In the ever-evolving world of social media marketing, Instagram plays a significant role in driving website traffic. However, the platform’s limitations regarding interactive URLs have made it challenging for businesses to maximize their online presence. To overcome this hurdle, Instagram recently introduced an expanded bio links feature, allowing users to add up to five clickable links to their profiles. While this new tool may seem promising, examining its authenticity and evaluating whether it delivers the desired results is crucial.
The Limitations of Instagram’s Native Linking Options
Before delving into the details of Instagram’s expanded bio links, let’s first acknowledge the challenges businesses face when driving website traffic through the platform. Instagram does not support interactive URLs in feed content, making it necessary to rely on alternative methods such as link stickers in stories or third-party links in bio tools. However, both these options have their drawbacks. Link stickers in stories disappear after 24 hours unless added to story highlights, creating a time-limited opportunity for users to access the desired links. On the other hand, using a third-party tool can confuse users and result in reduced traffic to owned domains.
Unveiling Instagram’s Expanded Bio Links
In April 2023, Instagram announced a significant change to its bio-links feature. Previously limited to a single link, users can now add multiple links to their Instagram bios without needing a third-party app. This expansion allows creator and business accounts to include up to five clickable links, providing a new avenue for directing users to various destinations. When visitors view a profile, they are presented with the first URL on the list and an indication of additional links available. Tapping the URL opens a pop-up that displays all the added URLs. While this feature may seem appealing, we must carefully assess its advantages and disadvantages.
Examining the Pros and Cons
- Increased Linking Options: With Instagram’s expanded bio links, users can add up to five clickable links, directing users to a mix of destinations such as their website, third-party marketplaces, press features, guest posts, and more.
- Driving Traffic to Owned Domains: Alternatively, users can leverage the multiple links to direct traffic to different parts of their website. This enables them to strike a balance between driving traffic to their owned domain and Instagram-friendly landing pages that align with their social media content.
- Affordability: Unlike third-party link-in bio apps that often require paid subscriptions for complete access, Instagram’s native expanded bio links feature eliminates the need for additional expenses, making it a more affordable option for businesses on a tight budget.
- Visual Limitations: One significant drawback of Instagram’s expanded bio links is the need for visual customization. The list of links appears in black and white, similar to the Instagram bio section, without options to add thumbnails, background colors, or images from the grid. The only visual element allowed is the use of emojis in calls to action (CTAs).
- Additional Steps for Users: Despite the expanded bio links feature, Instagram still only displays one link in the bio section, along with the tally of additional URLs. To view the complete list of links, users need to tap, adding an extra step that may hinder click-through rates and website traffic.
- Limited Number of Links: While the expansion allows for multiple links, Instagram restricts users to five. This limitation poses a challenge for businesses that require constant updates to a long list of external destinations, such as eCommerce product
The Process of Adding Multiple Links
To begin with, let us delve into the process of adding multiple links to an Instagram bio. So users must access the Instagram mobile app and navigate to their business or creator profile. From there, they can tap the Edit Profile button, select the Links option from the Profile menu, and add external links by copying and pasting URLs. This process can be repeated up to five times, with the limitation that the option to add new links becomes disabled once the maximum limit is reached. To modify the order of the links, users can access the Reorder Links option by tapping the three dots in the upper-right corner.
The Role of Third-Party Apps in Linking
Despite Instagram’s introduction of multiple-link features, many brands and creators have not transitioned to using it exclusively. This raises questions about the continued relevance and value of third-party apps designed specifically for linking purposes.
These third-party apps offer advantages that Instagram’s native links may not fully provide. One such benefit is creating an interactive grid where each feed post or reel is clickable. This functionality eliminates the need for excessive explanation in captions or direct URL inclusion, making the linking process smoother. Furthermore, these apps offer unlimited links, which can benefit brands with a wide range of products or resources.
An example is SproutLink, which allows businesses to create interactive landing pages. The app allows links to be attached to individual grid items, enabling brands to guide users through the funnel and tailor their linking strategy accordingly. Similarly, Later’s Linkin.bio supports interactive grids designed explicitly for eCommerce shopping, streamlining the process of directing Instagram followers to online stores. By using these third-party apps, businesses can achieve more flexibility and customization in their linking approach.
