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26 May 2016 | Team Tamar

For + Against: Instagram’s LINK IN BIO

Generally speaking at Tamar the youngsters are on Snapchat and treat Facebook very casually, whereas the older (ahem) people are on Facebook, but don’t feel the need to add to their social repertoire with Snapchat.

This seems to be a pretty common theme amongst how the generations use social, but there is one platform we all use and that’s Instagram.

But we are digital marketing people, and there has always been a small frustration that we can’t link naturally in comments. Obviously we can do the normal Link in bio or we can sponsor ads and have a button, but if we want to add a link for further information without visiting the profile, we can’t.

So here are a few for the Link in Bio strategy and against meaning we can link out in comments:

AGAINST: BREAKS USER JOURNEY

The link in bio strategy drastically breaks up the user journey, which is a shame. We don’t want to spoil the experience for the user, so for example from the feed:

  1. Click to link to profile
  2. Click on link in bio
  3. Open safari?
  4. Yes – view information
  5. Back to profile
  6. Back to return to feed

Right – what were we looking at? 

However with sponsored ads it’s from the feed: 

  1. Click learn more – view information
  2. Close to return to feed.

While not being about to link from feed definitely deters people from leaving, it also means those eager to find out more, are far more likely to be lost in the fiddly process

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AGAINST: LACK OF SOCIAL SIGNALS

If you want to use Instagram naturally then it’s hard for it to compete with Twitter and Facebook. When you want to promote a brand’s campaign on Twitter, the traffic driven to key pages or information is key to measuring success and driving awareness. We’re digital marketers, so measurement is key. 

Instagram is much the self-contained app of brand awareness, so although it can be beautiful and interesting, it can also be the harder to use for campaigns, than the other key social platforms.

AGAINST: NATURAL GROWTH

Currently, if a brand wants to link out it has to pay for advertising. We’re not adverse to that on social, but natural growth is obviously at the heart of what we do.

From Instagram’s point of you, it’s pretty clever, as brands will pay to get noticed in your feed and that all important link, although advertising often becomes a blind spot, with users becoming immune to the feed – ad – feed – ad cycle.

If we could naturally link out, we could break this cycle a bit and allow brands to tell their story with a more relevant and natural approach, and users would as ever, have the choice.

FOR: MICRO-BLOGGING & STORY TELLING

One of the nice things about not being able to link out is it encourages Instagrammers to finish their stories in the app. If we could all link out easily, the temptation to start a story in Instagram and follow the link to read more would really change the way Instagram performs, and reduce the trend for micro-blogging. 

The key difference to Instagram from other key social platforms is that it has become a story-telling platform. Linking out could put an end to this, as Instagrammers lean towards driving traffic to their sites, rather than keeping users within the app.

I know, that’s the killer really. 

We can see that allowing users to link out could totally change the platform to be more like it’s counterparts, when what we love about it is that it’s different.

So we’ve come up with some rules, to keep Instagram’s integrity, but allow brands to do their job more naturally.

Definitely only on your own posts, otherwise it would be spam city. Maybe only in your first comment as well, so you can edit it easily, but not fill your comments with link after link.

We’re also thinking that it would be good if you could moderate it, so you could (potentially) pay for a limited amount of links per user. Instagram still make some cash, but we can naturally link out without it being a complete linking free-for-all.

Just a few ideas… but would be good to break the ad/feed/ad/feed cycle for brands and allow for some organic growth without ruining the platform we love.

Team Tamar