Instagram promotions are changing

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Due to stricter data privacy rules Instagram has launched a new hashtag search API which will change the way you can use hashtags within promotions. From 11th December you can still run prize draws and competitions but they need to be planned carefully beforehand.

Until recently your developers could use the old hashtag API to collect photos or videos from any specific hashtag and Instagram would provide usernames and location for searches of any hashtag ever posted. From 11th December you can still run hashtag searches but your campaign must be set-up before the first entry.

Why is Instagram making these changes?

Under the old system a rogue developer could automatically track hundreds of thousands of users’ hashtags and then extract their locations and usernames in a database. This data could be analysed to profile the user by their hashtags and possibly sold on without their consent.

In the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal Facebook, and by default Instagram has introduced new API’s to combat this risk by restricting the amount of hashtags that can be tracked, the period they can be tracked for and the personal information that can be tracked from a hashtag.

Limit on hashtags

The new API means that you can only track 30 hashtags each week so if you are running many different hashtag campaigns for your brand you will need to limit these. The new API also only allows access to content from the previous 24 hours so you can no longer search for all instances of a hashtag and then collect all the entries once your promotion closes.

To remain compliant and ensure all hashtag entries are collected you must now set up your campaign using a data extraction service, such as PromoVeritas, before the promotion begins to pull all hashtag entries.

You need an Instagram Business Profile

For authentication reasons to run a campaign you must now have an Instagram business profile that is linked to a Facebook Company page. Follow Instagram’s easy to use guide on how to do this here.

No more editing old posts

Followers used to be able to amend an old post by adding a hashtag and it would still be collected in a search or extraction of that hashtag. Only posts that have been edited in the past 24 hours will be collected from now on.

No usernames

Instragram’s new API will mean that posts in hashtag feeds will no longer include dates and locations of where they were posted or the username of the person who posted them, but you can link to a URL of the hashtag which will give you details of the user so you can identify who a winner is.

What about Instagram promotions

Instagram promotions remain a highly effective way to run promotions. The difference is that now you either need to set up your campaign beforehand – PromoVeritas can easily take care of that for you. Also making sure you ask entrants to include a mention of your brand’s profile along with the hashtag will make it easier to track entries.

For advice and support with running promotions on Instagram contact PromoVeritas or, why not join us at our next Breakfast Briefing event – all about running social media promotions – which will be held in February 2019 at Langan’s Brasserie. To find out more contact us now.

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