Instagram’s swipe feature in stories has been a beneficial tool for companies and influencers alike to share external web pages with their followers.
But with Instagram’s recent decision to remove this option and replace it with a sticker, users have been given more opportunities to share external links and have creative control over their Instagram Story experience.
So, Why The Change?
Instagram says the new change will see the retirement of the swipe-up feature, providing more creative freedom throughout the story experience.
The feature will allow users to format stickers to their liking, rather than the previous option of using limited existing GIFs.
The existing feature of the swipe-up was limited to verified users or users with 10,000 or more followers, so the new change will hopefully see the introduction in allowing more Instagram users to apply external links to their stories.
With the recent call from Instagram saying it’s no longer a photo sharing app, the move to introduce stickers that allow engagement in the app appears to be a conscious decision to keep users on the platform, even when visiting external sites advertised by companies or influencers.
How Does It Work?
While this change has already been implemented, the introduction of stickers as a link was trialled in June to a limited number of users, in order to explore the option of opening up the ability for all users to experience.
While the previous method required the user to swipe up to view the link, the new stickers will allow the user to tap and open. With the introduction of these link stickers, followers are also able to message and reply to stories, something which we were previously unable to do on stories with external links.
Stickers are more in line with current social media trends and accessibility expectations that current users prefer to see on social media platforms.
While the stickers look and function the same way as previous stickers available on the app, the creative control that has been given to users with this new function allows the user to have a say over how their story looks.
This allows users to control where they want to place the stickers for more engagement, and toggle things like size and styles.
What issues are involved?
Due to the world’s current climate and current issues sparking debate, Instagram is still evaluating whether to release this function to all users.
With the new stickers available for users to post, the increased risk of the spread of misinformation and slander is high, with Instagram wanting to ensure that integrity and safety is maintained before determining if expansion to all users is feasible.
Along with the risk of misinformation and slander spreading on Instagram through the new sticker function, Instagram has also implemented a new safety feature for users who experience cyberbullying and abuse.
The application allows users to limit the amount of private direct messages (DMs) and comments during spikes of increased engagement to limit the harm and risk of abuse on some of their users. The app will also see an increase in warnings given to those who breach these rules, especially users who use offensive or vile language.
What does this mean for businesses?
While the swipe up feature was extremely beneficial for companies and influencers to promote and potentially sell products, the removal of this feature and the replacement with stickers will still allow users to promote external links. However, it will no longer be exclusive to those with large followings.
The introduction of stickers allows for your followers to interact and communicate with you in regard to external links, a feature which was not available before with the swipe-up function.
Businesses and influencers should still utilise the sticker functions to their full advantage, as Instagram has found 58% of people are more interested in businesses after finding them on a story, while 50% of people are more likely to purchase something from an external link they saw on an Instagram story.
Instagram stories are influential on users and consumers, meaning this new introduction gives more flexibility and creative control to share external links to enhance follower engagement.
While the introduction of stickers is currently only available for users who previously had the swipe-up function, hopefully the feature will soon be available to all users.
We believe this tool will be particularly beneficial for smaller companies and influencers who previously did not have enough followers to participate. This tool should be used to its full advantage, giving businesses more creative control over how they promote items, and how their users can interact with them.