Anyone on Instagram - no matter their follower count - can now add an external link to their Story.


News has dropped that Instagram will be expanding access to its new Link Sticker (formally the 'swipe up' feature). This means the feature is no longer exclusive to users with over 10k followers. "We’ve received a lot of feedback over the years on limiting links to accounts with >10k followers, and we heard you." Tweeted Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri.

This is a huge deal for micro-influencers. These creators - who tend to have incredibly high local audiences and strong engagement rates - will now have the power to drive their audience to external sites via Stories. Making them an even more desirable collaborator for marketers. It also means that small businesses will be able to drive followers to their websites, right from the start of their growth journey.

Here’s what we know about Instagram's new link sticker and the death of the swipe up.


What is the new link sticker?


Just like Instagram’s poll and question stickers, the link sticker is a new interactive feature that users can add to their Stories and drive viewers to an external site, such as an ecommerce site or blog. External links in Stories are now to be tapped, instead of swiped.

The link sticker has replaced the swipe up function. Small tests for the link sticker started at the end of June to learn how people might take advantage of links. Tests were to understand the types of links people share, while keeping a close eye on the spread of misinformation and spam.

Why has the swipe-up functionality been replaced?


#1 Instagram wants to streamline how Stories are created. Besides reactions and replies, the Story swipe up was the only interactive Story feature that wasn’t a sticker. Story stickers help users express themselves and share what matters to them. So now all of Instagram's interactive Story features can be found and used in one spot.

#2 The platform wants to give users more creative control. Like other stickers, users can tap on the link sticker to toggle between styles and place it anywhere on the Story frame for maximum performance and impact.

#3 They hope it’ll drive more engagement. Users will now be able to receive quick reactions and replies on Stories that have the link sticker. With the swipe up experience, viewers weren't able to quickly reply or react to linked stories.

Instagrams removing their Story swipe up function

Can link stickers only be used in organic Stories?


Yes. Link stickers are only available to use in organic Stories. For Story ads, the CTA is still the swipe up function.

It’s also worth noting that creators can still add a Paid Partnership tag on organic Stories that have used the link sticker. But given this tool was in the same location as the now non-existent swipe up tool, you will see a new "Branded Content" tool in the top left menu of your Stories editing screen. 

However, the ability for brands to promote Stories with the Paid Partnership tag plus a link sticker will be disabled. So it’s best practice to avoid using the link sticker on content that you plan to promote as ads. 


How does the link sticker work?


Following Instagram’s advice, here’s how to use the link sticker:

#1 Capture or upload content to your Story.

#2 Navigate to the sticker menu.

#3 Tap the ‘link’ sticker, then you’ll be prompted to add your desired external link.

#4 Place the sticker anywhere on your story frame, tap to change styles, pinch or expand to alter its size, then tap ‘share’.

#5 Your Story with the link sticker will be live for viewers to interact with for 24-hours.

Pro tip: Check out how your link sticker performed under the Story’s Insights. This will tell you how many users clicked the link sticker. It’s yet to be confirmed if you can see who clicked the sticker, like you can with the poll and emoji slider stickers.


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