better report on the overall success of your social marketing on these popular networks.
Analyzing Instagram Efforts Through Short-Link Tracking Strategies
When measuring your content performance on Pinterest and Instagram, you should first understand that, although each network promotes similar content, they require very different approaches in data analysis through Google Analytics. This is primarily due to Instagram being a mobile only platform that only allows a single link within the account bio and not within each photo being shared, which can cause an array of tracking challenges. You can include a link to content in the caption of the photo, but it’s not clickable.
To more accurately measure your Instagram efforts, you should start by understanding how to work within their limited link parameters. To measure how much traffic your Instagram profile drives with this specific link, you’ll need to tag your links with UTM parameters by using Google’s URL Builder.
Build short tracking URL’s within Google Analytics to measure your Instagram performance by filling out the fields with the URLs you’d like to track, the referral source, the medium or channel, and the name of your campaign. To learn more about UTM parameters and properly tracking your links, check out this starter guide from HubSpot. Once you’ve generated a link with Google URL Builder, shorten the link with a link shortener like Bitly to make it easy to share and visually appealing, then add it to your account bio to correspond with the latest photo you’ve shared on Instagram.
This tactic can help you measure the overall traffic generated from your Instagram efforts, but it does not allow you to analyze individual post performance beyond the engagement metrics that you can find within Instagram. When looking to measure at a more granular level, there are a few tactics that companies can use to collect more data.
One method is to circumvent the single link restriction by overlaying individual tracking links in each of your Instagram visuals or by publishing your links directly into the description of your content. However, while not impossible, it can be a stretch to expect your customers to exit the Instagram app, open a separate browser and manually input your URL to find your products or continue onto your other web properties. This is another time when having these URLs shortened can be extremely helpful in encouraging Instagram users to take the time to type them out in a separate browser, since they are simpler to type out.
As an alternative and perhaps a more effective method, you can maximize the use of your one clickable profile link to direct traffic to an Instagram specific landing page and draw attention to that link in the description of your content.
For example, to entice their followers to visit their Instagram specific landing pages, online retailer TopShop creatively draws attention to their tracking link in the location tag.
Ultimately, in order to have better insights into your Instagram efforts, you need to direct your customers outside of Instagram. Develop a landing page that hosts your products or services in a similar format to how your Instagram content is designed to be able to track activity from this page in Google Analytics.
Additionally, use the location of your post to add a reminder for your followers to visit your landing page. To add this call-to-action, when publishing your content, tap to edit the location of your post and choose to write a custom link rather than selecting a physical location.
For example, small photography retail boutique Asilda Photography creatively displays products that are featured on their Instagram profile in an online store where their fans can make purchases.
After a customer visits or makes a purchase of a product through the online Asilda store, individual product data can be traced back to Instagram content through the “Campaigns” section inside Google Analytics if each product was connected using a Google URL.
Measuring Pinterest Efforts Through Referral Traffic Inside Google Analytics
Fortunately, it can be much less complicated to measure your Pinterest efforts since the platform doesn’t restrict you from publishing links within your posts and Google can better differentiate traffic from both mobile and web traffic from Pinterest.
If you have already been publishing content on Pinterest, Google Analytics may have already been collecting important traffic data for your to analyze. Start by logging into your Google Analytics account and selecting the date range that you want to measure.
To find how much of your traffic came from Pinterest, select the following headline options on the left side of your Google Analytics dashboard. Acquisition > Social > Referral Sources.
This view can give you a broad overview of your Pinterest campaigns as they compare to your other social channels. To delve further into your data and find your most effective content, select Pinterest from the list of social networks to see what specific pins are driving the most traffic.
From this dashboard, you will see a list of your highest performing Pinterest content as it relates to the number of page sessions each pin generates for your website. While total sessions is an important aspect when determining which content is most successful, it is certainly not the holy grail of metrics.
Consider which pins create the highest average number of pageviews per session, session duration, and the lowest bounce rate as these metrics can indicate actual engagement. If you are looking to boost sales, you should also measure the amount of revenue and conversions generated from your pins.
As you find the metrics that are most relevant to your business goals, you can set up custom shortcuts in Google Analytics to quickly get to the reports that matter most to your, whether you’re analyzing Instagram, Pinterest, or another channel.
Google Analytics can be an excellent tool for brands looking to gather knowledge about both their Instagram and Pinterest efforts. After the initial set up and through ongoing monitoring, you can learn what visual content is paying off and use that data to inform your future campaigns.
What techniques do you use to analyze the performance of your Pinterest and Instagram efforts? Have you found any method to be particularly complicated or convoluted? How would you use Google Analytics to gather data on your visual marketing content? Put your feedback and answers in the comments below.
Updated November 22, 2017.