This will be welcome news for Instagram users.
Today, Instagram has announced that links are now being made available in Instagram Stories for all users, not just those with 10k followers or verified accounts.
As explained by Instagram:
“When we first introduced Stories links, the feature was limited to verified accounts or those with a certain number of followers. We’ve heard from the rest of our community that they also want to share things that matter with their friends and family. Whatever you’re into, from cooking to volunteering or shopping, you now have a space to share in Stories - regardless of your account size.”
As you can see in the above example, all users will now be able to access the link sticker for Stories, which Instagram introduced as the primary link sharing option, instead of ‘Swipe up’ links, back in August.
Which, in itself, has been a source of controversy, and some confusion in the case of Instagram ads, which still use swipe-up links. But the addition of link stickers, as opposed to swipe-up links, gives users more creative control over how links appear within their Stories frames, which could be a good way to drive more referral traffic.
And now, everyone will be able to add their own links, expanding the potential value of Stories for driving audience action.
For brands, that will likely put more focus on Stories as a communications tool – and with Instagram increasingly looking to put more focus on video content, like Stories and Reels, you can also expect the platform itself to increasingly emphasize Stories usage as it seeks to drive more engagement.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said so much in Facebook’s most recent earnings announcement, noting that:
“Reels is already the primary driver of engagement growth on Instagram. It's incredibly entertaining, and I think there is a huge amount of potential ahead. We expect this to continue growing and I am optimistic that this will be as important for our products as Stories is. We also expect to make significant changes to Instagram and Facebook in the next year to further lean into video and make Reels a more central part of the experience.”
So clearly Reels is a central element, but Stories too is incorporated into that broader video push, which, eventually, will likely see Instagram re-aligned around Stories and Reels specifically, with the traditional feed taking a back seat, and likely shifting to another, separate tab in the app.
That will make Stories even more valuable for exposure, and the capacity to drive direct traffic from them will also take on more priority, making this an even more significant announcement.
Instagram does note that new accounts, as well as accounts that repeatedly share content that violates its Community Guidelines, will not have access to the Link sticker. That provides it some safeguards in limiting misuse of the option – though the details of what qualifies as a ‘new’ account in this context have not been communicated.
Instagram also notes that it’s developing new ways to customize the link sticker “so that it’s clear what someone will see when they tap your link”. That could include a link preview element or similar, which could be another aspect to consider in your process.
It’s been a much-requested addition, and now, you can expect to see a lot more links in your IG Stories - which could be annoying, and could lead to an influx of users posting more Stories content.
Which means it’ll either be a blessing or a curse for the format.
We’ll soon find out, with Instagram rolling out access to link stickers to all users from today.