As you may have heard, Instagram is introducing a new hashtag search API, which will restrict businesses to searching for 30 hashtags per week. It will be launched on December 11, at which point the platform’s old search feature will no longer be available. Here’s a closer look at what the change means for businesses.
How Will the New Instagram API Work?
Up until now, businesses have been able to carry out unlimited searches on Instagram. But the new hashtag search API puts an end to that freedom, by restricting the number of queries a business can make. The Hashtag Search API developer page says that Instagram Business Users will be limited to 30 unique hashtags over a seven-day period. A queried hashtag will count against that limit the first time it is searched for, but any following queries on that hashtag will not count against the limit.
What Do Businesses Need to Do?
If you’re running a business – or doing the marketing for one – your Instagram account will have to undergo an App Review and be approved before you can use the new API. Once approved, you will be able to use the Instagram Public Content Access feature, and will meet the Instagram basic permission requirement.
Any Other Restrictions to be Aware of?
Yes. Neither personally identifiable information nor hashtags used in Stories will be identified by the new API. Businesses will no longer be able to comment on hashtagged objects with the API. it will no longer be possible to review media and public profile information, or delete and post comments with the API.
How Can You Use the New Instagram Search to Your Advantage?
Despite its limitations, Instagram’s new hashtag search API is likely to be a useful tool. Being able to search hashtags allows businesses to find trends that they can use to fine-tune their marketing strategies – not just on Instagram, but on other platforms, too.
Posts on Instagram with at least one hashtag achieve considerably more user-engagement than those with none. They attract more followers, and can ultimately help businesses to achieve more sales. 95 million posts appear on Instagram every day, and the sheer volume of content on the platform is making it tricky to deliver relevant content to users. Hashtags make it easier to present people with content that they’re actually interested in. Users can now follow the hashtags they’re interested in, too, making them more important than ever.
Although the new API comes with restrictions, it won’t put an end to the use of hashtags. Most businesses now use seven or fewer hashtags per post – and the theory that keeping the number of hashtags per post closer to 20 than 30 is now widely accepted.
What Else is New?
Rumour has it that Instagram is trialling a hashtag selector tool which would allow businesses to add hashtags to their posts without them being visible in the caption. This could be a valuable tool for businesses, making it possible to attract new followers without cluttering posts with lists of hashtags.