Facebook has announced that it’s making changes to Instagram’s graph API which will enable business profiles to schedule posts, without having to go through the current process of getting an alert and manually posting.
As explained by Instagram:
“Last year, we began the process of updating the Instagram API to the Instagram Graph API, built on the Facebook Graph API. This change helps businesses manage their organic presence more effectively. Today, we're introducing new features to the API, such as allowing businesses to schedule posts, view posts they've been tagged in and view other business profiles.”
The example above is from Hootsuite, an Instagram partner – according to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, Instagram scheduling and publishing has been their most requested feature update. Hootsuite introduced Instagram scheduling, in its current form, back in 2015 - as noted, that process currently involves setting a schedule, which then forwards a reminder at the time you plan to post. Users then have to manually log in and publish the content. This update does away with the extra step.
The update may also render many of the current Instagram-specific scheduling tools on the market obsolete, though it is worth noting that scheduling for non-business (personal) profiles won’t be made available till next year.
In addition to this, Instagram’s also rolling out two other updates for business profiles to their API:
- Business Discovery - Discover and read the profile info and media of other business profiles.
- Mentions - Read public media that a business has been photo tagged or @mentioned in. Post comments on a business' behalf on media it was tagged or mentioned in.
This will also enable users to manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard
These are in addition to the API updates the platform announced in July last year, which enabled third-party platforms to display Instagram insights data and facilitate comment moderation capabilities.
Given the rising popularity of Instagram, and with more than 25 million business profiles now active on the platform, it makes sense for parent company Facebook to be looking for new ways to better facilitate business interactions. Many have been surprised that it’s taken Instagram this long to add scheduling capacity, but the platform has long maintained a singular focus on Instagram usage, as opposed to off-platform connection – another example being the limited capacity to include links. That, in some ways, has kept Instagram from becoming yet another transactional tool, another chain for link dropping, which you could argue has helped maintain the authentic nature of Instagram posts.
Scheduling, of course, doesn’t necessarily take away from that, but it is another shift for the app which reduces the need for direct interaction with the tool. But then again, it does add additional business functionality, and as Instagram closes in on becoming the next billion user app, the monetization potential also grows in proportion.
Now, for Instagram’s next trick for brands – the expansion of Shopping Tags. Expect that to come sometime in 2018.