5 Ways to Drive Traffic With Instagram Stories

If you want to drive traffic to your website, Instagram presents a unique set of challenges. Thankfully, Instagram Stories has provided a new way for brands to get clicks and page views from their engaged Instagram audience.

The inability to add a clickable link to Instagram posts and captions has frustrated users for years.

With only one hyperlink to work with — the one in your Instagram bio —  you were forced to constantly swap out links, use a shoppable Instagram feed, or remind people to visit your profile a la #linkinbio.

Because of this, Instagram was often seen as a challenging tool for driving traffic.

But Instagram Stories are quickly changing that perception!

Instagram Stories provide an easier, more effective means of driving traffic back to your website or blog, and brands have been quick to adopt this feature as a part of their overall Instagram marketing strategy.  

Here are 5 great ways that you can drive traffic with Instagram Stories:

Sign up for our free Instagram Stories Course for tips on how to get more followers, traffic, and sales with Instagram Stories!


drive traffic with instagram stories

#1: Add Links to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

If your Instagram account is verified, or if you have over 10k followers and an Instagram business profile, driving traffic through Instagram has never been easier.

A year ago, Instagram introduced a new feature that allows you to add links to Instagram Stories that users can visit by just “swiping up” on the screen.

Adding links to Instagram Stories is even better than a hyperlink in the caption, because it allows you to use visuals — photos, video, and design — to really drive interest in your link.

Your visuals can also serve as a teaser or a preview of what they might expect on your website, online store, or landing page.

Quick tip: The “See More” call-to-action is quite small and can easily go unnoticed, so it’s a good idea to call it out using text, arrows, or some of the other design feature on Instagram Stories.

#2: Tag Your Own Profile to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

Unfortunately, if you have under 10,000 followers, Instagram won’t let you directly add links to Instagram Stories and you are still limited to just the link in your bio.

That being said, there is an Instagram Stories hack to get around this. No matter how many Instagram followers you have, you can still  tag users in stories , including yourself!

To do this, simply click on the capital “A” at the top right of the app when recording or posting a story, and type “@” followed by your username.

Instagram will automatically link that username to your profile in the story, creating a clickable link to your profile that your followers can use.

You could also just point them to the clickable username in the top right of a story, but that area is a bit harder for people to click on.

How does this help you drive traffic?

In your Instagram Stories, you can tease a product, article, downloadable, or anything else, and follow it up with a story that says something like “Visit the link in our profile for more info!”

Then drop in your own handle, and maybe even a few arrows or design elements to really highlight that you want people to click.

You’ll probably find followers a lot more willing to visit your profile when they’re enticed by your story and are one easy click away from that link.


#3: Use Highlights to Consistently Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

Just last week, Instagram released its biggest update of 2017: Instagram Stories Highlights and Archive. With the new features, you can create permanent collections of Instagram Stories that will live on your new Instagram profile.

Not only are Instagram Stories Highlights a great way to express your creative side and show off your products, but they’re great for driving traffic as well.

Before the update, users would have to either find your story in the Instagram Stories queue at the top of their feed or visit your profile and tap on on your display picture.

But now with Instagram Stories Highlights, you can group Stories that you’ve shared into highlights and feature them permanently on your profile (or until you decide to delete them).

They appear directly under your bio and above your Instagram feed and will play as a stand-alone story when someone taps on it, so this feature is literally front and centre on your profile.

So how does this help your drive traffic? Well, if you publish content on a blog or website, you can use the highlights feature to call attention to your latest posts.

Take @shutterstockcst for example. They use highlights to promote their individual blog posts. The first story of each of their highlights includes a call-to-action asking viewers to click on the link in their bio to read the full story. Following that, they’ll share Stories that provide extra context for the blog post, such as behind-the-scenes photos or content tidbits. 

@vancitywild takes a similar approach, but instead of asking viewers to click link in their bio, they use links in their Instagram Stories to drive traffic to their content.

If you’re a fashion or lifestyle brand, you can also use Stories Highlights to drive traffic to your new product arrivals or seasonal collections. For example, in the screenshot below @herschelsupply uses their highlights to drive traffic to promotions for children, women, and men. 

