Instagram is retiring the swipe-up link feature in Stories that allows users to direct their audience to external websites and will use link stickers — with additional business customization features — instead.
Earlier this year, Instagram announced its plans to give influencers more ways to make money through the branded content marketplace and other tools to entice content creators and brands to stick with the app. The latest change in the Instagram business toolkit is the removal of the swipe-up link feature, which will be replaced with link stickers starting on August 30, 2021, as reported by Tech Crunch and The Verge.
The notification from Instagram was first noticed by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong:
IG said the swipe up links will go away starting from Aug 30 and that I should use the “link sticker”
… but I searched my Stories Sticker sheet and I’m not seeing the link sticker at all (not rolled out to me).
Does that mean I’ll lose the ability to add links to my Stories?
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 23, 2021
The swipe-up feature has been used by businesses and creators with larger audiences to direct their Story viewers to websites where they can learn more about the advertised product, service, or engage with any other type of content. It’s only available to Instagram users who are either verified or have met a follower count threshold.
Although Instagram hasn’t publicly mentioned the follower count needed to unlock this feature, it has been reported by Influencer Marketing Hub to be at least 10,000 followers.
So, why the change? Instagram explains that it offers a couple of key advantages over the soon-to-be-retired swipe-up function. Firstly, it offers content creators and companies greater control over their Stories because the link stickers will allow for different styles and sizes, and they can be placed anywhere on the Story to maximize engagement. The swipe-up feature, on the other hand, is always interacted with at the bottom of the Story, which can interfere with the design or the message.
Additionally, Story viewers will be able to 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, and the only option has been to visit the swipe-up destination.
Although this update doesn’t change the criteria for who is able to use the link stickers, Instagram says it is considering expanding access to this feature to more accounts in the future. However, this move will require extensive research and testing because it opens up the door to accounts misusing it to spread false information or spam.
Again, the new link stickers feature will be available to qualified accounts starting on August 30th.
Image credits: Header photo licensed from Depositphotos.