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Instagram is Winding Down Legacy API. What Does That Mean For Your Business?

instagram api

With only weeks left, time is running out! Instagram is winding down its old API that has long been used to display photos from feeds. If your business’ website is running a widget or any apps that are dependent on the old API, you’re going to have to find a new solution, and fast!

Keeping up with the latest technological developments can be quite a hassle. Just as you adopt new technologies and tap into emerging opportunities, something else comes along or is changed and you have to evolve once again. Unfortunately, that’s going to be the case for many Instagram users.

Instagram’s legacy API will be depreciated come March 31st. You’ll want to make sure everything is in order sooner, however, as some restrictions and other changes may be beforehand. This API has been used by a variety of 3rd party apps and solutions to gain access to Instagram data. 

Let’s take a closer look at the coming Instagram API changes.

So What is the Instagram API Change Anyway?

In this case, Instagram is looking to shutdown scrappers and third-party apps that pull photos. A new API Basic Display API will allow third-party apps to gain access to photos and the like, but they’ll need to gain permission first. By requiring permission, Instagram is aiming to protect users and secure their privacy.

The new API institutes three major changes. Let’s take a look:

  • Going forward, only business accounts will display likes and comments on the hover display.
  • Some data fields, like location data and followers count, are going to be kept private.
  • User location data will no longer be included with the media. 

The big take-away from this is that less data will be available going forward, and if you want access to what data is available, you’ll need an Instagram Creator Account or a Business Account. By switching to a professional account, you can also run ads. 

For now, Instagram’s professional accounts are free. Who knows, in the future, Instagram could decide to charge for access to their professional accounts. If you stick with a personal account, you won’t be able to access:

  • Post comments
  • User’s bio text and photo
  • Number of followers
  • Likes and comments for posts

In other words, personal accounts are going to be quite restricted going forward and of much less use for businesses, content creators, brand champions, and influencers. 

Also, even if you have an Instagram business account, you need to make sure it’s authenticated with Facebook. If not, your account will be restricted and treated basically like a personal account, meaning you won’t be able to access data. 

Will the Instagram API Change Affect Me?

First, have you granted any apps or solutions, such as a social media dashboard, access to your Instagram account? This likely required an authorization process. If so, there’s a pretty good chance that your business will be affected, as many of these services will be removed or limited.

Some service providers, such as Hootsuite, have been quite proactive and have prepared their software solution for the API changes. As long as your account is verified with Facebook, you’ll still be able to use Hootsuite. However, you won’t have access to as much data as before.

Companies providing Instagram widgets and other solutions will have to resubmit their platforms to Instagram and gain approval. And if you rely on any said widgets, your business could be affected as well.

Instagram Will Remain a Powerful Tool For Your Business

The coming API change will be disruptive. Some of your favorite tools may no longer be usable. Still, with roughly 1 billion users, Instagram offers a great opportunity to expand your brand and reach a powerful audience. Yeah, change can be a pain – but it’s best to roll with it and reap the benefits. Learn how to turbocharge your Instagram efforts now!

Not sure what steps to take next? Our team of Marketing Managers is able to assist with your business’ social media and web development needs. And if you happen to be a new business owner, or are looking for tips on growing your business, check out our blog about Tips for New Business Owners.

Call us today at (212) 744-2070 to learn more about our many services available to business owners and entrepreneurs!

About Michael Boguslavskiy
I develop integrated marketing campaigns that help businesses establish their online presence, generate brand awareness, increase customer satisfaction, and most importantly drive sales!
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