Instagram now allows up to five links in a user bio, but is this bad news for the smartlink solutions economy?
Instagram announced earlier this week the rollout of a new feature enabling users to add up to five links to their profile bios, allowing more ways for users to direct their followers to their online businesses or other content. The company touts this as a top request among creators, but such a late rollout punches down at alternative solutions that have long thrived under Instagram’s failure to adapt to its community’s needs.
Linktree and similar solutions came about due to platform limitations on social networks like Instagram, which have long prevented users from adding multiple links directing traffic to other sites for fear it would detract from their own ecosystems.
TikTok’s limitations are notoriously more strict — only those with business accounts can have clickable links in their bios, making it harder for the average user or creator to direct fans and followers to other sites.
This limitation may be a driving factor for Instagram in expanding access to links, hoping to lure creators from TikTok. In the announcement, Instagram even mentions that multiple links in a profile will be available to “all accounts,” not just businesses.
Meta says users may link to any URL that abides by its Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, and links are scanned to ensure they are not harmful. Linktree links and those from other link-in-bio platforms are not blocked, nor are there plans to oust them in the future — but those links no longer open in a separate browser window, instead opening inside the Instagram app. To open links in a browser window, users must tap the ellipsis menu and choose “open in system browser.”
Instagram also allows users to add a link to their Facebook profile with a dedicated linking option separate from the five multiple links. This link appears more “official” than regular links, with a rounded Facebook icon. There are no customization options like small icons for other links in a user’s profile.