How to set up your first Instagram report on Google Data Studio

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This is a step-by-step guide to help you connect Instagram Insights to Google Data Studio to automate your social media reports.

We develop Google Data Studio connectors ourselves; we will tell you the nuances, potential, and limitations of reporting Instagram pages on Google Data Studio. 

Free Instagram connectors for Google Data Studio

Remember that the Instagram Analytics built-in dashboard only lets you monitor the last 7 days of data; you may consider a solution that stores and lets you visualize historical Instagram data. 

We’ve seen many people looking for free Instagram connectors for Google Data Studio

The current only free way to connect Instagram Insights to Data Studio is first sending your data to Google Sheets first and then connecting it to Google Data Studio. 

Porter is a provider of these connectors; we have an idea of why nobody currently offers a freemium model (aka an always free, limited product) instead of just a free trial. 

It turns out that sustaining any connector is super challenging for everyone. It is an ongoing and not a one-time task. If someone decided to build a free connector, chances are they will be outdated or be affected within a few months. 

As providers, we need to constantly update and fix these connections; we’re dependent on Facebook API updates. 

The latest iOS 14 updates, for instance, represented a major change for the product. Often, Facebook updates and deprecates fields and their API versions. To maintain the product, there should always be a developer behind it. 

To set expectations, all the Instagram Pages Insights connectors in the market are paid (they should be). 

If you’re still not willing to pay for a connector, you can still send your Instagram Insights data for free to Google Sheets and connect your spreadsheet to Google Data Studio, but it’s manual or pretty limited. 

Just as with Data Studio, automatically pulling data from Instagram to Google Sheets requires ongoing developer effort. So, Google Sheets connections—while there could be freemium options—will be limited anyway, and the direct connection is more powerful and flexible than having Sheets in between. 

Instagram pages Insights connector for Google Data Studio

First, we’ll learn how to import Instagram Insights data to Google Data Studio automatically through a connector. 

For this tutorial, of course, we will use our Porter Metrics Instagram Insights connector. It is self-promotion, but will also mention why we made it the best solution available. 

You can access the Instagram Insights connector in three ways: 

If you access through our website or link, you will download our default report template to speed up your reporting; if you access through the connector gallery, you will start with a blank report. 

Signing up with Google and Instagram

Once on the connector, signup with your Gmail account to create your Porter account. We only take your email and not any other personal information. 

Authorize your Instagram account on Google Data Studio

Then, you should sign in with your personal Instagram account.

Signing in with Facebook

Then choose the Instagram Business accounts you would like to report on. While you may want to only choose one for the first report, we suggest you select them all to bring them later. 

Some users only check the pages they want to report at that moment, and when they want to connect a new Facebook page, it won’t show up in the Data Studio list. 

If your Instagram accounts are not showing up on Google Data Studio, read this guide to learn to connect them from your Facebook profile by granting access to Porter.

Choosing Instagram business accounts

Now, you will choose the Instagram pages that are associated with those Instagram Business Accounts.

Choosing the Facebook pages you want to connect to Google Data Studio

Then, authorize Porter to access your page’s data. 

About privacy: we only get your emails to create users. We don’t bring any other information or share it (on purpose) with third parties. 

While Facebook says we can manage and access your accounts, Porter does only connect to the API to bring data to Google Data Studio. 

Grating access to Porter to retrieve Instagram pages data

Here’s our video tutorial on connecting your data to Google Data Studio. 

You don’t need to be a Facebook page administrator to connect your page’s data to Data Studio. Other page roles like analyst work, too. 

Choosing your Instagram pages

Once signed in, you will be allowed to bring one or more Instagram pages to your Google Data Studio report. 

We made it possible to bring multiple (or all) Instagram pages in a single data source so you could combine metrics like followers and reach across all your pages. Pretty useful for companies managing multiple brands of franchises to consolidate their data in one place. 

Selecting Instagram pages on Data Studio

Just click on Connect in the top right corner of the page. 

You will see all the fields available on our Instagram Insights connector for Google Data Studio. 

You will see a list of 70 fields available (so far) with all your account, followers, posts, and audience data. We committed to bring all the fields that the API allowed us. 

Now click on Connect on the top right corner to generate our default report template. 

