Instagram is rolling out a new feature for adding links to user profiles today that challenges Linktree, Beacons and a host of other “link in bio” solution providers. The company announced Tuesday that it now allows users to add up to five links to their Instagram profile bios, which can direct their followers to other content — such as their online businesses, brands they want to promote, causes they care about, or even their profiles on competing social platforms, among others.
The company says the feature is an in-demand feature among creators, but in reality it’s also an example of how Instagram’s failure to adapt to the needs of that community allowed alternative solutions to thrive.
Linktree and others came about largely because of platform restrictions, such as those on Instagram and other social networks, that for a long time prevented users from adding multiple links to other sites for fear that they would help direct users to content outside of their own apps. The platforms prefer to keep users trapped in Instagram or their own network, rather than potentially losing users’ time and engagement.
Instagram was not alone in making this choice. TikTok even limits clickable links in its bios to only those with business accounts these days, making it more difficult for regular users and creators to drive fans and followers to other websites.
Instagram’s decision to finally meet creators’ demand for more access to links-in-bio after all these years may, in fact, be due to complaints about TikTok’s tighter restrictions.
The company is likely seeing how extensive access to links can be viewed as a competitive advantage, potentially luring creators back to the app. Instagram is even calling for the ability to add multiple links to a profile to be available for “all accounts,” including business and creator accounts.
To use the feature, users tap “Edit Profile,” then “Links,” then “Add Eternal Link.” They can then drag and drop the links in the order they want them to appear.
When briefly testing the feature, we had no issues linking to competing platforms, like TikTok or YouTube for example. Moreover, under the option to add multiple links to other websites, Instagram also allows users to add a link to their Facebook profile with a special link option. This link looks more professional, with a rounded Facebook icon and text that says “Facebook Profile.” External links do not contain special customizations such as small icons.
However, the links do not open the respective website in a separate browser window – the link opens in the Instagram app. To go to your built-in browser, such as Safari or Chrome, you’ll need to tap the three-dot menu at the top of the page and choose “open in system browser.”
The new feature was announced in a brief post on Mark Zuckerberg’s broadcast channel. (Channels are a relatively new feature that allows creators to send one-to-many messages to their entire community.)
His post didn’t share much, except that support for multiple links in the bio was “probably one of the most requested features we’ve had.”