In August this year, Instagram unveiled their latest feature; Instagram Stories. Despite being a brazen copy of a Snapchat feature – which is also called stories – it’s become highly popular among brands and users alike. Stories allows users to post a series of pictures and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
For regular users, this allowed them to share more freely without worrying about the overall look and feel of their regular feed. Photos and videos disappear before too long, so users will have less qualms about sharing. For brands, it presented another opportunity; clicks.
Not click Friendly
Historically, Instagram has been tricky territory for marketers who want to get users to click through to their site. Most social media platforms allow users to share a clickable link with any post, so that users can click it to find out more if they’re interested. However, Instagram does not allow this at all. The only clickable link that Instagram allows users to post is in the profile bio.
Because of this, marketers are forced to rely on inelegant workarounds. Popping the words ‘link in bio’ at the end of a post and changing the bio link each time is the preferred method. However, some users decide to use link shortening software that allows them to give the link a very short but distinctive name, so that users can type it in themselves.
In 2015, Instagram began allowing clickable links within sponsored posts. So marketers were able to do their standard post, complete with link. The catch, of course, is that you have to pay for the privilege. On top of that, the post won’t appear in your regular feed for your fans to look at later.
However, for some brands, the days of link woes could be over. Instagram Stories now allows users to insert a link into their Story posts, which inserts a prompt for users to swipe up. When you swipe, the content becomes visible, within the Instagram app itself. Once you’re done reading, you hit the back button, and you’re back on your Instagram feed. It’s unconventional, sure, but it’s great to see that Instagram are finally adding options for brands to share links through organic content.
It seems like Instagram’s unconventional ideas are working too. Early research from Marketing Land shows that the swipe through rate is between 155 and 25%; not too shabby at all. The primary reason for this is a simple one; convenience. The link can be viewed within the story, and without having to leave the app. It feels like less of a risk to swipe through, because bouncing back out is easier, should the content not be to your taste.
However, there’s a catch. At the time of writing, linking within Stories is a feature that’s only afforded to blue ticked (verified) profiles. And, unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram are far less liberal with handing out blue ticks to anyone but massive brands and bona fide celebrities. So, we’ll have to hope that Instagram eventually roll out the feature to those of us without a blue tick. It could make Instagram a much more marketing-friendly platform.