There’s no status symbol on Instagram quite like the Swipe Up, the feature that lets verified accounts and users with at least 10,000 followers link out to web pages from their Instagram Stories. Soon, however, that feature is getting a facelift: Starting on Aug. 30, per TechCrunch, swipe ups will be swapped for link stickers. Like the Location or Poll stickers, you’ll be able to move these widgets around your Instagram Story to maximize clicks; people will also be able to reply directly to Stories with link stickers, whereas currently, you can’t respond to Stories with swipe ups.
Instagram had been testing letting anyone link out from their Story using link stickers earlier this summer, but is only rolling out the update to people who already have the swipe up feature. (Womp, womp.) “We're also aware of the risk of bad actors, spam, and the spread of misinformation that may come up with this feature, so we're testing and watching the potential impact to better understand whether to roll out to everyone,” a spokesperson told Bustle about the original test.
Why Can’t People Put Links In Their Stories Automatically?
In 2020, Instagram told Bustle that there are guardrails on who can have access to the swipe up feature in order “to reduce spam and abuse risks.” A spokesperson explained that limiting swipe up usage to public figures and creators with large followings reduces the likelihood of it being used to share links that lead followers to unsafe websites or misinformation.
Still, activists in particular have voiced their frustration with those limitations on swipe ups, as it makes it more difficult to direct followers to further reading on complicated issues — hence the spread of multi-slide Instagram infographics. And regular users who want to share an article, or tag a small business or cause in a Story, find themselves frustrated with the feature’s exclusivity, too. The ability to connect people with external resources while remaining on the app can make them more likely to actually check out the site.
How To Put Links In Your Instagram Stories
If you have 10,000 followers, or are verified, you should have the swipe up tool built into your Story menu. Starting Aug. 30, you won’t see the link icon that’s next to the filter icon. Instead, you’ll tap the sticker icon (the little page with a smiley face on it). Tap the link sticker and enter the URL you want your Story to navigate to. (If you’re not seeing this icon and you recently got verified or hit 10K, head to Settings and make sure that you have switched over to a professional account.) When you post your Story, the link will become active. You’ll be able to see how many people gave it a tap when you look at your regular Story analytics.
If you’re not eligible to link out from your Story, you can take advantage of a loophole: IGTV. When you upload a video to IGTV, the description box will automatically hyperlink a URL. When you publish the video, your followers will be able to tap the description, then tap the live link. You can also share your IGTV video to your grid, or promote it on your Stories. Yes, this method is incredibly roundabout, but if you really want to share a link that people can access directly, it’ll do.
If there are multiple links that you want to share, you can sign up with LinkTree, a third party website that generates URLs for Instagram bios. Putting a LinkTree in your bio will direct followers to a landing page that you can set up to host other links with descriptive names to help your followers find the link you’re calling out. It’s not quite “swipe up, you guys” energy, but it’s a functional alternative.
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