Recently, we have conducted a series of “What Data Says” case studies and analyzed the influence of link placement in LinkedIn’s engagement and where it’s best to place links in Facebook posts for better engagement.
And because we couldn’t forget about everyone’s favorite, Instagram, in today’s case study, we continue our quest and extend this research series by trying to uncover if placing the phrase “link in bio”’ in the caption influences the Instagram engagement on a post level.
The phrase “link in bio” has become a norm for Instagram captions.
You’ve probably seen it yourself many times when scrolling on the app.
In fact, this practice is so prevalent on Instagram that it even has its own set of stickers that you can add to Instagram Stories.
Since its launch, Instagram has limited all accounts to a single clickable link in the bio. This link can be used to direct people outside of the app, so it’s no surprise that marketers looking to drive traffic to their websites started using it.
How does the “link in bio” phrase influence Instagram engagement? To answer this question once and for all, we analyzed 78,662,277 Instagram posts from a total of 92,724 Instagram pages. This study was conducted in partnership with Lightspan Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Chicago.
How does the “link in bio” placement in captions affect Instagram posts’ performance?
1. Instagram posts that don’t include the phrase “link in bio” in the caption slightly outperform Instagram posts with that phrase.
2. Only 32.4% of the brands place the “link in bio” phrase in Instagram captions.
3. The most performing type of content on Instagram is a carousel with an engagement rate per post of 0.58%.
Here’s a sneak peek of what this case study will cover:
How do Instagram posts with or without the “link in bio” phrase in the caption perform?
How many Instagram posts have the “link in bio” phrase in their caption?
What’s the most engaging type of post on Instagram?
B. Key findings
Here is what 78,662,277 Instagram posts from a total of 92,724 Instagram pages tell us about the performance of Instagram posts with “link in bio” in the captions.
Instagram posts without the phrase “link in bio” in their captions perform better than those with the phrase.
Only 32.4% of the brands add the phrase “link in bio” in their Instagram posts’ captions.
The type of Instagram post that receives the most engagement across the board is a carousel, with an engagement rate per post of 0.58%.
1. Instagram posts without the phrase “link in bio” in the caption slightly outperform Instagram posts with that phrase
There are two ways of inviting the audience to access the link from an Instagram bio.
The first way is to mention it in Instagram Stories by adding the “link in bio” sticker regardless of the account size, thanks to Instagram’s update from October 2021.
While this tactic may seem cool due to its visual aspect, we all know that Instagram Stories are ephemeral.
So the other way is to add the classic phrase “link in bio” in your Instagram captions.
So why do brands choose to add an Instagram link in their bio?
This marketing tactic is essential for brands that want to drive audiences to their website from Instagram, considering how the platform limits users to one permanent link in someone’s profile bio.
But what impact does this practice have on the engagement of the Instagram posts?
Our recent “What Data Says” series of case studies regarding the placement of links in social media posts on Facebook and LinkedIn have shown that this tactic will lower the engagement level of those posts.
And this is no surprise, considering that every social media platform wants to retain users as long as possible, and placing a link to the posts is meant to do the exact opposite.
This theory also applies to Instagram, but what’s surprising is that the differences in engagement between posts that don’t have the “link in bio” phrase in the captions and those that have it are not significant.
For example, a single carousel posted on Instagram without the phrase “link in bio” added in the caption can get an engagement rate that is 0.34% higher than an Instagram post that has that phrase.
The same goes for images, as placing the “link in bio” phrase in the captions can downgrade the engagement from an average of 0.52% to 0.51%.
The theory is also supported in the case of videos, as posts without the “link in bio” phrase in their captions have a slightly higher average engagement rate (0.44%).
Suppose we try to decipher why the differences in Instagram engagement are not that significant compared to LinkedIn and mainly Facebook. The reason could be that having a link in the Instagram bio is not such a direct invitation to leave the platform as inserting links in the posts’ comments is.
