From Swipe-ups to Stickers: Instagram’s newest update

With Instagram announcing that it is ditching the ‘swipe-up’ link in Instagram stories in favour of clickable stickers, here’s what the change means for brands.

By Shauna Madden, Head of Social & Paid Media at Ilk.

Since August 30th, Instagram has been rolling out the retirement of the tried-and-tested swipe-up link and replacing it with clickable stickers.

It might not sound like much, but it’s a pretty major change.

The swipe-up feature has been used for years to allow verified brands and businesses with over 10k followers (the number isn’t actually confirmed anywhere, but unofficially, it’s well known to be 10k) to drive traffic to their website.

But what does this change really mean for businesses and brands?

More creativity in stories

The reality is, the swipe up button has always been a little bit uninspiring.

Despite having a series of GIFs, stickers and hashtags grab users’ attention, the simple button hasn’t offered creators much control over what their story looks like and even the way users interact with it.

The move to stickers will ultimately allow content creators and brands to have greater control over the look and feel of their Stories. The new link stickers will allow for different styles and sizes, and can be placed anywhere on the Story to maximise engagement.

We’d expect to start seeing more interesting uses of stickers in stories — with brands now embracing an even greater degree of  creative freedom.

More follower interaction

Perhaps the most exciting change is the way that users can now engage — such as, react and reply — with posts that have the link stickers attached, just like with any other Story.

Before the change, users weren’t able to react or add feedback to the Story, as the only option was to swipe-up and visit the intended website destination.

Adding in this extra layer of interactivity in posts means that brands no longer have to choose between engagement metrics and traffic driving metrics, and can combine the two in a more effective way. Anything that improves two-way user interaction is a positive for brand building.

More accounts eligible?

While the minimum follower threshold for the new feature hasn’t officially been reduced, Instagram did leave a beacon of hope for those accounts with fewer than 10k followers — saying that they are considering rolling this feature out to further accounts, after an initial testing period.

Consideration isn’t confirmation, of course, but it’s something that’s never been teased before.

No-one can yet predict whether that means more people will be able to utilise the option, and the impact that may have long-term, but I’m sure many new or smaller account owners will be keeping their eyes peeled for this outcome.

What does this mean for the future?

Ultimately, this is yet another step in the direction of Instagram’s roadmap towards enhanced user experience — a move away from being just a ‘photo sharing’ app.

The platform is demonstrating a desire to keep users coming back for more — now with growth as a direct traffic driver, as well as building on their in-app purchase features to streamline the way users shop via the app.

As such, the channel will be able to add more value for brands looking to use it to find and convert valuable customers.

Photo by Kate Torline on Unsplash

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