Update (december 2018) : check our analysis on Instagram Hashtag Search API replacing Instagram old Hashtag API deprecated in december 2018
After May 2018 restrictions, December is a kind of rebirth of Instagram API, moved to Facebook Graph API. Now called Instagram API Graph, to obey Facebook structure. Apart from profile search, all Instagram (old) API is shut down. It is replaced by new endpoints with authentification. Check our feedbacks based on our Instagram successful experience.
Tip 1 : understand there are 2 APIs, not 1 to integrate
What is the new API prerequisites ?
- Most difficult: besides Instagram API, you must integrate Facebook Graph API. Using Instagram requires now to use a Facebook login for your end users, meaning managing Facebook authentification for a personal profile. This is a very long task for a developper.
- Have as developper a Facebook business account and an Instagram business account. This also involves the end users to have both. Processus to create them is simple with no hard blocking steps, but it may be a little time consuming. Some end users will give up before successfully do it unfortunately.
- Review process for Instagram. As for other Facebook API access, you must make an online submission via the Facebook developper interface. It mainly consists into creating a video of your service and writing some use case descriptions. Requirements are not clearly explained and support team answers are often too vague to understand what precisely you must correct. Besides, there is no possibility to face with an online or mail support. All answers are only provided after a failed submission. Questions you may add in your submission texts, are never answered.
In order to use the Instagram Graph API, all apps must undergo Business Verification, which is part of the App Review process and now required for all Instagram Graph API endpoints. Apps previously reviewed before May 1st, 2018, have to be reviewed again, and have until August 1st, 2018 to do so, or lose access to the API.
What are the main blocksteps ?
There are lots of obstacles during submission :
- Prerequisites compliance : you must before get Facebook Graph API feature approval, to be able to have your interface ready for the screencasting.
- Approval process: after submission, there are no guarantee to be approved. You may face with lots of negative answers before approval or 100% negative answers.
After successful approval: new obstacles can be critical depending on your use case.
Very low duration time of the user token. There are 2 kind of token. The standard one is lasting…. 2 hours. The premium one is 60 days. The 2h life token means you can no longer do requests unless you again ask your end users every 2 hours to reauthentificate on your platform. Even the 60 days token is too short. On Twitter or Facebook APIs, token are usually never expiring or last several years.
- No personal data. You can’t get the post username for a hashtag search. This reduces the impact of a hashtag campaign or a contest if you can’t display the participants names.
- No time. There is no longer the post publication date inside the JSON.
What is the review process success rate ?
Tip 2 : do not underestimate changes impacts
Main differences between Instagram Old API and New Instagram Graph API
Outside data, the main difference is the requirement to integrate Facebook Graph API and to have an Instagram Business Account. This means you have to integrate Facebook Graph API and Facebook Login, before integrating Instagram Graph API. This means lots of work to integrate Facebook and also requires an approval for using Facebook API !
Regarding data, privacy trends are reducing shared data from Instagram hashtag search API. Anonymous data is leading the way with some data deleted from response from Instagram Graph API.
Why this Instagram Graph API Change?
There are 2 main reasons :
- Misuses and hacking. Instagram wanted to limitate inadequate uses of Instagram by few applications such as followers gain automation or apps to automatically like posts.
- Privacy challenge. After Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and private data hacking, Facebook must reduce data sharing to avoid external abuses as Instagram is part of it.
When was Instagram Graph API Change ?
11 december 2018 : Instagram Graph API replaced Instagram Old API. This is a brand new API, meaning all Instagram Old API endpoints are no longer working.
One exception : the Instagram (Old) API will remain active, only for profile data search, which is the “basic permission”.
Tip 3 : schedule to spend lots of time and face with Facebook refusals
Is there another major API deprecation coming ?
Since 2016, lots changes happened in Instagram API. Like the introduction of approval system prior to access to the API.
Check our tips for the 2017 Instagram API update.