Optimize Your Instagram Links for Maximum Impact
Instagram offers limited customization options for its built-in link list, so it’s essential to ensure your most essential URLs stand out. Here are a few suggestions to help you enhance your links:
- Use emojis to make your CTAs (Calls to Action) stand out. While it’s not necessary to use emojis if they don’t align with your brand voice, they can help your CTAs and links stand out in a list of text and URLs. Consider using emojis selectively to amplify their impact.
- Include only crucial links. While it may be tempting to include as many external links as possible, ask yourself if you genuinely need a link to your home page, significantly if it adds clutter. Monitor the website traffic from Instagram to determine which links are genuinely effective.
- Implement URL tracking. Analytics tools can provide insights into relevant traffic from Instagram. However, without link tracking, they won’t be able to tell you whether visitors clicked on a profile link or a story sticker. By using a tool like Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder (mentioned below), you can easily track the source of your traffic and gather valuable data to inform your strategy.
Add a Compelling CTA in Your Bio
Whether you choose to add one or five links to your bio, they can easily blend in with the rest of your profile. Consider adding a compelling Call to Action at the end of your bio to make your list of links more visible to Instagram users. You can even enhance its visibility by including an emoji.
Remember that bios are limited to 150 characters, and Instagram automatically truncates text, so it may not display in full. To leverage this space effectively, keep your bio concise and add a CTA at the end. Double-check to ensure that your profile fully displays the most critical elements.
When to Consider Using a Third-Party Link in Bio App or a Custom Landing Page
When Instagram first introduced its expanded internal linking option, many believed that third-party apps would become obsolete. However, even after a week of Instagram’s launch, only a few brands have switched. This suggests that links in bio tools still provide value compared to Instagram’s native links.
Fortunately, numerous Instagram-ready tools are available to create a mobile landing page tailored to your brand. Whether you require eCommerce capabilities or want to make your grid more interactive, draw inspiration from the following ideas.
Enhance Your Brand’s Grid with Interactivity
Even if you add five links to your Instagram profile, it can still be challenging to encourage users to tap and follow the right link. In many cases, you may waste caption space by explaining which link to tap or, worse, adding the URL directly in the caption.
Apps like SproutLink offer interactive options for your Instagram content. Although you can’t directly link to them from your feed content, these apps replicate your grid and make each feed post or reel clickable.
For example, @bamboohr uses SproutLink as an Instagram landing page. Their feed posts contain links to various resources, such as newly published blog posts, company news, and product updates, making it easy for users to navigate and access relevant content.
This type of app allows you to add a different link to each item in your grid, providing you with endless possibilities. For example, you can link to a relevant blog post from one carousel and direct users to a webinar from another. You can also include links to booking pages or lead magnets, which can help drive bottom-of-the-funnel goals.
Simplify Online Shopping for Your Instagram Followers
Instagram shops are a fantastic option for eCommerce brands, offering in-app shopping and features like product tagging. However, other ways exist to encourage your Instagram followers to shop at your online store.
Apps like Later’s Linkin.bio provide interactive grids that streamline the shopping experience. Instead of linking to content resources, this app allows you to directly connect to your eCommerce products or collections.
Let’s look at how @levainbakery uses Linkin.bio to add an interactive element to their cookie-focused feed. By tapping on the posts, customers can easily shop for cookie gift boxes and branded merchandise or even place local pickup orders.
With the creator’s permission, brands can even include links to user-generated content, providing more value to their Instagram strategy. This approach can be more impactful than simply adding native links (or even five) to your bio.
Drive Traffic to Your Owned Website
Apps like SproutLink, Linkin.bio, and Linktree are designed with Instagram users in mind, making them highly appealing. These landing pages are mobile-friendly and integrate seamlessly with your Instagram grids. No coding is required. As a marketer, all you need to do is set up the necessary integrations and add links to your feed content.
While these apps are convenient, other options are available. You can always drive traffic directly to your company’s website. However, it’s important to note that including a link to your home page in your bio may need to be optimized for Instagram.
This landing page is optimized for Instagram users, using square thumbnails reminiscent of the grid and providing a title for added context. In addition, the introductory text is kept short, allowing multiple eye-catching images to be displayed above the fold.
A custom landing page is a fantastic choice if your team has coding capabilities. Remember that you’ll need to update the landing page regularly or set up automation to add a link and thumbnail whenever you publish new blog posts or launch new products.
Instagram’s expanded linking capabilities offer marketers more options for driving external traffic. The app’s built-in feature to add multiple links is a reliable choice for businesses and creators looking for a simple setup. However, third-party apps provide greater functionality, making them the preferred option for brands with eCommerce shops and more complex goals.