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 swipe up links

Swipe-up links for Stories will be phased out by the end of this month, according to Instagram’s confirmation to SMT. All users who are presently able to access the swipe-up link for Stories will also be able to access the new link sticker, according to Instagram.

Instagram links going away

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.

It’s possible that the upgrade will be an improvement. For starters, it will allow for more prominent positioning of links within your Stories frames, which might provide you with additional opportunities to lure click-throughs while also allowing you to concentrate more emphasis on driving that action through your Story.

The ‘Swipe up for more’ prompt is currently displayed right down the bottom of the screen, so perhaps adding a Link sticker, which you can place wherever you like on top of your visual, will provide creators with more presentation options to help drive traffic, by highlighting them more prominently within the frame, will be beneficial (you can see this in the top example above).

In addition, because the swipe-up prompt has grown routine, it may take some time for users’ habits around link sharing in Stories to be transformed. Nonetheless, there appears to be a viable possibility, and the first results of Instagram’s testing must have indicated a favorable reaction, at the very least to a degree.

The next issue is whether the new Stories link option will ultimately be made available to all users, or if it will continue to be restricted to verified accounts and/or those with more than 10k followers, as is the case with the present ‘Swipe-up’ feature.

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 type of future system we would like to achieve, and that’s what we aim to implement if we are successful in our efforts.”

However, for the time being, it will not go that far.

Because of this new feature, Instagram says it will place a strong emphasis on integrity and safety. The social media platform also says it will keep a close eye on the links that people share through the feature in order to ensure that it does not become another platform for spreading misinformation and spam.

In order to accommodate this, Instagram will need to roll out link stickers in phases, although the company is considering whether to broaden link access to include more accounts in the future.

So, we now have a new option to share links in Stories, which has really been in the works for quite some time. Will this assist you in driving more referral traffic to your Stories efforts from other sources?

It surely brings up a slew of new possibilities for your Storytelling strategy.

It’s time to start experimenting with the best location for link stickers.