February 22, 2018 Last updated on November 18th, 2019
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With over 300 million daily users, Instagram Stories has been one of the biggest successes for the platform since it began. And with the growth of Stories, we’ve also seen new opportunities to drive Instagram traffic to external blogs, websites or social media accounts – great news for brands and social media marketers!

Whereas we used to rely on the link in our bio as the only way to drive traffic from Instagram, we can now utilize Stories in a number of different ways to promote content outside of the platform. This post will look at how you can do just that, regardless of whether you’re a business with over 10,000 followers, or just starting out and looking to grow organically.

How to Drive Instagram Traffic with Stories in 4 Simple Steps

How to Drive Instagram Traffic with Stories in 4 Simple Steps

1. Adding Links to Stories to Drive Instagram Traffic

At this point in time, only Business Profiles with over 10,000 followers are able to add links to their Stories. If you’re in this category – lucky you! Being able to add direct links to Stories is the easiest way to drive your Instagram traffic to a number of different pages within a short period of time. You also have loads of options to entice your audience to click through (way more than when you’re using the ‘link in bio’ method).

To add a link out to a blog post, product page or pretty much whatever you like, just go to Stories, upload your video or photo, and then select the link symbol at the top of the screen.

Next, you’ll be prompted to add the URL you want your Story to link to. You have the option to edit/replace it before you share your Story with the world.🌎

add links to Stories to drive Instagram traffic

When anyone views your Story, they’ll see a small ‘See More’ CTA at the bottom of the screen with an arrow to Swipe Up. It’s fairly hidden, so get creative and draw some attention to it. For inspiration, take a look at how blogger and Instagrammer @gretastravels highlights the link and encourages users to ‘Swipe Up’.

add text and arrows to Stories to drive Instagram traffic

TOP TIP: 🌟 Make the most of Instagram’s fonts, gifs and emojis to create an eye-catching Story that helps you get more click-throughs. Use the pen to draw arrows that direct the user to swipe up, and let them know exactly what they can expect to see when they do! 🌟

2. Tagging Your Profile in Stories

Another thing you’ll notice in @gretastravels Story is that she tags her own profile. But why would you tag your own profile in your Story? Well, if you don’t have the ability to add direct links to drive Instagram traffic, it’s a good way to send those viewing your Story to your profile, and to the link in your bio in particular.

In Stories, the username is displayed in the top left corner and is actually pretty small, so tagging your profile just makes it even easier for viewers to click through.

Even though relying on the link in your bio can be limiting, Stories and the bio link actually go hand in hand. This is especially true if you’re still building up your following. Just make sure that if you’re using Stories to promote the a link in your bio, that the link is up to date and relevant. Also, remember that you can post as many Stories as you like within a 24 hour period, but you shouldn’t be promoting different links – stick to one link to drive as much Instagram traffic as possible before your Stories disappear (and avoid confusing your followers!).

3. Selecting Instagram Story Highlights

If you don’t want your Story to disappear after 24 hours, you can add it to your Story Highlights on your profile, where it will stay until you decide it’s time to replace it.

Story Highlights can be found underneath the bio on an Instagram profile – they’re the small circular icons that look similar to the profile icons in the original Stories feature.

So how do you add Story Highlights to your profile?

Once you’ve uploaded a Story, it will automatically save to your private archive on Instagram (only you are able to see this). To access the Stories in your Archive, tap the Archive icon on your profile. There, you’ll see all of your Stories, with the most recent at the bottom.
add Stories to your highlights to drive Instagram traffic

To add a Story from your Archive to Highlights, just click on the ‘+ New’ circle under the Story Highlights.

add highlights to drive Instagram traffic

Select the circle in the bottom corner of the Stories you want to upload as Highlights and then select ‘Next’.

drive Instagram traffic with Stories highlights

Finally, give your Highlight a name. You can use Highlights to promote individual campaigns, products, or blog posts.
Check out how National Geographic separate their Story Highlights by countries, cities and themes to promote their website content:

NatGeo drive traffic from Instagram Story highlights

Whether you add links to the Stories themselves, or use the techniques I mentioned before to direct users to the link in your bio, Story Highlights are a great way to drive traffic from Instagram – so take advantage of it!

You can now get Instagram Stories analytics on Iconosquare! 👏 Sign up for a free 2-week trial!

4. Running Ads to Drive Instagram Traffic

If you have some budget to invest into your Instagram strategy, you should be giving ads a go. With more and more content (particularly Stories) appearing on the platform, you’re up against a lot of competition. Advertising is a great way to ensure your Stories actually get seen, and to control who actually sees them. If you haven’t started using Instagram Stories Ads yet, here’s how to set up your first campaign:

Step 1) As with a normal Ad campaign, you need to choose your objective. In this case it’s going to be traffic, or if you want to optimize for downloads or sign-ups when the user clicks your URL, you’ll want to choose conversions.

Instagram traffic ad campaign

Step 2) After you’ve selected your audience as you normally would, go to ‘Placements’ and select ‘Instagram’ and ‘Stories’. Select this placement only, as the size and formatting of your image should be specifically optimized for Stories (it won’t look good anywhere else!).

Instagram traffic ad campaign for Stories

Step 3) After choosing the placement and deciding on a budget, it’s time to actually build the ad. For Stories ads, you can either upload a single image or a video. Keep in mind that the recommended dimensions for images are 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Create ads to drive Instagram traffic

Then just add your URL, and you’re ready to publish your first Stories Ad! 🎉

Hopefully this post has given you some good ideas on how to maximise your traffic with Instagram Stories, and you’re now feeling confident to get creative with all the available features. If you still feel like you need some tips to make your Stories more engaging, have a look at this post on creating better Instagram video content

For more Instagram tips and insights, download a free copy of the Instagram Marketing Trends & Benchmarks Report for 2018 now:

How to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

About the author
Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin Hughes

Caitlin is a Content Marketing expert at Iconosquare, based in Berlin. She’s passionate about creating ROI-driven content strategies and sharing her best tips on social media marketing. She’s also into true crime, loves ‘80’s music, and spends too much time online shopping.

More posts by Caitlin Hughes

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