Currently, on Instagram, only users with 10,000 or more followers can include a swipe-up link on their Stories. According to The Verge, Instagram is now running a test to give all users the option to add URL links to Stories through linked stickers.
The "swipe up" link in Stories has been a useful tool for marketers who need to drive traffic and prove ROI other than an increase in brand awareness on Instagram. However, the follower requirement for this feature has been limiting to small businesses, activists and creators with fewer than 10k followers. Many of these accounts have built and established powerful communities on Instagram, and the inability to access important brand features can limit their partnership opportunities.
Instagram seems to have recognized this issue and is now testing the linked sticker capabilities with these smaller but clearly influential accounts.
A significant perk of the stickers compared to swipe links is the ability for users to respond to the story. Currently, swiping up feature disables direct replies. Placing a sticker on the image, however, will leave the bottom bar open for messages and thus aid engagement with the feature. For example, fans could react to the latest blog post or ask questions about a resource an account has shared with the sticker.
The main concern, of course, would be the misuse of the linking option when it would be available for everyone. Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product, tells The Verge they are currently “watching for the types of links people post while keeping a particular eye on misinformation and spam,” adding that there is no intention of bringing links to anywhere else on the platform, and getting the stickers out for everyone is, indeed, a goal they would like to reach if it proves to work fine.
Vishal Shah also points out that stickers are already a natural way users interact on the platform. Currently, stickers enable people to participate in campaigns, express emotion, add a touch of style to their stories, and share information like location, time, and even the temperature with their viewers. This could open up other varieties or sponsored stickers in the future. Either way, having the ability to link without the follower count barrier is excellent news for all small businesses who could benefit from the option.