Instagram Stories & Publisher Traffic

Matt Karolian
2 min readNov 30, 2016


Not long ago, Instagram introduced the ability for verified accounts to include actionable links in their stories. This change has the potential to dramatically change Instagram’s value for publishers.

Over the past 8 days, we’ve published a number of stories to both the and instagram handles while measuring the traffic we recieved from each post.

Initial Findings, Four Key Points

  • There is great variation in performance. Some of the links we published garnered over 2,000 clicks while others came in at as low as 217 clicks.
  • CTR rates much higher than average Facebook posts. We are seeing between roughly 5% to 12% CTR on these instagram stories.
  • Lighter news seemed to drive engagement. For example, one of the stories that generated the most traffic was about Why Nova Scotia gives Boston its Christmas tree for free every year, while one of our lowest engaged with stories was a report by our Spotlight team.
  • Instagram users have have to be running the latest version of the app, or they will not be able to click on the link.

Collecting More Data

We will continue to test Instagram stories with links across our two flagship Instagram accounts. As we learn more, I’ll publish our findings here!

You might like reading How We Built’s Instagram .



Matt Karolian

2018 Nieman Fellow @ Harvard. I make things happen on the internet for The Boston Globe &