@glossier also recently used Stories Highlights to feature their Cloud Paint product. At the end of the story, there is a call to action to swipe up, which leads you to the online shop to actually purchase the product!

Basically, Instagram Stories Highlights makes it way easier to connect your followers with the landing pages you’re trying to send them to, be it blog posts or product pages. 

Haven’t used Instagram Stories Highlights yet? Check out our guide here!

#4: Do a Takeover or Work with Influencers to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories

A great way to both get Instagram followers and drive traffic with Instagram Stories is to tap into the networks of other Instagram users.

Instagram takeovers have now expanded to Instagram Stories, so seek out opportunities to “takeover” or “guest post” on someone else’s story.

Ideally, choose someone with over 10,000 followers so you can make use of their “swipe up” feature!

You can also swap Instagram Stories, so you are both able to benefit from reaching a brand new audience and driving new visitors to your website.

For example, here at Later we have some of our users takeover our Instagram Stories to share tips and tricks about Instagram marketing, and then we share that takeover as an Instagram Stories highlight on our profile.

For our guest posters, this gives them an opportunity to drive traffic to their own site by adding a “swipe up” link to their own website or relevant blog posts.

Instagram influencer marketing has expanded with the introduction of Instagram Stories, and it’s now common to pay Instagram influencers for sponsored Instagram Stories, too.

You can work with Instagram influencers to have them feature your product, mention you in their story, and add a hyperlink suggesting their followers swipe up. You can see an example of what that looks like on the @thefeedfeed story with @heritagedistilling below.

Instagram has introduced a “paid partnership” tag for stories like this, so that users comply with FCC regulations. If you’re wondering how to stay FCC compliant on Instagram, read our complete guide to disclosing sponsored Instagram posts here.

If you don’t have the budget to partner with a big influencer for a sponsored Instagram story, try finding a micro-influencer in a relevant industry and ask if they would be willing to do a content swap or trade product for promotion.

You could, for example, offer to write a guest post for them, or have them write a guest post on your own site, being sure to ask that they then share a link in their Story, like @thefeedfeed did in the second screenshot above for @lifeisbutadish.

Be creative, and make sure you choose a user whose audience matches the target of your website or blog.

#5: Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories Ads

When you’ve run out of organic options, there’s always Instagram advertising. Last March, Instagram made Instagram Stories ads available to all businesses.  
If you’re just getting started with Instagram advertising, you can check out our step-by-step guide to running your own Instagram ad campaign.

When creating ads for Instagram Stories, make sure to select “Traffic” as your objective and “Website or Messenger” for your objective parameters.

And then, when it asks you to “Edit Placements,” select Instagram Stories.

You can also define your call-to-action.

Now when someone sees your Instagram Stories ads, they can swipe up to visit the website that you’ve linked.

A Few More Tips to Drive Traffic with Instagram Stories:

  • Make sure you’re driving traffic to a site that is optimized for mobile: Almost all Instagram users are viewing the app on a mobile device, so you want your content to be viewable from their phone. Don’t go through all the trouble of driving them to your website only to have them land on an experience that isn’t optimized for the device that they’re on.
  • Track your clicks: Use Bit.ly, UTM codes, or another tool to track the links you’re using in Instagram Stories. This will allow you to see which links are getting the most clicks and what Stories your followers are most interested in. You may even be able to follow their user journey from Instagram to your site and any other touch points along your marketing funnel.
  • A/B test your Instagram Stories: As with Instagram advertising, it’s important to A/B test the messaging and creative in your Instagram Stories. The idea here is to find what content and CTAs is most likely to resonate with your audience — and convert into referral traffic.

The ability to drive traffic with Instagram Stories has totally changed the game for businesses.  Whereas you only had one hyperlink to work with on Instagram before, with Instagram Stories you can easily drive traffic back to your website or blog. That’s why so many brands have adopted the feature as a part of their overall marketing strategy. 

Are you using Instagram Stories to drive traffic? Let us know in the comments!

Sign up for our free Instagram Stories Course today!

Written By

Evan LePage