Overnight Instagram switched off their public API which will have a big impact on any app or network that brands use to connect with influencers for paid campaigns as they are no longer able to rely on Instagram's public data to power their software.
So, what exactly is an API?
An API is essentially the available information for an app or a piece of software that explains some of it functions/ contains the information you need to create something that interfaces with it. For example, you know how you can use Tailwind to post to Pinterest, rather than posting pins directly on the Pinterest app or website? The developers behind Tailwind would have needed the Pinterest API or similar information that is not publicly available from Pinterest to build their website/ software/ app.
In this case, what the removal of the public API means is that everything that was built using the Instagram public API may no longer work if they make any changes, as the changes will not be public so they can't be adapted too. It may also mean instant access to certain data through the API is no longer available - it all depends on how your app of choice was built.
If you use an affiliate network such as ShopSense Collective you may be familiar with your unique 'API' key which identifies your user account, visible in your user settings. The principle behind how this works is similar; it is your API key that tells ShopSense that it is you driving the traffic using the platform they have built. Not important here - but useful to know to avoid any confusion!
So how will this change affect me?
Depending on which apps and networks you use, you may experience a serious reduction in the paid campaigns you are offered while companies figure things out. Right now, they might not be able to offer brands the data from influencer campaigns they originally promised. Now would be the time to diversify; perhaps reach out to brands you have worked with in the past about working with them directly?
So what is the best thing I can do not to impact working with brands in the future?
The answer is simple: get a business account. Brands who work with influencers on Instagram through influencer networks want to know how the posts they have commissioned are performing: they want numbers. Now networks are not able to use the API to create and use their own performance software brands are going to want influencers to provide them with in depth, intelligent reporting. The only way to access your post impressions, reach and engagement is to switch to a business account (which you can do under settings).
Instagram also have a private API just for business accounts, that networks can still build software for their members to use.
You should carry out the switch over as quickly as possible as analytics and reporting for Instagram business accounts is not retrospective; you'll only get the data from when you start using a business profile, not on your old posts.
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