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How to Use Links in Instagram (The Right Way)

There's no disputing Instagram as a mega-player in digital brand marketing today. Unlike other players though, there exists a very purposeful obstacle for brands: it's difficult to use links in Instagram.

No linked images, no links in comments or captions - unless of course you're paying for Instagram ads. What's a savvy marketer to do? We've seen several common work-arounds:

Link to the brand's homepage in the bio: the most common approach, but does sending your audience to your homepage really inspire them to search out your promotion? Certainly doesn't satisfy the "right content, right time" mantra.

Change bio link based on promotional calendar: a more targeted approach, but it creates a lot of work for the marketing team to track and update the links as promotions drop. Plus, as the algorithmic updates move feeds away from chronological order (#InstagramChanges), this strategy may soon prove ineffective.

Sneak links into posts by spelling out "dot com" or putting spaces between each character in the link:


There's a better way!

The answer lies in branded short links. By using dynamic routing, you can place one branded link in your bio, then set up routing rules to direct traffic based on the time of day, date, device, language and country.

Let's look at an example from a consumer brand with an array of products and campaigns to showcase on Instagram:

adidas instagram home screen     adidas shoe instagram product post example

As you can see, Adidas is settling for sending users to their homepage. But take a look at the product post on the right - aren't they missing an opportunity to send them directly to the landing page for the Afterburner Collection?

Using dynamic routing, they could set up one link that routes users according to which Instagram post the social team is promoting. For example, when they post about the Afterburner cleat collection, they can point their bio link there. When they schedule their next post, promoting their "Speed Takes" video series featuring Olympic athletes, and they can schedule the same bio link to point to the Speed Takes campaign page instead.

The team can do this without changing the link in the bio or performing any other wizardry behind the scenes. Here's what it would look like in BudURL, using dynamic routing to send traffic to one place before 7/9/16 and a different destination after:


We don't mean to pick on Adidas. Using dynamic link routing to optimize traffic direction could revolutionize Instagram for lots of brands! For example:

  1. Route by device and send iPhone & Android users to the correct app download store without posting 2 different links
  2. Route by language to ensure your Spanish-speaking audience reaches your Spanish homepage without a second link or an interstitial page
  3. Route by time to expire time-sensitive campaigns and send visitors to a new place after the campaign has concluded
  4. Route by day to promote daily happy hour specials and ensure users see the right special on the right day with zero behind-the-scenes management
  5. Route by country and ensure your Canadian audience reaches the correct e-commerce store with no bumps in the road

BudURL offers dynamic link routing with every plan! Try it today (every plan comes with a 21 day free trial, or let's discuss how your brand can leverage this technology on Instagram (and beyond).

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