Evocative filters effortlessly lend photos creative flair, fluid story telling allows for robust and changing content, and IGTV offers long-format videos. Instagram is deeply engaging to viewers and is now the golden child of marketing professionals. In fact, Instagram now has over one billion active monthly users, ranking third only to Facebook and YouTube among social media boehemeths. According to Stastista, more than half of those users engage with the platform every day.
In addition to its massive reach, Instagram is very much a mobile-centric platform with an emphasis on the app experience. The photo filters and camera that are central to the platform, however, are only available in the app. As a result, savvy marketers develop content and engagement strategies not only from a mobile-first perspective, but from an app perspective. That means leading visitors back into the Instagram app experience or leading visitors from the Instagram app experience to a brand’s app or website.
Pro Tip: Want to link to your mobile app from Instagram stories? It’s a great way to find out what percentage of people clicking all ready have your app installed. You can set your app deep link to open your app if it’s already installed and choose whether to send the user to the app store or to your website if it’s not installed. To create a link to your app for Instagram stories, start by entering the App Store or Google Play link in the box provided on the URLgenius home page. That watch your app installs grow!
How to Leverage Instagram’s Content Channels
1. Photos: Launched in 2010, Instagram’s first iteration was much simpler than the platform we know today. It featured the classic photo posting stream that helped change the way consumers interact with brands and has become iconic to the Instagram experience. The most visually static aspect of Instagram, the photo stream has a more lasting and front-and-center feel than stories and videos. Marketers should curate their imagery while thinking about the lifespan of the content and understand what types of images get the most engagement. The best performing images can than be used in re-marketing efforts with links that go directly to specific images instead of always sending visitors to the brand’s main profile page.
When linking to specific Instagram pics, however, marketers need to avoid sending users to the Instagram mobile site, which prompts the user to log-in. Visitors can see public profile content but will get frustrated when trying to follow the brand or engage by liking or commenting. Instead of logging into the website, that interruption typically makes consumers abandon their content journey. This can easily be solved with Instagram app deep linking – or links that will open the Instagram app for iOS and Android. Using tools like URLgenius which don’t require any technical assistance or implementation, marketers can deep link to specific photos in the Instagram app from any marketing channel to maximize audience engagement.
2. Hashtags Now a common tactic for promoting brands and campaigns, hashtags accompany posts as a way of earmarking content for users to view and search a gallery-like collection of images which may inspire consumers participate or spark social media conversations. Marketers can use virtually any platform to drive traffic to Instagram hashtags. As with links to photos, a typical web URL for an Instagram hashtag often leads users to the Instagram mobile website which prompts the visitor to login. As mentioned above, frustrated and busy users will quickly abandon the journey when faced with web login roadblocks.
Make sure the link to your campaign hashtag can open the Instagram app for iOS and Android. Simply navigate to the hashtag and grab the link from the address bar of your browser and then paste it into a deep linking platform to compose an updated link. Then the link will open directly to the hashtag in the app for iOS and Android.
3. Stories: Launched in 2016, Instagram stories have unleashed a whole new social landscape for marketers to consider and integrate into their marketing mix. Stories are more ephemeral and fluid in nature–here today and gone tomorrow–and allow marketers to capitalize on consumer impulse. As Instagram users began to grow accustomed to watching stories content, a new opportunity presented itself to marketers: linking from stories to a brand’s app or website. When placing links within Instagram stories, however, consider that Instagram uses an embedded browser. The deep link to the brand app will need the ability to work with embedded browsers to ensure the app will open to the right profile or screen. To enable your brand app for deep linking, just send a request to a deep linking platform to have your app added to their platform which should not require a fee.
4. IGTV Videos: In 2018, Instagram evolved its platform even further when it launched Instagram TV (IGTV). Previously, to post a video in the photo stream, Instagram allowed for clips that were one minute or less. Now, long-format video content can be posted to IGTV that is up to one hour long presenting an opportunity for highly sustained engagement. When promoted on other social sites and marketing channels, however, Instagram links to IGTV videos will also typically send visitors to the Instagram mobile website where consumers must login to see, follow, like or comment on the content.
Removing that dreaded login barrier will not only get you more views, it will help increase consumer engagement which improves your signals for Instagram remarketing. To avoid that mobile web login, deploy a solution for deep linking to IGTV videos.
5. Linking from Instagram to Your Brand’s App: Thus far, we have covered linking into the Instagram app. Since audiences spend so much time in the Instagram app, however, marketers also have an opportunity to link from Instagram to their own mobile app. Marketers are now quickly catching on to this new app promotion strategy.
You can link to your app from Instagram stories or from a link in your brand’s main profile page. Consider a deep linking platform that is designed with marketers and agencies in mind vs. one that requires some type of technical installation. Cloud-based platforms don’t require SDKs or any technical implementation and let you start composing and testing links immediately.
“URLgenius allows our social team to provide a much better user experience. As a mobile app, we were not able to link to or from social apps easily. URLgenius allows us to instantly create deep links that lead our customers and prospects directly from what they see on social media into our application, which creates an opportunity to drive engagement, purchase and retention.” – Elsa Beard, Julie Lee and Linday Aamodt, IMVU Marketing
6. Linking from Instagram to Your Localized Websites: Marketers often link to their company website from their Instagram profile making the platform a popular channel that drives traffic to websites. Global brands, however, often have multiple localized websites in different languages, so the default strategy is to send all traffic to a country selector or to a site in international English.
A best practice, however, is to use a deep linking platform that can route traffic based on the visitor’s geographic locationand the language preference setting in the web browser. The same link should be able to route visitors to an unlimited number of localized websites or to your app the same campaign link. These types of links are an excellent way to increase traffic to localized sites and apps and can be used in any marketing channel including social advertising, organic social posts, and email.
7. Cross-linking Social Profiles with Deep Links: Is your social presence strong on one platform and yet weak on another? Bolster your social presence by linking from one social app to another using app deep links. For example, in YouTube videos, marketers can link to Instagram profiles or to specific pictures. Another example is linking to your Instagram profile from Facebook Messenger bots. Whether you can you can link from one social app to another is up to the app in question. Instagram for example, does not allow linking to Snapchat. You’ll want to test your cross-platform deep linking strategies with a deep linking platform that can support embedded browsers and one that’s designed for agencies marketers.
Combined, all seven of these Instagram deep linking strategies are designed to help you get more from your Instagram budget – more followers, more likes, more comments and most importantly, more return on investment. Signup to URLgenius and compose a deep link to your Instagram profile to get started.