Updates to Instagram data and Trackers

Author note: Since things coming out of Facebook are continuing to evolve, we’ll be updating this post with new info as we get it. 

In January, Facebook announced plans to deprecate the existing Instagram API over the next year. However, a few days ago they quietly and unexpectedly accelerated that timeline, slashing rate limits to a fraction of what they used be, restricting access, and making the current Instagram API mostly unusable for business use cases.

So, what does this mean for your Union Metrics account? It means we’ve also accelerated our plans, and have stopped using the Instagram API effective immediately (thanks in part to our heroic engineering team, who’ve worked night and day to get this done fast). We feel we can no longer support Instagram hashtag Trackers or public Instagram account Trackers with the fidelity and quality we require in our analytics.

However, there’s good news! In its place is the new and much more robust Graph API that includes all kinds of useful data on things like actual impressions, story engagement, and more. The Graph API also now includes mentions and tags, one of our most requested additions. It’s the future of Instagram data.

As of today, we’re transitioning all our Instagram monitoring and analytics to the new Graph API. If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to connect your existing profile Trackers to Facebook so we can move them to the Graph API. Your connected Trackers will now have a lot more data in them, including true reach and impressions, story metrics, follower demographics, and other enhanced engagement metrics. And in the next few weeks, they’ll get mentions and tags! Our Instagram business profile Trackers now combine all the best features of our previous account and hashtag Trackers in one, more complete report (and only take up one Tracker slot!).

While we don’t love this timeline, we’re extremely excited about the evolution of social listening on Instagram from manual hashtag hacks to true brand monitoring of mentions and tags. This change may have a few bumps, but in the end, it’s going to be better for brands and businesses using Instagram.

This change further cements Twitter’s position as the best social network for effective brand monitoring and social listening. No matter who your customers are, if something happens in the world, it shows up on Twitter. That means we’ll also be beefing up our Twitter listening capabilities to include more historical data and search queries so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. More on that soon.

We’re here to help through this transition, so let us know if you’d like to talk to our customer success team. We’d be happy to walk through the updates to your account and make sure you’re getting the most from Instagram and Union Metrics.

As always, thank you for your business.

Update, April 4, 4:30 pm CDT: Today Facebook publicly announced the Instagram API deprecation. They’ve removed a few other API endpoints as recently as this afternoon, as well. Impacts include the loss of access to non-authenticated user accounts like you would use for influencer analysis, as well as any meaningful hashtag analytics. The API no longer includes data on public user information like follower count, comments and profile pictures. Rate limits have been severely restricted across the board. 

There’s a lot going on, and we’re working as quickly as we can to incorporate these changes. We fully support Facebook’s efforts to tamp down on privacy issues and we want to make sure you – our customer – are figuring out how to handle these changes in your own Instagram strategy. We can help! If you’d like to talk about upcoming campaigns or how to get along in a world without reliable Instagram hashtag or influencer analytics, please contact us. We’ll get through this together!