Having problems with your favorite Instagram tracking app?
That could be because over the weekend Instagram changed its API rate limits – which, in layman’s terms, means that they’ve scaled back the amount of data developers can access at once. That means apps which show you if people have followed you back, which hashtags are trending, and other Insta analytics functions may not be working as they once did, causing headaches for social media managers.
Instagram hasn’t offered an explanation for the change as yet, but it appears to be linked to parent company Facebook’s wider efforts to implement more data controls in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And it’s a problem now, for sure, but more concerning could be the precedent it sets for other Facebook data, and how third party tools are able to access it and provide insights.
Really, Facebook has already made it so Facebook Insights is your best bet for Facebook Page data, but there are still many social management tools and apps which give you an ‘all-in-one’ solution for such management, and any change to what Facebook, and Instagram, make available in this regard will cause issues. It may soon be that you have to use Facebook – and Facebook only – for such, which will not only require a re-assessment of your workflow, but will also mean you’re increasingly reliant on Facebook’s data, which has been somewhat patchy at times in the recent past.
Of course, it’s possible that none of this will happen – that Instagram will merely implement these new restrictions, causing a re-think for the related apps, but then no other changes will come. But given the scope of the issue, and the changes already being implemented, it does seem like significant changes, and restrictions are afoot. Indeed, Facebook has already moved to put new restrictions on data uploaded for custom audiences, has removed supplemental information from third-party providers from their internal ad targeting, and is re-assessing the access apps have now, and have had in the past.
The new world of social ad targeting enables greater focus than ever, because you can hone in on specific details – intricate personality traits and activity types in order to boost response. That’s been key to Facebook’s growth, but it may also now become its key problem. With government authorities speculating on what’s to be done, and more reports of problems coming through, we could be entering a new era for all social platforms.
Will that be better, or worse for marketers? And whether it is or isn’t, can we trust Facebook and other big data hoarding companies to do what’s best with such insights?
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