Finishing the setup

If you successfully bring Instagram pages data to your Google Data Studio report, you’re officially starting a 14-days free trial. You may want to check out our friendly pricing here

Again: If you started using the connector from the link we provided, you’ll get our report template; if you did it from the Data Studio connector gallery, you will load a blank report. 

The report template is meant to save you time, but you’re free to start reporting from scratch. 

So far, we have already created our first Instagram report on Google Data Studio, but we can play around a bit more with the connector to see what it offers. 

Here, you can choose three ways for reporting:

  • Create your Google Data Studio report from scratch (read or watch our tutorials)
  • Download our LinkedIn Ads reports templates for Data Studio
  • Browse our default report template 

Before playing around with the charts, we’ll explain the Instagram metrics and dimensions. 

Understanding Instagram metrics

We can set up our Instagram pages report on Google Data Studio by navigating all its fields, metrics, and dimensions available. 

The way we see Google Data Studio is that it’s a canvas where you drop any type of chart, combining any sort of metrics and dimensions. 

The metrics are the numerical values, like followers, reach, and engagements; dimensions are how you break down the metrics, like by date, by country, by post, etc. 

If it’s your very first time with Data Studio, I would recommend you to check this resource to create your first Google Data Studio report

To help you navigate through the Instagram metrics, I would recommend watching this tutorial on creating charts and graphs

One of the limitations of Instagram Insights reporting is that you should combine metrics and fields that are related; you can only combine posts dimensions with post metrics like Post image with Post likes, but you cannot combine account dimensions with post metrics, like Account name and post shares. 

Instagram account dimensions

The account-related dimensions on the LinkedIn Ads connector have fixed values; they don’t change over time. They are:

  • Account biography
  • Account ID
  • Account IG ID
  • Account name
  • Account user name
  • Account website
  • Account posts count
  • Account total followers

I just created a table within our Data Studio report to show all these account-related fields:

Instagram accounts report on Google Data Studio

With this, you don’t need to add the logo manually for every report template you copy on Data Studio. Nice, huh? 

As you can see I’m bringing 6 Instagram pages in a single data source. This use case is great for agencies or companies with multiple brands to monitor all their Instagram pages in one view. 

A good practice, for example, is that you can display the ad account profile photo. 

Instagram profile metrics

You can also bring profile engagement metrics that can track over time such as:

  • Taps on website link
  • Taps on phone link
  • Taps on directions link
  • Taps on text message link
  • Taps on email link
  • Profile views
  • Profile new followers: Instagram will let you only get the latest 28 days of profile new followers data (Unless the data is stored somewhere, like Google Sheets(.
Instagram profile actions report on Google Data Studio

Instagram post metrics and dimensions

One of the coolest things about Google Data Studio is that you can display images. With this connector, we can display the ad creatives and see which one performs better. 

Clients and non-technical users may understand the names you put to your campaigns, but they will love the visuals. 

Sometimes, the images displayed on Google Data Studio seem blurry. The reason is that Data Studio doesn’t create images but brings them from a URL. Sometimes, the images are too small (aka thumbnails) and that’s why you will affect their quality if you increase the size. 

My recommendation is to keep them as small in their tables’ columns as possible. 

The Instagram pages Insights connector for Data Studio lets you bring post dimensions like: 

  • Post image
  • Post caption
  • Post type: if your post is video, carousel, image, etc. 
  • Post link: a clickable link to access the post on Instagram
  • Post date: the date when the post was published
  • Post hour of day: the hour of the day when the post was published
  • Post first 3 comments: displays the first 3 comments users did on a post

The post metrics are: 

Instagram posts report on Google Data Studio
  • Post saves
  • Post reach
  • Post likes
  • Post impressions 
  • Post video views
  • Post engagement
  • Post comments count
Instagram posts metrics table

The field Post sends is not currently available in the Instagram API.*

With the Post type dimension, you can filter reports for Instagram carousels.

Remember to only combine post fields among them; if you use Profile date as the time dimension and combine it with Post metrics, the chart will break. 

Instagram audience metrics

With Instagram data, you can have an idea of who is interacting with your posts and profile. The fields include: 

  • Country: combine Audience country (dimension) with Audience for countries (metric)
  • Age: Combine Audience age groups (Dimension) with Audience age groups quantity (Metric)
  • Gender: Combine Audience gender groups (Dimension) with Audience gender groups quantity (Metric)
Instagram audience report

Instagram stories metrics

Most Data Studio connector providers don’t offer Instagram stories because the Instagram API only stores stories data for 24 hours. 

