To protect data privacy, Instagram shut down its public API in 2018 and replaced it with the more controlled and restrictive Graph API. One of the major changes to note is that you need an Instagram Business account to use the new API to collect data.

With access to Instagram’s API, you can track hashtags to see how your accounts perform, collect mention data to gauge your audience's attitude towards your brand, publish Instagram photos on your website, and more.

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If you're a developer who wants to build on top of the Graph API, you'll find a range of features available to you. Once approved by Instagram, you can create apps that make users' lives easier and more interesting.

With the new API, social media managers still need third-party apps that allow them to post and engage using their business account, as well as analyze their post’s performance. So, if you ever wanted to build an Instagram app, this is your moment.

Instagram API Examples

The following are some common examples of Instagram APIs:

        • Instagram API gives you simple access to the Instagram API. You can use it to pull basic Instagram user information and associated data (like comments, media, tags, and Stories).
        • Instagram Analytics provides professional Instagram analytics. You can use it to output analytics data to various interfaces for convenient reporting.
        • Instagram Facebook Media Downloader is a media downloader for Instagram and Facebook. You can use it to download content assets from Instagram and Facebook.
        • Hashtagy lets you easily and quickly generate hashtags for your social media posts. It can help you come up with thousands of relevant ideas based on data.
        • Deep Social helps you access user details including their location, sex, age, language, and ethnicity. You can use it to inform the creation of relevant marketing campaigns for your target audience.

Below are eleven ways to use Instagram’s API — the Graph API.

1. Get Insight into Your Business 

If you want to know how to market your business, you need to know where you’re succeeding and where you need improvement. The Instagram API will allow you to pull any mention of your business across the platform — good or bad. 

If you own a restaurant, you can see which dishes people rave about, take the most photos of, or tag with the puke emoji. If you run an event space, you can see how your clients innovate within the space. Then, you can market the specific flexibility of your venue and give your potential renters better ideas about how to use it. 

If you offer a product, you can see how people use it in real-life. You can also see patterns in user error that impact their experience negatively. It will help you come up with solutions to educate users or make the next version goof-proof.

2. Pull data from specific hashtags.

Use the Instagram API to find data from specific hashtags, pull images from certain hashtags, and publish them on your site in real-time. This can be useful in promoting your social media accounts to your website visitors.

Similarly, you can use this functionality to showcase a large following or high levels of engagement. This is an element of social proof, which is essential for business success.

You can also use the Instagram API to find your own or competitors’ hashtags and evaluate their performance.

For instance, if you ran a successful holiday campaign last year, you may want to remind your team what people were saying at the time. Wading through a competitor’s social media can also provide useful insights to use in your own campaigns.

3. Build your following

While we can’t recommend using Instagram bots to automatically like, comment, and follow users based on the hashtags they use — it violates the Instagram API terms of use and is a great way to get your account shut down — we can recommend using the API to find the right followers for your brand.

Do what the bots do manually. But, use your human powers of deduction to take special note of Instagrammers who can become your unofficial brand ambassadors. They should be the users most engaged with your brand, in the right location, and have their own following. They can promote your brand to their followers and in turn increase your following and your brand’s reach. 

4. See what’s trending.

The Instagram API lets users pull the most popular content, which you can use for research, marketing insights, or to publish on your website.

5. See what’s trending in specific locations.

You can also pull content based on where it was posted geographically. When you search with geotags, you can see trending content in a particular location and continue getting live updates.

This is very useful if you’re targeting a specific location with your marketing campaign. If you want to follow what’s happening around the globe, simply search for locations you’re interested in.

6. Create promotional campaigns.

You can set up a contest that encourages people to take photos of your business in action and use the Instagram API to pull every photo based on the hashtag you set. You can feature the best pictures on your Instagram and website as finalists. Let your audience “vote” for the winner through likes. 

You’ll simultaneously increase engagement and get a hoard of fabulous photos to post on your website and social media platforms throughout the rest of the year.

7. Add Instagram photos to your website.

Whether part of a contest or not, if you’d like to add the photos you post on Instagram to your website, the Instagram API can help you to facilitate that. You can post existing photos or set up a photo stream that will add them automatically as they are uploaded to the platform.

These photos can come from a specific user’s account or hashtags. You can use this feature to create a gallery of photos from your Instagram business account. This not only has the potential to improve your website aesthetic but also promotes your products and encourages website visitors to follow your social media accounts.

Consider also using the Instagram API to add images from all of your marketing campaigns, including photos of fans and other participants.

8. Monitor event or campaign performance.

Since you can pull content based on hashtags and geotags, you can also use the Instagram API to monitor campaigns or events. By looking at the photos, you can get an idea of how users are responding to a particular product, service, or topic. If it’s an event that attendees are sharing about, you can gauge how well it’s received by what they are saying.

9. Create a live feed.

The level of access offered by access to the Instagram API also allows you to showcase your event or campaign. If you’re a venue owner, you can use it to show off your guests having a good time during an event, encouraging others to book with you.

If you’re running a marketing campaign, you can create a live feed of user-generated content to encourage more to participate and ultimately improve awareness of your brand.

10. Auto-print photos.

If you ever need to print Instagram photos from an event or hashtag, the Instagram API can you help you do so. Configure the API to auto-print any photo you upload or those posted with a particular hashtag.

You can use the Instagram API to create a fun collage of pictures taken and uploaded at a specific time of the day for a period of time or put together a mosaic of photos captioned with a particular hashtag at the end of a campaign.

11. Decorate items with Instagram photos.

Go a step further in bringing Instagram photos offline by printing them on items such as phone cases, postcards, and mugs.

This can be a nice way to put a smile on your customers’ faces. For instance, give your Instagram contest winner a certificate with a collage of photos from all those who participated.

How to Use Instagram’s API

The Graph API gives you a level of access that everyday Instagram users don’t otherwise get. As a creative business owner or marketer, there are many ways to use it to grow sales. Use this guide to get started.

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Originally published Apr 1, 2020 9:39:49 AM, updated April 30 2020


Application Programming Interface (API)