Linktree is a social media reference landing page provider that is made to build a landing page for a person or company's entire associated links in social media. The site was inspired by the developers' dissatisfaction with social media, which was that it rarely allows multiple hyperlinks.
The company was founded in 2016 by Alex Zaccaria, Anthony Zaccaria, and Nick Humphreys in Melbourne, Australia and it boasts of having over 20 000 000 users in 2022. In this article, we are analyzing how Linktree was able to grow to 20 000 000 users organically without using ads or even an affiliate program.
Linktree is a freemium service that provides a landing page with multiple hyperlinks. It gives more benefits than that by providing:
Linktree makes money through its $6/ month paid subscription program, which offers customizable features including video links, social media, and Amazon icons, and a broader choice of colors and effects for each link.
The founders of Linktree emphasized that they were the first company to introduce this category of web apps.
"This category didn’t exist when we started, we created this category," CEO Alex Zaccaria says.
Alex Zaccaria said that he and his co-founders, Anthony Zaccaria and Nick Humphreys created Linktree to solve a problem they were facing at their own digital marketing agency, Bolster. Instagram doesn’t allow users to include links in posts — all you get is a single link in your profile, prompting the constant "link in bio" reminder when someone wants to promote something.
Meanwhile, most of Bolster’s clients come from music and entertainment, where a single link can’t support what Zaccaria said is a "quite fragmented" business model. After all, an artist might want to point fans to their latest streaming album, upcoming concert dates, an online store for merchandise, and more. A website could do the job in theory, but it can be clunky or slow on mobile, with users probably giving up before they finally reach the desired page.
So instead of constantly swapping out links in Instagram and other social media profiles, a Linktree user includes one evergreen link to their Linktree profile, which they can update as necessary.
The idea to solve this problem is what led to the creation of Linktree. Since then, Linktree has been able to grow to 20 000 000 users in 5 years while having more than 28 000 new users signing up every day.
The founders of Linktree did not apply any form of PPC advertising and neither does the platform have an affiliate program. But it rather grew organically in a distinctive way.
When it first launched in 2016, it was interested in solving the "single-link" problem for musicians on Instagram. But what started as a tool for musicians has now swept the influencer and online brands space without applying much effort in marketing.
However there are a few factors that account for the explosive popularity of Linktree, and they include:
1. Influencers and Popular Public Figures and Brands
The first set of people to use Linktree were mainly those in the music and entertainment industry. The Melbourne startup says that over 20 000 000 users have created profiles on the platform, with those profiles receiving more than 1 billion visitors per month. Celebrities like Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa, brands like HBO and Red Bull, and other Instagram influencers have prominently used Linktree from the early days to promote their work.
Selena Gomez, for example, links to her latest songs and videos, but also her Rare Beauty cosmetics brand, her official store, and articles about her non-profit work.
The public figures (celebrities, influencers, and content creators) and brands using Linktree have billions of followers altogether on Instagram and the fact that they started placing Linktree links in their bios was enough to give the platform exposure and attract a lot of interested users.
Linktree founders Anthony Zaccaria, Alex Zaccaria, and Nick Humphreys.
2. Social Media Fundraising Campaigns
Social media fundraising campaigns played a big part in popularising Linktree. From GoFundMe campaigns, Kickstarter campaigns up to other social causes like Black Lives Matter. All these campaigns used Linktree and they reached out to billions of people. This in turn gave Linktree exposure hence it acquiring more users.
Black Lives Matter has been a big part of Linktree’s recent growth, with activists and other users who want to support the movement using their profiles to point visitors to websites where they can donate, learn more, and get involved. In fact, Linktree even introduced a Black Lives Matter banner over the summer that anyone could add to their profile.
3. E-commerce Sellers
Linktree’s rise on Instagram opened up a chance for e-commerce brands owners to create quick landing pages for the multiple products that they are selling on their websites. Sellers could now easily link to their offers, giveaways, and product listings all from their Instagram bios which helped to increase sales.
After Linktree recognized this, they made integrations with Amazon and Shopify to create a furthermore streamlined process for sellers to promote their products.
Linktree accounts currently use Amazon links. That’s especially true across TikTok, which is not yet a recognized referrer for the Amazon Influencer Program — meaning that TikTokers have to refer people to a third-party site if they want to earn commissions.
Many entrepreneurs took note of this a drastically started to send all their social media (Instagram) traffic through Linktree links in their bios which gave exposure to the platform and attracted more users.
4. Bloggers and Content Creators
Tech bloggers and social media content creators also played a big role in promoting Linktree. The platform has never offered an affiliate program for bloggers and content creators to promote it but hundreds of bloggers have done so.
Growth Beyond Celebrities
Zaccaria said that after launching the product in 2016, the team quickly discovered that a lot more people rather than celebrities had the same problem. Therefore they had to fully separate Linktree from Bolster to lay more focus on it.
"We had the option to just continue to grow sustainably, but we wanted to pour some fuel on the fire," Zaccaria said.
The success of Linktree started out by solving a problem for Instagram users, mainly the big users. Then its popularity was funneled down up to the small users who were fans of the big users.
Zaccaria says that the platform is evolving into a much broader platform that can unify your entire digital ecosystem and democratize your digital presence. He said that while some customers continue to maintain "a giant, brand-immersive website," for others, Linktree is completely replacing the idea of a standalone website.
In a statement, Insight Managing Director Jeff Lieberman said, "As the internet becomes increasingly fragmented, brands, publishers, and influencers need a solution to streamline their content sharing and connect their social media followers to their entire online ecosystem, ultimately increasing brand awareness and revenue.
Linktree has successfully created this new "microsite" category enabling companies to monetize the next generation of the internet economy via a single interactive hub.
The impressive traction and growing number of customers Linktree has gained over the last few months demonstrate its proven market fit, and we could not be more excited to work with the Linktree team as they transition to the ScaleUp phase of growth."
In March 2022, Linktree raised a $110 000 000 round in venture capital with a valuation of $1.3 billion, making it part of the unicorns. It currently has over 240 team members across 13 countries and 17 cities.