Update (december 2018) : check our new analysis about Instagram Graph API Changes replacing Instagram old API deprecated in december 2018
After Instagram (old) API shutdown in December 2018, no one can no longer search hashtag via Instagram API. Indeed Instagram Tag Endpoint (“Get a list of recently tagged media”) enabled by public content permission is deprecated.
But the new Instagram Graph API , integrated now inside Facebook Graph API, introduced a new so called Hashtag Search API which replaced the former Instagram Tag Endpoint. This a limited rebirth of Instagram API, which is moved to Facebook Graph API and it obeys to Facebook Graph API structure. For Instagram API developpers, this means redevelop a full new API integration, but also implies to pass through an manual approval process with a possibility to never be access granted.
Hereunder are the first overview about the new Instagram Hashtag Search API, Dialogfeed is sharing via our Instagram submission experience and successful permissions approvals.
Changes between 2019 Instagram Hashtag Search API Graph and 2016 API
Outside data, there are new requirements for the new API :
- Integrate Facebook Graph API. This means you have to get access to Facebook Graph API and Facebook Login and use them inside your app, before event thinking to integrate Instagram Graph API. This also requires an approval for using Facebook API : you must select the features you need and submit your videos for each one. We won’t analyse here in detail how this works but keep in mind this step is very long and complex, whether on your development side or on Facebook team response time (which involves also lots of refusals and try again).
- Integrate Instagram Graph API. Once the Facebook Graph API integrated, now you face with the real direct task. This means deciding to use or not the following nodes:
- Instagram login permissions you apply for between instagram_basic, instagram_content_publish, instagram_manage_comments, instagram_manage_insights.
- Instagram features which is now only instagram Public Content Access
- Create a user interface and go through Facebook approval submission process for each permission and features, by providing a screencasting of your user interface and showing precisely how you use them in your user experience. Add also a description of your use case.
- Have an Instagram Business Account and a Facebook Company Page. This is an easy step for you, but not for your end users. They must convert their Instagram personal profile into business profile, then link it to a Company Page. Not hard but you can expect some end users to give up this process or to fail. You risk then to end up with experiencing lots of end users not using your new hashtag search features.
The only good news are the disappearances of the old API requirements such as the valid use case even if it was really hard to check on Instagram side.
Regarding coding issues, there are new limits inside the new Graph API:
- Client login: to get hashtags search, you must ask your Instagram client, to login with… its Facebook login. Not its Instagram login. This is a kind of nonsense for a normal user to understand.
- Client prerequisites: you must ask your client to have also a Facebook login which has a role on a Facebook company page (admin, editor…) and this company page must be linked to an Instagram Business Profile. And this Instagram Business Profile must be created from a Instagram Personal Profile. These involve lots of time for successful accomplishments. You can bet some of your end users will give up or fail.
Token lifetime: maybe the most challenging limit. All user token provided by Facebook for your HTTP requests have a life of … 2 hours ! This means you can’t make again a call after 2 hours. The old API user token did nevertheless survive several months or years. Facebook lets yet a possibility to extend this user token to 60 days, which remains ultra low. Among all social media APIs, no one apart Linkeding decided to grant such a low life token. This is really a high issue for all developpers and involves new user experience strategies.
Data response differences
Regarding data, privacy trends are reducing shared data from Instagram hashtag search API. Hereunder you can see the consequences for hashtag search between both Instagram API. In a snapshot, the new Hashtag Search API doesn’t provide the following fields.
- Author / owner / username : this is a big issue as you can’t show that a photo is a UGC and not yours. You get only the photo / video and text caption without its author.
- Author avatar: low issue. Even if it has been deprecated in may 2018 already in the Instagram Old API, this is a trend confirmation.
- Location: not really disturbing as often not relevant due to a too high post quantity in one location. Longitude, latitude are no longer available. Also you can no more search posts via location. Only Twitter can do this now.
- Timestamp / date: this is a surprising deprecation. This means you can no longer classify posts in a chronological order. Instagram may want to hinder third party apps which stores photos in a database.
- Photo dimension: where the old API gave several URL with different photo resolutions, the new API only provides with a unique resolution.
See under our data response comparison between both API.
If you need Instagram API hashtag data, what is the solution ?
Solution 1: get your 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.
Solution 2: use an Instagram API hashtag agregator like Dialogfeed
You can look for social feeds providers. There are 2 types:
– Social data feed providers like Dialogfeed: they 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 Instagram hashtag API.
– Social widget providers like Dialogfeed: 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.