All Instagram accounts can now share links in stories, a feature that was previously reserved for verified and high-follower accounts.
This marks the first time that link sharing on Instagram is available everyone.
If users didn’t meet Instagram’s old criteria for sharing links in stories, the only other place they could be shared was in their profile page.
That made it difficult to use Instagram as a tool for driving website traffic, as links can’t be shared in feed posts either.
Comparatively, websites like Twitter and Facebook are more effective in this area. Links can be shared just about anywhere on those platforms.
As one of the most highly trafficked sections of the app outside of the main feed, links in Instagram stories have the potential to be a boon for publishers.
Here’s more about links in Instagram stories and how they work.
Adding Links To Instagram Stories
Story links now work a bit differently than the ‘swipe up’ style of story links you may be used to seeing from brands and influencers.
Rolling out to everyone today are story stickers, which can be added just like adding any other sticker to your Instagram story.
This is how it’s done:
Capture or upload content to your story
Select the sticker tool from the top navigation bar
Tap the “Link” sticker to add your desired link and tap “Done”
Place the sticker on your story — like our other stickers — and tap on the sticker to see color variations
Currently, the sticker displays stylized text of the full URL you’re linking to.
Instagram says it’s working on ways to further customize the sticker so it’s clear what users will see when they tap on the link.
The Fine Print
Instagram notes that story stickers will not be available to brand new accounts.
Unfortunately, that means you can’t join Instagram today and immediately start sharing links.
What qualifies as a “new” account isn’t specified. I presume users will eventually get access after being an Instagram member for a certain period, but that’s something the company needs to clear up.
In addition, accounts that repeatedly post hate speech, misinformation, or content that violates Instagram’s community guidelines will not have access to link stickers.
If you’re a longtime user, and you’ve played by the rules, then you should be good to go with link sharing.
Other Notes About Instagram Stories
The reach of Instagram stories is significant, though the company hasn’t revealed updated numbers in a few years.
Instagram last reported in 2019 that stories are viewed by 500 million users per day.
That number was up 100 million users from the year before, so it’s fair to assume several hundred million more users are viewing stories since the last official count.
What’s likely had a major impact on the growth of stories in recent years is how they can now be discovered in Instagram Explore. Previously they could only be viewed in the stories carousel.
That update rolled out in 2019, after Instagram published its 500 million statistic, so it would be very interesting to know how many people are viewing stories today.
Featured Image: Screenshot from about.instagram.com/blog, October 2021.