Even if a post contains the phrase “link in bio” in the caption, the user would still have to leave the post, access that Instagram profile, and then click on the URL from the bio.
For this reason, the Instagram algorithm may not necessarily punish the posts that have the insertion “link in bio” in the captions.
2. Only 32.4% of the brands place the “link in bio” phrase in Instagram captions
Now that we’ve seen that the technique of placing the Instagram “link in bio” phrase in captions brings an overall lower engagement rate across all types of posts, let’s see how frequent this practice is among brands.
As the graphic below indicates, 32.4% of the Instagram posts analyzed used the “link in bio” phrase in their captions.
While this may not seem that much, it actually is compared to our other case studies.
In both Facebook and LinkedIn cases, more than 99% of the brands analyzed don’t have the habit of placing a link in the first comment of the social media posts.
So why are brands reluctant to add links in the first comment of their Facebook and LinkedIn posts but are more open to the idea of having an Instagram link in their bio?
This may be due to the variety of options you have when adding a link to your Instagram bio.
For example, there are a lot of link in bio tools on the market that will let you put together several link destinations and share them via a single URL.
This will provide an overall positive user experience since they can easily access all the resources in one place. This is also helpful from a business perspective since it will be less likely to lose out on potential leads and traffic.
Businesses can also personalize their Instagram link in bio to match their brand personality.
All in all, having a link in bio is important – it’s the getaway for your Instagram followers to become customers of your brand.
3. The most performing type of content on Instagram is a carousel with an engagement rate per post of 0.58%
To better picture how brands can enhance their Instagram presence by adopting different social media strategies, we also looked at how different Instagram types of content perform across the platform.
Because there is no use looking at how Instagram posts with the phrase “link in bio” in the caption perform if we don’t analyze which is the most performing type of post on Instagram.
As our analysis shows, carousels have the highest engagement rate per post of 0.58%, which doesn’t take us by surprise at all since our Instagram engagement study has demonstrated that carousels are getting more likes than any other media type.
They also increase brands’ chance of getting higher reach rates, according to the same study.
Images come in second place, with an engagement rate per post of 0.52%, which again only makes sense since this is how Instagram started.
Videos are in third place, with an average engagement rate of 0.43%. But don’t let this fool you because short-form videos are on the rise.
For example, the same Instagram engagement study has shown that people are more open to comment on video posts across all profile sizes.
So when you’re defining your business and social media goals for the year, keep in mind that Instagram posts without “link in bio” insertions in the captions gain slightly more engagement than those that contain that phrase.
To maximize your Instagram marketing strategy potential, try to incorporate more carousels in your social media strategy for a chance of obtaining an even higher engagement rate.
The “link in bio” tactic, essential if you are running a business Instagram page, has become a standard sign-off in Instagram captions.
And just like any other social media marketing trend, rumors started circulating the internet. Marketers have begun to wonder if the Instagram algorithm “punishes” posts that include the words “link in bio” in the caption.
Our analysis has proven that this is true, as Instagram posts without the words “link in bio” in their captions perform slightly better than those with the phrase across all types of posts.
However, 32.4% of the brands analyzed add the phrase “link in bio” in their Instagram posts’ captions, which means this technique is pretty standard.
While we know that data never lies, there is no standard recipe for social media success. So next time you’re planning your Instagram marketing strategy, you might want to try adding a link in your Instagram bio and see how it goes.
To determine how the “link in bio’” in caption influences the Instagram posts performance, we analyzed 78,662,277 Instagram posts from a total of 92,724 Instagram pages published between January 2021 and January 2022.
The Instagram profiles analyzed in this case study have a following base of more than 1,000.
We define engagement as the sum of interactions gained by an Instagram business page – which covers likes and comments.
The average engagement rate per post (by followers) on Instagram is calculated as the total engagement (likes and comments) divided by the number of posts the profile published. The result is then divided by the number of followers, and all multiplied by 100.