What’s Up with Instagram’s API Changes?

The instagram logo sits next to text that reads, "What's up with the Instagram API changes?"

We’ve talked plenty on the recent Facebook data scandal, but what about Instagram? Well, since Facebook owns Instagram, the scandal has impacted that platform as well.
In light of data concerns, Facebook/Instagram have cut off 3rd party access to key tools and features that we rely heavily on as an agency. Thanks to malicious activity of a few developers, everyone suffers. While we are all for user privacy and security, this is a pain in the ass. Furthermore, these changes were made suddenly, without a heads up to marketers.

What did we lose?

All of a sudden, on March 30th, Instagram cut the rate limit from 5,000 calls per hour to 200, with no advance notice to 3rd parties or developers. What does this mean in laymen’s terms? This means that 3rd party tools such as Hootsuite or Farmville have access to far less data. This forced them to make very quick and painful decisions about which data and features to prioritize.
A few other evolutions have transpired since March 30th, but here’s what you need to know:
All 3rd party platforms have lost the ability to:

  • Reply to or like public posts or comments
  • See profile info on public content (usernames, profile pictures, followers, bios, etc.)
  • Follow or unfollow other users
  • Mention other users in your posts
  • See if a user follows you
  • Comment on posts other than your own
  • Reshare in hashtag or location search streams
  • Access data such as gender, age, and geography

As of Dec 11, we’ll also be losing the ability to conduct hashtag or location searches at all within this platform

What does this mean?

Many user generated content and influencer campaigns rely on monitoring features of third party tools. Even basic content and engagement tactics for businesses rely on these features for efficiencies and additional insights. That being said, Influencers have been hit the hardest. Some businesses centered on aggregating influencer data are struggling to keep the lights on.
For teams like ours, these tools allow us to follow internal workflows and to do so during traditional office hours in an efficient manner. While we monitor activity on your page at all hours of the day, the actual heavy lifting of scheduling this content can be done during office hours. Without access to these API features, we had to rethink our process. Unfortunately, this resulted in lost efficiencies and more time dedicated to this activity. As you know, time is money.

Is there hope?

Word on the street is that a new API is in the works, but we haven’t seen any update on when that will arrive, or what it will look like when it does. As always, we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more.

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