Are Instagram’s New API Updates Mostly Hype?

In an effort to draw in more ad revenue, Instagram has launched a new initiative that caters to businesses. The social networking app has updated its API (application program interface) to include content metrics and comment management tools. Now, businesses can disable and/or hide comments from their marketing dashboards, but is it really something your business needs?

Successful Business Tools Are Proven Valuable

Profiting from tools that fulfill business needs is not an entirely new model; consider that B2B tool sales have long been a physical need and oft-successful business plan. A.J. Weller has been providing wear plates that protect heavy machinery for more than 30-years. Their tools provide a valuable service in that they reduce costs by protecting the longevity of expensive equipment.

Growbots is a relatively new tool, but (like Weller) its value cannot be understated. It’s a CRM capable of using artificial intelligence to discover new and highly-relevant sales leads. It’s one of many new next-generation tools that maximize sales and grows businesses online and off.

Does Instagram offer this sort of high-impact, results-driven value? Not really. Although Instagram’s API update does offer a meaningful service (in that it grows a social media presence), it doesn’t really impact business goals, which says is the most important quality of new business tools. 85 percent of survey responders reported that “the most important factor for any new business tool was whether it was effective, or had a direct impact on business goals.”

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How Does Disabling Comments Impact Business Goals?

Short answer: it doesn’t. All it does is censor the public from embarrassing a brand’s public image. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a great inclusion. It ensures that trolls can’t attack and harangue a business, spread false information, or cause a viral attack campaign. But, none of those things contribute to profits, and only slightly affect the potential for profit loss.

Filtering abusive content and blocking offensive comments was the goal of most social networking sites last year. And, most have been successful in updating their APIs to filter comments based on keywords and other factors. Instagram’s update is useful, but it’s not impactful to business goals and thus not a truly effective and useful business tool.

Do Instagram’s Other Metrics Have Value?

Instagram offers some quality metrics, including comments received, most engaged hashtags, engagements per follower, followers gained, referral traffic, and stories metrics. Few of those are truly valuable because they don’t help businesses achieve their goals. The most valuable among them is referral traffic and followers gained because at least they help businesses achieve their social media goals, such as gaining an average number of followers per day and tracking how advertisements are effecting that growth.

For ecommerce sites, the social networking site does offer a shopping feature that makes it easier for users to buy items. The business can tag products in their posts, which users can then click. Users won’t immediately be whisked away to a third-party site, but rather they’ll receive a quick rundown of the product and another link to be taken to the shopping page if they want to buy.

Overall, Instagram’s API needs work if it wants to compete with other non-social-networking tool providers. Those business tool providers seem to have their finger on the pulse of what businesses need. Instagram’s update does come at a time when more and more businesses are seeking tools that will have a direct impact on their objectives in a shorter amount of time. Because social networks rely on business advertising to churn profits, they’re going to need to learn to provide more than just brand awareness.

Anne Lawson
Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.