Link-in-bio providers add 10-15% to Instagram referral traffic


Instagram has 500 million daily active users and a billion monthly users, making it the third most popular social media platform. Yet, it sends just a tiny fraction of the amount of traffic back to sites that Facebook does. Twitter, with one-third of the active monthly users Instagram has, still sends five times the traffic in terms of page views.

Link in Bio products might be solving some major marketing hurdles on Instagram. When we examined the Link in Bio referrals, we found an additional 10-15% of traffic coming from Instagram.

Each of these platforms’ referral volume has seen triple-digit % growth in the time frame we looked at, May 2018-April 2019. There doesn’t seem to be a dominant market leader in the Link in Bio category; a wide number of them are used across accounts. Most likely, more exist than we were able to account for in this study. The growth in these referral rates comes both from these products’ ability to drive more traffic and the increase in their adoption by innovative social media teams.

Instagram’s referral traffic problem

Instagram’s platform makes it difficult to share links, and this limits how many people come from the platform to your site. The two options available to anyone are a static link in the Bio section (commonly referred to as “Link in Bio”), and links made available through a paid ad campaign. Accounts with over 10,000 followers have a third option of adding links to stories so people can swipe up.

Altogether, these sources accounted for a 4% growth in traffic from Instagram to content in 2018.

The rise in referrals from Link in Bio products indicate that organizations are complementing the on-platform engagement through stories, IGTV, and in-feed promotion with a single, simple curation tool for all they have to offer.

Unless you’re being overly clever with your UTM parameters (and you shouldn’t be), these referrers are going to show up as *,, or–not But accounting for these domains, you might see your total Instagram referrals jump up 10-15%.

Link in Bio products create a landing page that allows you to assign links to what you’re showcasing on Instagram per post. They solve a few major problems:

  • They allow users to find more than one product or story at once.
  • They make sure links stay live even after newer posts or stories are added. This solves the “I clicked on this link for chocolate cake and you showed me a salad” problem (hm? just me?)
  • They allow you to link to content to multiple domains.
  • They create a one-stop-showcase for interested users, acting as a landing page or home page.

While, as I mentioned above, no single Link in Bio product dominates, and there seems to be a wide number of products available to use, we do see some that are more popular than others in terms of adoption.


However, referral rates do not correlate with these adoption rates, likely for a few reasons. First, the specific Link in Bio products probably have little effect on the rate of referrals, meaning it’s more important to put effort and attention into your Instagram strategy overall than choose the perfect product. Second, these referral rates by product are heavily influenced by the size of the existing audience. A few large media properties using a single product will heavily influence the total number of referrals sent.

Listen: it would be grand if Instagram would just save users a click and support hyperlinks in captions. At this point though, it’s pretty clear that not allowing this action is a feature, not a bug. From influencers to premium brands: the goal of this platform is community building, not click-through rates.

In the meantime, consider what kind of content works well on Instagram, and of course, consider ways to use the platform for engagement beyond traffic driving.

Digiday highlighted Bleacher Report‘s efforts to drive app downloads through the social platform. Vogue has been recognized for both their creative strategies and business results through Instagram.

And we’re looking for more examples of successful engagement strategies. Follow an account that you think really does amazing things? Are you doing amazing things on there? Nominate the best accounts to follow for engagement inspiration, and we’ll highlight them in a future post.