Linking on Instagram: How to Link in Instagram Stories

instagram stories linking

Over the past few years, Instagram has skyrocketed in popularity, with users spending 28 minutes on average using the platform each day. Over the years Instagram has rolled out various new updates from capability for video, slideshows, and Instagram stories. The question many users have been asking is how to link in Instagram stories. Let’s discuss why this is so important, find out if your brand’s Instagram account has the ability to add one, and what you can do if the option is not yet available for you. 

Why marketers should care about adding an Instagram Story link

From a marketing perspective, the main difference between Instagram and other popular social media platforms is that it’s not yet a direct selling tool.

This is because, in the past, Instagram only allowed users to include one link within their profile bio, rather than under each post like on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The only way to get users out of the app was through this one link. This created a tricky situation for marketers that wanted to use Instagram to promote their business.

In the last few years, the company has rolled out Instagram Stories – much to marketers’ delight. Through this new feature, users are able to embed a link directly into an image or video which is available for 24 hours or that can be saved into to their profile’s highlights.

When users link within their story, it creates a smoother customer experience by bringing them directly to the site mentioned, rather than having to navigate to the bio before visiting the URL. Since this introduction, there have been many questions surrounding how to add a link to an Instagram story and how to make the most of this new feature.

What do links in Instagram Stories look like?

As you’re flicking through Instagram Stories at the top of your home screen, on occasion, you’ll come across ones that have the option to “See More.” There are a few different ways brands utilize this feature. 

Vox.com created an Instagram Story that has the sole purpose of driving its audience to swipe up and see more. This is a good tactic if you’re trying to bring your followers to a landing page that covers multiple subtopics around one major topic. Say swipe up to see all of our women’s sale, or our full makeup line, rather than one specific product. 

linking in an instagram story

Another option many brands consider is to simply showcase a product or article, encouraging the audience to ‘swipe up’ and find out more. Starbucks recently did this, for its new seasonal product release. 

linking on instagram storiesThere’s also a hybrid option – which you can see demonstrated by the New Yorker Magazine below. The magazine used the call to swipe up option alongside a caption that prompts the audience to learn more. 

instagram story linkingNotice the CTA, for every example is “see more.”  When the user swipes up, a popup will appear for the site they are going to visit. These embedded links create a direct connection from an Instagram story to your website – or wherever you’re trying to bring your audience. Linking in stories increases the number of touchpoints between you and your audience while also creating fewer steps to get them to your website.

How to Link in Instagram Stories

Linking in Instagram Stories is not hard to do, the catch is that you first need to have a business profile – as opposed to a personal account. You also need to have over 10,000 followers. 

If you meet both of these requirements, here’s how to add a link into an Instagram story. If not, don’t worry, we’ve got some workarounds! 😉

1. Decide what you want to post

Is this going to be an impactful image that links to a blog on your website? Or, will it be promotional, and bring your audience to a sale on your site? Or…maybe a cat video? Because…well… who doesn’t like a good cat video to break up their day?

Anyway, you can use any image or video stored on your phone from the last 24 hours, or taken directly within the Instagram Stories feature. Think about what works for your brand, and if adding a link to it will enhance the content.

Now that the hardest part is over, let’s get down to business. Tap the top left circle (you’ll see your profile photo as the icon) on your timeline, where you would normally add an Instagram story.

rebrandly instagram story2. Add your link!

Once you’ve taken or uploaded your image/video, you should see a link icon on the top right-hand side of your story. This is located just next to where you would add stickers to your post. You will be guided to a new window, where you’ll be able to add your link. Irish actress and singer, Nicole O’Connor chose to link to YouTube from her story below. 

Here’s how it looks after you click the link icon. You’ll be brought to a screen where you can just copy and paste the URL. Nicole used a branded link from Rebrandly in her story – this allows her to track, manage, add UTM parameters, and even add retargeting pixel to her link.  

linking in an instagram story3. Personalize it

Add some filters, – Valencia makes everything look better 🙌 – stickers, gifs, hashtags, whatever your heart desires. BUT, don’t forget to a add a CTA. Adding a CTA is extremely important when linking in Instagram Stories, because it creates trust with your audience and tells them where the link will lead.

