Marigold Grow Support

Understanding Instagram Feeds & Hashtag Competitions


Facebook and Instagram made major changes to their platforms in 2018 to better protect their users' data and privacy. In this article, we'll look at the way these changes impact you when building social walls or running Instagram hashtag competitions.

What is the Instagram API?

The Instagram API is a programmatic way to find and retrieve posts from Instagram. We use the Instagram API to create feeds that find Instagram content for social walls and collages, and to retrieve Instagram entries for hashtag giveaways and competitions.

What changed in 2018?

In 2018, Instagram announced a new Instagram Graph API, along with plans to retire their existing API. All partners and providers using these APIs were affected.

What do Instagram's API Changes Mean For Me?

In a nutshell, Cheetah Experiences modified the way that Instagram feeds, Instagram Channels and Instagram Hashtag Giveaways/Competitions operate. In the remainder of the article we'll look at these changes in detail.

New authentication requirements

With the new Instagram Graph API, in an effort to protect users and their data, Instagram only allows users to authenticate feeds under the following conditions:

  • You need to sign-in using a Facebook account
  • The Facebook account must have a role on a Facebook page
  • The Facebook page must be associated with an Instagram Business Account

This workflow mostly impacts the feed creation process for Instagram content and data feeds but also impacts Instagram Channels as well. For a complete run-through on how to assign a Facebook user a role on a Facebook Page and how to link a Facebook Page to an Instagram Business Account, please see this article.

Instagram Business Account Feed

We've introduced a new Instagram Business Account feed which allows you to retrieve content from an Instagram Business Account for which you know the login credentials. It uses the new login process mentioned above. Posts brought in using this feed type will provide the post itself as well as the username and avatar of the author. 

Instagram Hashtag Feed

We've introduced a new Instagram Hashtag feed which uses the new login process mentioned above. As part of Instagram's drive to protect users' privacy, posts retrieved using a hashtag alone will no longer contain the user details of the author. This means that the post and its description will be available but you will no longer be able to see the username or avatar for an Instagram post brought in using this feed. While the post can be presented in social displays, note that the author details will not be available.

Another significant change was around the age of content that the feed can return. The Instagram Hashtag Feed will only be able to return content from the last 24h from the time you activate it. Matching content will then be returned regularly from that point onwards.

Instagram Mentions Feed

We've introduced a new Instagram Mentions feed which retrieves posts where your brand has been tagged in the photo itself. You will need to authenticate the feed using the login process outlined above. Posts brought in using this feed type will provide the post itself as well as the username and avatar of the author.

Instagram Hashtag Giveaways/Competitions

When you run a hashtag giveaway or competition using Instagram, you'll need to authenticate using the login process outlined above. Furthermore, you will need to ask participants to include your chosen hashtag in the post description AND tag your brand to enter the promotion. Just like the Instagram Mentions feed mentioned above, tagging your brand (your Instagram account) means that matching posts can be retrieved with the username and avatar of the author... allowing you to choose winners and contact the lucky individuals.

If you have any further questions, please contact your Customer Success Manager who will be happy to advise you.