Social Media

Links Are Coming to Instagram… Kind Of

We’ve all been there.

You post something on Instagram. But then… wait – how do you get your followers to check out your website? Or a product? If you’re not paying for Instagram Ads, the only way to do it is to plead followers to go to your profile. Then plead for them to click your bio. Otherwise, there’s no way to add links in Instagram. 

Mobile users aren’t known for their attention spans. Or their patience. So having just one way to get people to click to a website, a product, or a piece of content has long hampered businesses trying to build a presence on Instagram.

No longer.

Recently, Instagram announced that links, 100% organic, bonafide Instagram links, are going to start appearing in Instagram Stories. 

Here’s what we know:

Links to the Future

Instagram is ending the linkless existence of verified users first. Those users will be able to add links in Instagram’s Snapchat-like “Stories” feature. Style and form will be limited.

– Major Brands, Celebrities, and Influencers Get Links First.

– You have to use a “See More” button for all links within the story

– This is only for Instagram Stories – standard Instagram pictures will still have to rely on the bio

This is a major step, but it’s still just a step. Most users still won’t be able to use links other than in their bio and, again, the links are only going to be available in Instagram Stories, not your everyday pictures.  

Unlocking the Potential of Linkstagram

When you can use links in an Instagram Story, you can track the business impact of Instagram itself.  

Right now, the only way to do that is to customize the link bio into a trackable link, as we’ve talked about before.

As brands start using links in Instagram Stories, a whole new channel is going to open up. With the right content, you’ll be able to drive your audience to your website or your app. Then, it’s going to be a matter of figuring out the customer experience when they discover and interact with your brand on Instagram.

Instagrammers are mobile. They’ll expect a visual landing page or something that they can easily tap. To get the whole picture, it’s going to be important to use trackable links that can tell the story of when and how users tap the “See More” button in an Instagram Story… and deep links that can send users directly to the company app.

Even if you may not have access to linkable Instagram Stories yet, you could build an influencer marketing campaign and give her a Bitly link. That way, you’ll be able to tell what the influencer’s story is ultimately doing to drive the business forward.

Instagram is still an emerging platform for brands, but building an Instagram marketing strategy is foundational to effective social media marketing today.

Instagram Shoppable Links

Update: as of March, 2018, you can now add links to products via a shoppable Instagram feed. This is huge for companies that are able to sell online. 

Since 2017, companies have been able to tag products within their Instagram photos using an Instagram Shopping Feed. Once a business has a product catalog connected to their IG account, they can tag their products the same way they might tag a person.

But it wasn’t until March of 2018 that a company could link from the product to their site. The results have been huge. Savannah Boysen, Marketing Manager for TYME, reported that their “traffic from Instagram has increased 44% since implementing shopping on Instagram. It’s a clean and simple way to show your product in a lifestyle setting, without impacting the user experience.”

Noelle Sadler, VP Marketing at Lulus, said that “since launch, shopping on Instagram can be directly attributed to over 1,200 orders and over 100K sessions.”

Companies that want to take advantage of this feature must remember to tag their URLs or Bitly links so that they can attribute the new traffic back to its true source, Instagram.

This article was published on November 11, 2016 and updated in March of 2019. 


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Blaise Lucey @BlaiseLucey00
Director of Product & Content Marketing