As part of its ongoing effort to improve Stories interaction, Instagram is making a change to the way that external links are shared within Stories frames, with the current 'Swipe up' links to be removed from the process entirely, and replaced by its new 'Link' sticker option instead.
Instagram has confirmed to SMT that all users who can currently access the swipe-up link for Stories will be able to access the new link sticker, with swipe-up links to Stories going away from the end of this month.
As per the prompt (shared by social media expert Matt Navarra), those who can currently access swipe-up links will revert to the link sticker instead, which Instagram says provides a range of benefits:
- A streamlined stories creation experience - Stories stickers, like Donation, Music, Poll, and now Link, help you further express yourself and share what matters to you on Instagram - in this case links.
- Added creative control - The sticker looks and functions the same way as others (i.e. question, poll, and location) - providing increased creator control. It can toggle to different styles, be resized, and be placed anywhere on your story for maximum impact.
- Further engagement - We also know that engagement and closeness are important to people. Users can receive quick reactions and replies on posts that have the link sticker, like any other story that is shared (e.g. the tray of emojis), whereas you couldn't receive feedback with the “swipe-up” link.
The update could well be an improvement. For one, it will enable more prominent placement of links within your Stories frames, which could give you more ways to entice click-throughs, and put more focus on driving that action within your Story.
Right now, the 'Swipe-up for more' prompt is displayed right down the bottom of the screen, so maybe, by adding a Link sticker, which you can place wherever you like on top of your visual, that'll give creators more presentation options to help drive traffic, by featuring them more prominently within the frame (you can see this in the top example above).
Then again, the swipe-up prompt has become habitual, so it may take some time to change user behaviors around link sharing in Stories. Still, it seems like a potential opportunity, and initial results of Instagram's testing must have shown a positive response, at least to some degree.
The next question, then, is whether the new Stories link option will eventually be made available to all users, or if link stickers will remain limited to verified profiles and/or those with more than 10k followers, as per the current 'Swipe-up' option.
Back in June, then Instagram Head of Product Vishal Shah told The Verge that link stickers for all users was the eventual goal, enabling more functionality within the Stories process.
“That's the sort of future system we would like to get to, and that’s what we hope to roll out, if we’re able to make this work.”
But it's not going that far just yet.
With this new roll-out, Instagram says that integrity and safety will be a key focus, and it'll be keeping a watchful eye over the links that people share via the option, in order to ensure that it doesn't become another surface for spreading misinformation and spam.
Because of this, Instagram will need to introduce link stickers in stages, but it is assessing whether to expand link access to more accounts in the future.
So, a new way to share links in Stories, which, really, had been on the cards for a while. Will that help you drive more referral traffic from your Stories efforts?
It certainly opens up a lot of new doors for your Stories approach.
Time to start experimenting with optimal link sticker placement.