Porter has automatic storage of this data; you can only bring Instagram stories when you connect to Porter. Before that, there’s not a way to retrieve data. 

To get Instagram story reports your provider should have a storage feature; Porter is a no-code solution but most offer data warehousing such as Big Query and Red Shift. 

The metrics include: 

  • Stories replies
  • Stories taps (backward)
  • Stories taps (forward)

Setting up an Instagram pages report on Data Studio

Creating charts 

Once you understand the Instagram metrics, it’s fine to create your first charts if you haven’t. 

We prepared a video tutorial on how to create your first charts and graphs on Google Data Studio:

Follow these steps to create your first charts: 

  • Open the Google Data Studio report on the edit mode.
  • Go to the menu and select Insert or Add a Chart. 
  • Choose a chart type (scorecard, time series, tables, pie charts, and bar charts are the most common).
  • Make sure the chart is linked to the Instagram Insights connector.
  • Depending on the chart, you should choose a combination of metrics and dimensions. A good one could be visualizing profile views as a scorecard and over time by choosing Profile date as the time dimension.
  • Set to compare the data against the last period.

Filters and controls

Filters and controls on Google Data Studio make your reports interactive and clean your data. 

A good use case for filters and controls with Instagram pages data may be filtering your posts by topics, like excluding all the campaigns whose Post caption contains a specific word. 

We prepared this tutorial on how to create filters and controls on Google Data Studio

Custom formulas

When it comes to formulas, think of Google Data Studio like Google Sheets: you can calculate any sort of metrics with countless math functions. 

When it comes to formulas, think of Google Data Studio like Google Sheets: you can calculate any sort of metrics with countless math functions. 

However, the most common formula you may want could be engagement rates, which is just dividing a metric with another. 

With Instagram Insights, you may calculate engagement rate by dividing post engagements vs post impressions, or page engagement rate by dividing page engagements and page reach. 

Watch this tutorial to learn to create custom formulas on Data Studio. 

Case statements

As you set formulas to create metrics, you can use case statements to create new dimensions. 

With LinkedIn Ads data, you may want to group your campaigns by brands or products you’re promoting if in their campaigns name there are characters to let you do so. 

Here are our tutorials on case statements and regular expressions

Blending Instagram and Facebook pages data on Data Studio

A great use case of the Facebook pages connector for Google Data Studio is combining it with other social media connectors like Instagram and Twitter.

With them, you may create a report to combine the total followers or audience across all your social channels. 

You may want to follow this video tutorial on blending data on Google Data Studio

Follow these steps to combine your data:

  • Open the Google Data Studio report on the edit mode.
  • Click on Manage added data sources and make sure to connect your Facebook Ads, Google Ads data (or any other connector you might use). 
  • Create a table for each connector whose dimension is equivalent to the date and the metrics are conversions and ad spend (or any metric you may want to compare). 
  • Make sure the tables are beside each other on the same page. 
  • Select the three tables and do a right-click. 
  • Select Blend data.
  • Google Data Studio will automatically create a table combining the metrics of the three connectors. 
  • To verify the data was correctly blended, go to edit the blended data source and make sure that the dimensions equivalent to the date work as the join keys. 

Customizing your report

We prepared a video tutorial showing you ways to customize your Instagram reports (and even making them Whitelabel). 

Sharing your Instagram Insights report

Google Data Studio, such as other Google products, has great collaboration and sharing features. 

You can: 

  • Choose the Gmail/G Suite users who can access your reports as editors or viewers 
  • Schedule email deliveries
  • Share a link to access the report
  • Download a PDF version
  • Embedding the report on another website

We covered all of these in our tutorial on How to Share your Google Data Studio reports.

Instagram report templates on Google Data Studio

It’s ok if you don’t want to set up your Data Studio reports. We prepared a set of Instagram pages Google Data Studio report templates covering all the possible use cases so you don’t have to. 

We have a tutorial on how to use Data Studio report templates, too. 

A common question is how you can add these templates to your current reports. You just need to select all the elements of your Data Studio report, copy, and paste them into your other reports. 

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