On Jan. 30 Facebook announced that it will be making changes to Instagram’s Graph API to include content publishing for business profiles using third party developer tools.

According to Instagram, the platform is in the process of updating its API to make it easier for businesses to publish content on its platform:

“Last year, we began the process of updating the Instagram API to the Instagram Graph API, built on the Facebook Graph API. This change helps businesses manage their organic presence more effectively. Today, we’re introducing new features to the API, such as allowing businesses to schedule photo posts, view posts they’ve been tagged in and view other business profiles.”

In the past accounts could use third party tools such as Hootsuite or Social Flow to schedule a post to publish on Instagram; the tool would then remind the user to manually publish the post by sending an alert on their mobile device.

This latest update in the Graph API foregoes that additional step, publishing photos with or without captions automatically onto Instagram.

While the scheduler feature isn’t directly available through Instagram, it has been added to Instagram’s Graph API which allows third parties like Hootsuite, Social Flow, Buffer and Planoly to have access to that functionality.

Only compatible third party tools such as Hootsuite or Social Flow are compatible with the new Instagram API Graph changes.

According to Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes this scheduling feature has been highly requested by many of its customers.

“The scheduling and publishing of Instagram content has been the number one request for our 16 million customers,” wrote Holmes. “Now, they can manage large volumes of content, multiple team members and multiple Instagram accounts with ease and security. Hootsuite is excited to partner with Instagram to make this happen.”

This move may stem from an increasing number of business profiles being created on Instagram; as of Dec. 2017 more than 25 million business profiles are used on the platform.

“It’s always been very time-consuming to create Instagram posts,” SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson told TechCrunch in an interview. “That’s not necessarily a problem for individual consumers, but when you’re a media company that creates more than 100,000 posts a month, it’s simply impossible to do everything manually.”

Including the new scheduler, Instagram now offers the following features are currently available through its Graph API for business profiles:

  • Users can read profile info and media of other business profiles;
  • Businesses can read public media that they’ve been photo tagged or @mentioned in, as well as have comments posted on its behalf based on what it was tagged or mentioned in;
  • Better tracking off insights and Instagram analytics based on organic reach;
  • And comment moderation.

While there are steps being taken to update the Instagram Graph API, the platform is deprecating the older Instagram API Platform beginning in July 2018.

Instagram's Graph API will be replacing the current API Platform.

Instagram’s API Platform is used by developers to build non-automated apps and services that serve a variety of purposes that range from helping individuals share content with third party apps; assist brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience; or discover and share content with proper attribution for broadcasters and publishers.

“Instagram is committed to providing our developer community with the best tools to support businesses on the platform and will continue to add new features to the Instagram Graph API,” Instagram wrote in its blog. “To give developers time to migrate to the Instagram Graph API, we will begin ending support for the Instagram API Platform by early 2020.”

The deprecation of the platform will begin in three phases with complete deprecation taking place in early 2020.

The first phase of deprecation will remove the ability to read the list of followers and followed-by users; following and unfollowing accounts on a user’s behalf; or post and delete comments on a user’s behalf.

Instagram API Platform’s second phase will remove the ability to post and delete comments; read public profile info; like or unlike media and receive notifications when media is posted.

In its final stage the feature to read a user’s profile info and media will be deactivated.

“Well now I’m tempted to convert my Instagram personal profile to a business one. A lot of neat changes happening on the platform that I’m looking forward to checking out in 2018!”