For 2019-2020, the main expected modification is the deprecation of the Instagram basic permission, which enabled “to read a user’s own profile info and media”, from the Instagram Old API. This means for 2018 to 2020, that 2 Instagram APIs will coexist : Instagram Graph API and Instagram Old API.
How long does a review submission take ?
If you have already integrated Facebook login, it will take several hours or days.
Main steps are : decide which permissions or features to request, understand how to answer and fit Instagram requirements, adapt your online user interface to show the use of the features or permissions asked, screencast a video showing you using these, write a content to explain each permission or feature use. The main challenges here are the user interface to adapt, and the video screencasting. Adapting your interface without being sure you will be approved may turn out to be a potential waste of time.
If you don’t have integrated Facebook login: don’t expect less than several weeks or months.
This scenario is the worse. In addition to the former steps, you must undergo a Facebook approval processus for Facebook login feature and other features if needed, which takes few weeks, provided that you succeed to be approved, which is not guaranteed ! Then you must do Facebook API integration, including the authentification processus which is very complex and can take one or two months. This is mandatory before doing a screencasting.
How long before getting an answer ?
It usually takes between 1 day to 1 week depending on period and requests volume. Answer is made by a real support team, based in USA and all answers come in your Facebook developper forms: don’t hope to get a personal answer to any requests outside the approval process.
Instagram refused, what’s next ?
Usually cause is the video. You must identify why exactly it is uncorrect, and then screencasting again. Then re-apply again as long as it will be refused if you have time, or use an Instagram API third party supplier, like Dialogfeed (see under) which provides you with an Instagram JSON data feed (hashtag or account).
Can a new submission be sent ?
Yes, you can. But your former answer will be deleted as well as Instagram former answer. Store them before.
What are the difficult issues to get app approved ?
From our experience, the following critera seem the most important:
– Get approval for Facebook Graph API and integrate it which is a very long step: this is a mandatory prerequisite for your video content.
– Create a correct user interface showing how you use Instagram : this may be time consuming and also highly risky as you are unsure to be successful.
– Video screencast : show how your end users are experiencing your Instagram service with precise details such as authentification and permissions authorization.
Tip 4 : try alternative providers to get access to Instagram
Is there an alternative to Instagram API ?
Yes, you can use third party providers, like Dialogfeed as we have been approved by Instagram.
We provide you with a platform to create your widget or an API delivering Instagram feeds. Your choice.
You do a hashtag campaign or a widget on a website, is it possible ?
Yes but please be aware of the new limitations shown in the table.
Mainly, for hashtag campaigns, there are no longer these data : author post name, location and post date. So you can show the photos / videos and text comments of a hashtaged post only.
Is there a Instagram API approved supplier list ?
At Dialogfeed, we are Instagram API approved supplier and got Instagram permissions approvals.
There is no other way for instance than to ask each (rare) suppliers you found if they have Instagram approval upon needed permissions of your app uses cases.
Photo: Dialogfeed API enables to deliver Instagram data feeds (hashtags, accounts) to any B2B developers along with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest…
Can I use a widget to embed on my website ?
If you need to build a widget to embed on a website, replace yours by a ready to use widget. There are some providers, but few are compliant with Instagram API as Dialogfeed is already. Dialogfeed allows you to embed right now your Instagram widget for your hashtag campaigns or live events.
Can I get posts content via API to power the widget I built ?
Yes. Few API providers can perfectly replace Instagram API feed, by delivering you the requested data. You can get a JSON or XML data feeds via their API. You will get a standardized feed with main Instagram contents such as <content>, <image URL>, <date> or other fields normalized in a unique feed. You may also add other social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin or Twitter. Try Dialogfeed social data feed.
Dialogfeed is among world pionners social media hub & social wall provider and powers hundreds of events throughout the world since 2012 ! Our service is Instagram API update compliant : we have gone through Instagram submission process and got all necessary permissions approved. You have the choice, take time to resubmit again (and again) your app or go to market now with Dialogfeed …