Following the 87th Annual Academy Awards, Vogue—one of the most revered fashion publishers in the world—shared a photo on Instagram that caught my eye. It was of acclaimed actress Lupita Nyongo, wearing a stunning pearl dress. She was walking the red carpet. And her dress was so captivating, I couldn’t help but want to know more.

Lucky for me, Vogue seemed to know that. After all, why else would they caption their image to read: “Go to Vogue.com to see exactly how that incredible @calvinklein #Oscars dress was made.” It’s like they read my mind.

how vogue drives traffic on instagram

Despite the effort required to open my browser and manually type in Vogue’s URL, I took the bait. Frustration ensued. I spent the next few minutes wading through a sea of content that, to be frank, I didn’t care to read. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good Fashion Week roundup; “Spring’s Most Surprising, Yet Essential, Sandal” intrigues me; and, given the way this winter has gone, I’m interested in which eight home remedies quell cabin fever.

But what I really wanted—and why I took the time to go to Vogue’s homepage in the first place—was to, as Vogue so bluntly put it: “See exactly how that incredible Calvin Klein Oscars dress was made.” Not long after my search began, not any the wiser, I gave up.

I know I’m not alone here; Vogue’s photo amassed nearly 90,000 engagements, sparking a similar sense of awe in others too. For publishers, Instagram is a teaser – a gateway to other great content that relates to, or builds on, a single, thought-provoking image. Powerful enough to drive action, it is an important medium for facilitating discussions around articles, designers, products, celebrities, causes and events. It should come as no surprise that Instagram is the fastest growing social channel for publishers in terms of audience growth. Of the 10 most popular magazine publishers by follower count, Vogue is No. 2. (It should be noted that, at the time this study was conducted, National Geographic Traveler was No. 5 and has since moved up to the third most-followed account.)

Top 10 Magazine Brands by Instagram Followers

  1. National Geographic
  2. Vogue
  3. National Geographic Traveler
  4. Playboy
  5. GQ
  6. Teen Vogue
  7. Time
  8. Vanity Fair
  9. InStyle
  10. Seventeen

Given their social standing, we can probably agree that all 10 of these magazines are doing something right. Some media outlets have said they are “winning at Instagram.” They’ve earned this acclaim by simply sharing great content, whether through breathtaking naturescapes, exquisite couture, or their shrewd utilization of UGC.

With that in mind, all 10 of these publishers are also overlooking a big opportunity. Collectively, they have more than 20,000,000 followers. But in an age when Instagram success is measured by actions taken off the platform, it will become increasingly critical to drive these eager readers from social to their website.

In this capacity, The Zoe Report—an online style destination curated by fashion maven Rachel Zoe—is ahead of the curve. At the end of last year, they turned to Curalate’s Like2Buy solution to deliver readers from Instagram to their website, giving their content hungry audience a much easier and more direct way to consume. Publishers can drive to their advertisers’ sites as well, delivering traffic to product pages and providing tremendous value to affiliated brands. Here’s an example of how it works.

drive traffic on instagram

Within a month of activating Like2Buy on their Instagram channel, The Zoe Report measured a 60% click-through rate from their image gallery to articles online. These users also proved to be more attentive than the publisher’s average mobile visitor, browsing on site longer.

The takeaway here is that, on Instagram, images don’t merely drive conversation. They inspire readers to take an action – to seek out additional information about a person, article or product. From the looks of the top 10 list above, magazine publishers still have a way to go. On the bright side, opportunities abound for those that shape up.