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6 Ways Publishers are Driving Traffic Through Instagram

Driving traffic through Instagram is a lot harder than other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, but that’s not stopping publishers from trying to turn followers into readers. 

Instagram has evolved from a photo sharing app into a marketing machine, and since the introduction of links in stories and shoppable posts, Instagram users are now used to consuming news, reading blogs, and visiting websites from the app.

Not only are we seeing more and more publishers with large and engaged communities on Instagram, but we’re also seeing these publishers come up with interesting new strategies to turn their Instagram audiences into real-life readers. 

Wondering how you can drive traffic through Instagram?

In the following post, we look at 6 publishers and the different ways that they’re using Instagram to send traffic to their online content:

#1: Drive Traffic Through Instagram Stories & Regular Posts like Rolling Stone 

For a business that was founded in the late-1960s, Rolling Stone Magazine hasn’t had much trouble staying relevant.

It’s a testament to the amazing content they produce — but there’s also some strategy behind it. Taking a page out of Elise Darma’s playbook, Rolling Stone uses every Instagram tool at its disposal to drive traffic to its content, including both stories and regular Instagram posts.  

Just take a look at how the publisher recently promoted its latest issue. Along with sharing a carousel post of the front cover, @rollingstone also took to Instagram Stories to cross-promote their magazine and drive even more traffic through Instagram.

By using Instagram Stories to promote their regular post, Rolling Stone is promoting their content to a wider audience, who might not see their regular posts.

They’re also providing a better user experience for viewing the content, because their followers can just click once to read the article, without leaving the Instagram app or trying to find the link in their bio.

It’s a huge win-win and a great strategy for any publisher (or regular business) looking to drive traffic through Instagram back to their website.

traffic from instagram

#2: Capture Your Audience’s Attention with Engaging Quotes like Inc. Magazine

Using attention-grabbing pull quotes to break up blocks of copy is a common practice among publishers — but it also works on Instagram.

Just take Inc. as an example. The weekly magazine often uses quotes in their captions to not only grab people’s attention, but drive clicks back to the link in their bio.

It’s the perfect strategy for publishers. As we wrote in our guide to writing Instagram captionsa good Instagram caption is one that provides context, adds personality, and inspires your followers to take action — and that’s exactly what @incmagazine does with theirs.

From powerful statements to humorous reflections, Inc.’s captions are meant to draw readers in and capture their interest. And once they’ve done that, they include a short call-to-action asking viewers to “Read the full story in our bio,” which goes a long way in helping them drive traffic to their website. 

#3: Create Great Captions and Calls-to-Action like Fast Company

Like Inc. Magazine, Fast Company also takes great care with their Instagram captions, often using the space to offer little snippets of their content.

According to Stephanie Meyers, who is director of digital growth for Fast Company, “In general, people aren’t coming to Instagram for links, but we want to make it as easy as possible for our readers to be able to read more about the stories they connect with.”

To make this process easier, @fastcompany uses Later’s Linkin.bio feature, which allows them to drive traffic to multiple pieces of content, and direct readers to both new and old content, without changing the link in their bio.

According to Meyers, “Linkin.bio is an easy way of streamlining the process for our team to update links, which means we can include links for more posts, and it also helps readers find links to older content.”

Wondering how Linkin.bio works?

When a follower clicks on the link in Fast Company’s bio, they’re taken a mobile-optimized landing page that resembles their Instagram feed. From there, they can click on any of the images to find the content they’re looking for, allowing each Instagram post to have it’s own unique URL.

They can also visit Fast Company’s homepage by clicking the “Visit Website” button.

By posting eye-catching content with great captions and a clear call-to-action, Fast Company is able to drive even more traffic to their Linkin.bio page than they would otherwise.


#4: Drive Traffic Through Instagram Stories Highlights like Complex 

Since they first came around in December last year, businesses of all shapes and sizes have jumped on the Instagram Stories Highlights bandwagon, and that includes Complex.

But while most users share highlights to show off their products, Complex uses them to drive traffic to their feature articles.

It’s the perfect strategy for such a young and multimedia-based publisher — especially since Complex uses Instagram less as a marketing channel and more as a way to create and spread pop culture.

Nevertheless, the publisher is a pro when it comes to driving traffic through Instagram Stories Highlights. Just take a look at the highlight they created to promote their “The Best Rapper Alive” article: 

Rather than simply asking viewers to swipe up to read the article, @complex created three separate stories to tease the winner of this year’s edition. Only after viewers tapped through each of the stories were they able to click-through to the article on Complex’s website.

#5: Use Instagram Stories Polls to Drive Traffic like Variety 

Like Rolling Stone, Variety Magazine has been around for a while — 113 years to be exact. But that hasn’t stopped them from finding new channels to reach digital audiences and drive traffic back to their online content.

Just take a look at how they recently used Instagram Stories poll stickers to highlight a new article:

It’s all part of @variety‘s strategy to appeal to young, digital audiences. Given the focus of their content (entertainment news), which is something that Instagram users dine out on, it makes sense that Variety would explore every feature possible to attract new readers.

That’s why Instagram Stories is such a major part of their traffic-generating strategy. From takeovers to behind-the-scenes interviews and listicles, Variety is quick to jump on the latest Instagram Stories trends, which explains why they’re such a big user of the clickable Instagram Stories feature:

traffic through instagram

#6: Generate Interest with Video Content like Mashable 

It’s common knowledge that videos on Instagram tend to get more engagement than regular photo posts. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses avoid creating video content and miss out on this opportunity.

But not Mashable.

It certainly makes sense that Mashable would use video content to drive traffic through Instagram to their website. As one of the biggest tech-focused publishers out there today, creating engaging videos is right up their alley. But where @mashable breaks from the rest is in their ability to turn those video views into website clicks.

Due in part to the focus on their content, Mashable is a powerhouse when it comes to creating awesome videos that get people excited.

And to drive the message home, Mashable will often include a call-to-action at the end of their video instructing viewers to head to their website to learn more.

And like many leading publishers, Mashable uses Linkin.bio to create custom, clickable links for each Instagram post.

drive traffic through instagram

Ready to turn your Instagram followers into real-life readers?

Hopefully this post gives you all the inspiration you need to start driving traffic through Instagram to your own website!

Start driving serious traffic from Instagram with Linkin.bio by Later! Schedule Instagram posts, plan your feed, and track clicks, starting at $19/month for two Instagram profiles

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.

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