Recently, Instagram announced many important changes to their APIs without any prior notice. According to these API changes, Instagram is shutting down its public APIs. A lot of brands and businesses are confused and have questions regarding these unexpected API changes. Brands and businesses still don’t know how these changes will affect their business marketing strategy in the future.
The good news is that the new Instagram API changes will improve the way brands were able to access the content and data on this platform. Through this article, we’ll understand how much it will affect your brand, what are the changes and how you can still build a community with your niche audience on Instagram.
Instagram API Changes
At the beginning of this year in January, Instagram declared a new Instagram Graph API. They also announced that they will deprecate the previous Instagram API platform on 31st July 2018.
After that Instagram immediately restricted access to the public API and it impacted the third-party apps massively. The changes announced in January were into effect immediately and that’s the reason you can observe some changes to the apps that you operate.
Some of the massive Instagram API changes will take place by the mid of December 2018. The Instagram API public media endpoints will be deprecated and they will be replaced with new equivalent API endpoints on the Instagram Open Graph.
- Restricting API Rate Limiting – All third-party application connected to Instagram API’s is given a certain limit of how many times it can call their data. However, in April it slashed their API limit from 5,000 to 200 calls per user per hour. Although, not many brands could identify the change as they hardly used to make 5,000 calls per hour. Reducing the API limits blocked the unauthorized apps from collecting large amounts of user data over time.
- Removal of Likes Endpoints and Followers details – By removal of the followers and likes endpoints, Instagram has restricted the third-party applications to keep a track on how many likes a post has received and check follower’s information and their relationships. The objective behind this is to prevent the unauthorized apps from assembling the data about users, their connection with other users etc. This should decrease the activities of unwanted bot account that auto-likes the posts on Instagram.
- Removal of Public Commenting Endpoint – With this specific change, third parties cannot post and delete comments on a user’s behalf for any content.
- Removal of Personally Identifiable Information – The third parties on Instagram can no longer access the personally identifiable information such as profile, bio, avatar, follower list, media, posts, name etc. In other words, author name, username and timestamp no longer will be available with hashtag post. So you can’t fetch or display the author information.
- Removal of User Search Endpoint – The rejection of Users Search API endpoint explains that one can no longer fetch data from a User’s account unless that specific account is an Instagram Business account. Moreover, if you want to fetch content from an Instagram Business Account, then you must create a Facebook Page and link that page with your Instagram Business Account.
- Removal of Public Media Endpoint – By removing the public media endpoint, the agencies can no longer acquire content from public hashtags. The authorized Instagram business accounts can only access hashtag content. So marketers need to convert their Instagram account to business account to pull public hashtag content.
Learn more about recent Instagram API changes.
The reason behind the Instagram API Changes
The 2016 election is the major reason why Facebook did these significant changes in Instagram API. Facebook’s API was used by Cambridge Analytica to influence the 2016 elections and since then Facebook received backlash and it took a decision to protect user’s privacy. In results, it also affects Facebook-owned network Instagram, as it has to face API changes and this started to limit the amount of personal information access by third parties.
The API rate limit changes reduced the power of unauthorized sources to collect and use the massive amount of data. These changes prevent bots from making auto-likes or using social media sites to create profiles of users based on their likes.
How Instagram API Changes Can Impact Your Business
These Instagram API changes will affect the UGC campaigns massively. Due to the removal of personally identifiable information, UGC campaigns and brands can’t access the public hashtag content without an Instagram business account.
Moreover, less personal information will be available for the brands. And it’s going to be tougher for the brands to identify the potential users or influencers using third-party tools. The brands won’t able to search for the influencers by location, impression, or any other aspect. Businesses can only get the user information when users include their brand’s account name as @mention in the caption along with the hashtag.
A lot of brands are disappointed with these API changes because Instagram is known for influencer marketing and they were unprepared for any changes.
Here’s what you should do
The API changes will affect the businesses, brands and hashtag campaigns in a massive way. If you have a business and want to deal with Instagram API changes then follow the tips mentioned below:
- Maintain the relationship with the existing influencers that are in contact with your brand and appreciate them time and again.
- Make sure that you convert your company’s Instagram profile to a business profile at the earliest.
- Connect your Facebook business page with your Instagram business account to fetch content from Instagram.
- Encourage users to start @mentioning your brand in the post.
Try third-party social media tools that have user consent to provide private information as a prerequisite. These social media tools are not affected by these API changes.
The API changes were unexpected for everyone but it will help the brands and businesses towards better data management. So don’t be disappointed, re-plan your marketing and social media strategy with a clear objective and come up with a new plan for your brand.