How to Increase Affiliate Earnings With Instagram Deep Links

What are Instagram deep links?

Instagram deep links are links that can open another app outside of Instagram instead of in an embedded in-app browser. One of the goals of Instagram is to keep the user in the app for as long as possible. There is a “garden wall” of sorts around the app that doesn’t allow the user to leave the app by clicking a link. The destination URL opens in a browser inside IG.

Why do Instagram deep links matter to influencers?

If you are an influencer who makes money from affiliate commissions, the “garden wall” around the IG app affects you greatly. Affiliate commissions are tracked by depositing cookie files on the browser of the user. When a link is opened in the IG browser, the consumer would have to complete the purchase there for the referring influencer to get credit. If the user closes the IG browser, the cookie dies. The cookies don’t transfer to the native device browser. I explain cookies in-depth in my LTK course.

When a retailer website opens in the embedded IG browser, users are not logged in. Many of them will not remember their password, and not want to log in to complete the purchase. They will instead view the item you recommend, and exit the browser to open the device browser or retailer app. You just lost the commissions from that sale.

affiliate link in embedded IG browser

LTK deep links vs direct Rstyle links

One way to escape the Instagram “garden wall” is to use an LTK deep link. Those are the LTK affiliate links that go to the LTK app. They already have the deep link technology built into them, and they force open the LTK app outside of IG. Direct-to-retailer affiliate links (rstyle links) are not deep links and they behave in the way I described above. That is why in my course I recommend against using direct rstyle links in IG stories in favor of LTK app links (among other reasons).

However, if you wanted to use direct Rstyle links, you can convert them with a third-party service like URLGenius as described below.

Deep links increase Amazon affiliate conversion rate

But what if you use affiliate links from a different platform? Amazon affiliate links are not deep links. When users tap on your links, the embedded IG browser opens instead of the Amazon app. Many users exit IG altogether to open their Amazon app and find the item on their own and you end up losing that commission.

I use both LTK and Amazon affiliates. Amazon typically has a higher conversion rate because people constantly shop there and order almost daily. They tap on your link and a cookie is deposited on their browser (or app). They will likely end up buying something within the lifespan of the cookie. Even if it’s not the item you initially recommended. Deep links remove the obstacle of consumers having to log in to their Amazon app which is what increases conversion.

What is URLGenius?

I earn a referral bonus from URLGenius

You can use a third-party service like URLGenius to convert your Amazon affiliate links into deep links. Even though I was familiar with the concept of deep links and their advantage, I was a bit skeptical about using a service at first. A fellow influencer (Ashley from @ihavethisthingwithhomegoods) reached out to tell me about URLGenius and I asked her a thousand questions about it. What reassured me is that URLGenius is the only deep-linking service provider partnered with Amazon at this time. This is their ad partner listing so you can verify for yourself.

Instagram deep link shared in story

The service is not cheap so I wanted to test it for myself before I committed to it. It only took two days of using the deep links in Instagram stories to convince me of their value. I tested it during a very slow period of consumer activity – right after Christmas. And it still resulted in a 3-4 percentage points conversion rate increase overall. There were days when my conversion rate increased by 7 percentage points compared to my previous average.

Using the deep link service adds an extra step in the process but it is worth it to increase your conversion rate by a couple of points. That increase in conversion points has led to doubling, if not tripling my commission earnings from Amazon. And I have only really used deep links with full force for less than a month.

URLGenius links in DMs

Be sure to ask about how to modify your deep links when sending them in DMs. When you share a link, there is usually a text link (your new converted deep link), and an image preview. I noticed that the deep link technology did not initially apply to the image preview. Since many people tap on the image preview instead of the text link, that presented a problem with fully utilizing the service. Make sure you ask how to modify the link in order to remove the preview image from DMs.

Try URLGenius for free

URLGenius is an approved partner of Amazon. It is as simple as grabbing your Amazon affiliate link and pasting it into a bar on the website that converts it into a deep link. You can use your phone for the entire process. Naming your link with an extension that makes sense to you makes it easy to retrieve it from the link list in the future. You can also set up a vanity URL for your links. A vanity URL can have your branded name in the beginning which makes it recognizable and trustworthy to users.

If you contact Jennifer and let her know that Stefana Silber referred you, she will let you

How much does URLGenius cost?

You can view the rate on the URLGenius website but if you email Jennifer and tell her Stefana Silber sent you, she will work up a package that makes sense for your average click volume. She will also let you test the service a couple of days before you commit. The service is not cheap but it is worth it, in my opinion. I recouped the monthly cost within one day of using deep links for my Instagram stories.

Deep links for other social apps

You can most certainly use deep links in other social apps. Anywhere your goal is to have the user leave the app so they can shop using your affiliate links. You can use deep links on TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest. They will force open your intended shopping destination – Amazon app, Target app, LTK app, Wayfair app, etc.

I also have a post on using Instagram Automation to increase affiliate earnings that you might find useful. Using the two tools together can have a tremendous impact on your earnings.