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Why does Instagram restrict the use of hyperlinks?

April 12, 2023

Ever notice the lack of links on Instagram?
There are only 2 situations where you can place hyperlinks. 

Spaces or links are possible on Instagram: 

Stories are the only content where you can find links that redirect to external sites. The link takes the form of a sticker; you can customize the text of the link and its appearance. The other only place where you can find a link, is in the bio – but you are only allowed one.

To get around this obstacle, many creators use “linktree”. Whaaaat?!?!?  More seriously, a linktree is a web page that includes all the platforms where the creator is present, with the presence of a link to redirect to the social network, website, product, etc…

The strategy of Instagram : 

Centralize everything

We’re not teaching you anything: Instagram is free. And in business, if you are not the customer, you are the product. But what do you spend? Your time and attention. The more time you spend on the app, the more profit the app makes. 

The goal is to limit the links on the platform, to keep you on the app for as long as possible. If Instagram gives you the opportunity to go elsewhere, the platform will lose traffic. Less traffic means less money for Instagram.

How does Instagram achieve this? 

Originally, the platform bought by Meta existed only to publish photos. Then it evolved to sharing groups of photos (carousel), then videos, etc… 

The 4th social network almost capsized several times, with the breakthrough of competitors. And to stay afloat, Instagram has adopted certain features of its competitors to stay current and keep its users. The Stories feature has been copied from Snapchat, including the close friend feature that takes the idea of private Stories. And the transformation of videos also spilled over into Reels, to fight against TikTok.

The major change is indeed the addition of the Instagram marketplace. You can now build a cart on the platform. And to make it easy for users, some posts that promote products have buttons that redirect to the product. Just click, choose your size, and add to your cart: a real visibility boost for brands at the expense of a commission.

However, the addition of the marketplace suffered strong criticism at the beginning of its implementation.  A tab had been added to the bottom navigation bar, alongside “home”, “search”, “create” and “profile”, and had taken the place of the notifications tab. Complaints arose about the new button location that pushed users to click on it by reflex, and the heavy marketing angle that the platform started to take. The tab then disappeared to “simplify browsing and connecting with friends”, Meta announced in the fall of 2022. 

How does Instagram get you to stay on the platform? 

To keep you on the app, Instagram has developed several strategies. 

One is to make you feel the need to not miss out on anything happening on the page. This is done through Stories: this feature is only available for 24 hours, after which it disappears – unless you decide to archive your most beautiful Stories.

In 2022 another feature disappeared: the swipe-up. Even if you click on a link you never really leave the application. It opens a web browser within the app, and lets you view websites with a continuous option to close the web page and return to Instagram at any time. 

Instagram had perfectly succeeded in integrating this feature, which even became an expression. However Meta later decided to replace the swipe-up with the sticker link button. The rate of redirection to links outside the app was seen to be too high and created a loss of revenue for Instagram. Following this change, many creators and creators complained about a significant drop in click rates.  

You can now make the connection between Instagram and the lack of link


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