April 10, 2018: Instagram disables APIs, Facebook releases new features despite admitting to reading your messages & Amazon ad spend increases

Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:

Bye, Bye Miss API

Along with multiple-privacy related changes being made at Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram disabled a portion of its API (detailed below in an email to developers) leading to broken functionality for many third-party apps and developers scrambling to rebuild. Specifically, Instagram announced plans to massively reduce how much data developers can pull from the Instagram API, shrinking the API limit from 5,000 to 200 calls per user per hour. And, starting in December 2018, Instagram will no longer allow apps to read public content, and in early 2020, apps will be prohibited from reading a user’s own profile info and media. Is your head spinning yet? Ours are too.

What it means, IRL: Instagram has become a critical component of most influencer marketing strategies, but when privacy controversies surrounding its parent company spreads a virus of distrust what does this mean for influencer marketers? It’s time for marketers to double down on first-party data  – aka obtain opt-in data from creators and consumers to access their data for use in marketing activities.

Instagram has also instructed the developer community to migrate to three new APIs if they want to maintain access to data for self-identified creators after December 11, 2018:

  •      Mention API – Facilitate interactions between businesses and people. Allow them to see media they have been photo tagged or @mentioned in and reply back.
  •      Business Profile API – Discover other businesses. Learn how other businesses manage their Instagram presences by viewing their organic posts.
  •      Insights API – Help businesses access and analyze valuable metrics about their Instagram business profiles. Enable them to understand and optimize the performance of their organic content on Instagram.

Make it work: As marketers, we’re all in this together. If you’re managing an app or are impacted by the above changes, work with your product and engineering team or partners to start the navigation process to Instagram’s new API framework. As Facebook (and Instagram) continue to limit the use of third-party data on their platforms, marketers also need a plan in place to transition to first-party data strategies.TLDR; don’t panic. As you change your focus to becoming reliant on first-party data, publishers and influencers can become critical new partners to help access and develop first-party audience insights and segments.

Facebook Reads Your Messages (And They Cannot Lie)

From one privacy scandal to the next – now Zuck & Co. are saying  spy on you. This week, Facebook announced that it’s scanning users’ Messenger conversations – including text chats, pictures, and links – to ensure its users abide by the company’s rules. Similar to the way the company analyzes any public content on the platform, it analyzes Messenger convos with a view to prevent abuse. Messages that are flagged for violating Facebook’s community standards are read by moderators, who then block or take them down if needed.

Honesty is the best policy – it’s no secret that Facebook has been struggling in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and with this latest data & privacy violation, Zuck & Co. continue to remain in the hot seat. Even with desperate attempts to rid itself of fraud on its platform, marketers should be informed with their approach to Facebook and should understand the importance of developing a first-party data strategy for all marketing initiatives.


To Trust Facebook Or Not To Trust Facebook

That is the question top of mind for today’s marketers.

Today, Facebook announced plans to expand a recent test that provided users with more information about the articles in their News Feed and the media sources behind them, in the hopes that doing so will make it easier for users to determine who is trustworthy and who isn’t. In addition to rolling out the feature to everyone in the US, the company is also adding another two new features – More From This Publisher & Shared By Friends – which aim to provide readers with more context so that they can decide for themselves ‘what to read, trust and share.’ While Facebook’s latest ploy may gradually allow publishers back into the ecosystem, the move may be a little too late.


Facebook’s Light At The End Of The Tunnel

It may not be ALL bad news for Facebook – who just announced its Messenger app now supports 360-degree photo and HD video sharing. Earlier this year, Facebook made it possible for users to share photos, videos, stickers and GIFs in Messenger. Since the days of AIM (#RIP), direct messaging has been pervasive & widespread – and people are choosing to spend more time in the messaging features of an app or network than the news feed – especially given the current climate and animosity towards Facebook’s News Feed. We called it last year, 2018 will be the “return of the m-app.”


Amazon Ad Spend Goes Up, Up & Away

Mo’ money = less problems, on Amazon that is. According to a new report, monthly ad spend on Amazon tripled between July and December and is expected to sustain steady growth through the remainder of 2018. While this isn’t exactly surprising (see: rise of Amazon-Only shoppers & increase in product searches on Amazon), marketers should be cognizant of the depth and variety of marketing programs Amazon offers – namely the 12+ widgets of social proof Amazon offers on the long scroll down on any given product page.

As your brand continues to evolve its Amazon-facing strategy, brands have the opportunity to collaborate with influencers to create content that maximizes the breadth of content available for personalization on Amazon’s product pages. High performing influencer-generated and user-generated content can then be repurposed across paid and owned assets (i.e. brand & product pages and paid ads), and in turn – highly searched for and reviewed products should be core products featured in influencer-generated content – both reinforce consumer trust in that product across the customer journey.


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