In response to a lot of confusion and disinformation, we published a post in August outlining the Hashtag road map for Instagram.
That didn't seem to help with the cloud of uncertainty as we continued to see emails from clients and partners that were concerned about the upcoming changes and their impacts on social campaigns. On the ground, many social media marketing vendors were issuing warnings about a potential loss of functionality in December and were bracing for impact.
On Wednesday, Instagram finally laid all concerns to rest by publicly unveiling these changes in a blog post, and within 48 hours, these new capabilities are now live on Candid and can be accessed within any existing or new collections.
Why it matters:
Marketers are heavily invested in hashtags and this week's announcement provides final reassurances that the APIs leveraged by larger organizations to gain visibility into hashtag campaigns are here to stay. The upgraded API allows marketers to:
- To discover content associated with its current campaign
- To provide customer support
- To identify entrants to its contests, competitions, or sweepstakes
- To understand public sentiment around brand
- To understand and manage their audience, develop their content strategy, and obtain digital rights
- A couple of things to note about this new API is that it does restrict businesses to at most 30 hashtags, which is a reasonable compromise given the nature of what they were trying to do (ensure brand-specific monitoring).
- The new API will expose all top and recent assets going forward under more generous rate limits than the handicapped legacy API but it does not allow backdating (collecting media from the past).
- The new API does not expose personally identifiable information of any kind, including the username or avatar. It also omits the timestamp of the original post which may be a technical glitch in the early version of the API.
- Given that you cannot comment on hashtagged media objects discovered through this API, there are changes to the rights management workflow that your account manager will walk you through. In general, we don't see these changes impacting the workflow of most teams and should streamline some steps.
The bottom line:
With this announcement, Instagram (and Facebook) have completed the long overdue changes required to secure their APIs and developer ecosystems. We are more confident than ever that the future looks bright for this marketing stack and that its capabilities are simply unrivaled.