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Make an arrow! Show people physically how to swipe up. 
  2. Write out something like “Swipe Up To Learn More” and reiterate exactly what information they will be served if they do so. 
  3. Add a branded link. If you have a link with your brand in the actual post, you’ll showcase your brand name, highlight what you do and where the link leads with just a few characters. This also builds user trust.

4. Track and Assess 

In the world of digital marketing, we have the ability to track and measure our successes and shortcomings easily. But, Instagram’s analytics insights are very limited. The platform offers a general overview of the progress of your business account, but if you want specific data on the links that you’re sharing both in Instagram stories and in your Instagram bio, the best way to find out is to use a short link that shows click data. This will give you valuable insights – whether your link leads to your website or another external site.

Let’s go back to our example from Nicole O’Connor’s Instagram account. She created her branded link for her Instagram story in Rebrandly. After a few days, she went back into the platform to assess how the content performed, and who was “swiping up” to learn more.

She discovered where her audience is from, what time they clicked through to her story and the most popular times her audience engaged. 

rebrandly tracking instagram linkWith this type of information, she can make smarter decisions about when her audience is most receptive, and what types of content they are interested in. 

With a link management platform, you can easily shorten, brand, and track every link that you share. This gives you the information you need to make decisions on how to craft your “swipe up” story, when to post, and where the majority of your audience is from. 

Track every Link On Instagram

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Wait, I don’t think I am able to add links to my Instagram story!

Not to worry. It’s not you, it’s Instagram. Instagram story linking is currently only available to verified accounts or business profiles with over 10,000 followers.

Sounds daunting, but there are many methods to gain followers on Instagram. Until you hit the 10,000 mark, you can optimize your Instagram Stories and Instagram bio with branded links. Here are some Instagram bio examples to check out while you’re preparing for Instagram stories.

If you’re interested in linking within Stories, but don’t yet have the right credentials, first think about ways to enhance your current profile to help you get to unlock this feature. You can make the most use of the link within your Instagram bio and increase traffic to your website while working to gain followers. Let’s look first at the link in your bio.

Is it long and look like this?

“www.meetup.com/Online-Marketing-Dublin/events/online19825526771222”

Or, does it have a shortened link, with no reference to your brand, like this?

shor.tly/de4hsT2

There’s a sweet spot you can hit when you have a shortened link in your Instagram profile with your brand on it. Oh, yea. This is possible. If you add a branded link, like one from Rebrandly, you’re able to showcase your brand name right in the link in your profile and edit where that link leads (the destination) with each new post, without having to update the actual link.

This is ideal for influencers and marketers with tight schedules, and with dynamic content calendars. When you have branded links, there is also a convenient workaround for putting links in your stories. If you don’t yet have the “swipe up” function in your stories, simply add a branded link, like Rebrandly.rocks/Social or Rebrandly.xyz/EmojiDomains🙂 (yes, you can even use emojis 😉)

We’re still working to hit our 10,000 followers mark on Instagram (shameless plug, follow us here!) So, for our most recent Online Marketing Meetup in Dublin, we added a branded link in our story. Since branded links are memorable, attendees could easily access event details by typing the link into their browser.

instagram linking - branded links

To be even clearer, you can make a video and read out your branded link.

For example, if you’re hiring and you want to remind your audience to apply, you could create a video and ask people to visit Rebrandly.is/hiring to learn more. Branded links are short and memorable so your audience will be able to type it into their browser on their own to take action.

When you link in Instagram Stories, you’re able to create a better experience for your audience because they don’t have to leave the app or go to your bio to learn more. This reduces the rate of customer drop off because there are fewer steps to follow to reach conversion.

These links also provide you with a business opportunity to directly showcase particular products or new features while directly driving your audience back to your site. Let us know any other ways you use linking in Instagram stories to drive more traffic to your site! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • How to Link in Instagram Stories
  • Linking on Instagram stories 
  • How to add a link on Instagram story
  • Branded links for Instagram
Hannah Harrington
Hannah is the content manager at Rebrandly, a link management solution that empowers users to put their brand name on all the links they share. With a background in marketing and creative writing, Hannah’s passion lies in telling compelling customer stories. You can find this American expat exploring the streets of Dublin or nestled up with a cozy cup of tea.