Instagram has around 2 billion daily active users. It is one of the preferred social media channels for brands for influencer marketing, with 79% of them engaged in the activity. With Instagram focussing on reels and stories, expect these numbers to only go up in the near future.
This has made Instagram integration necessary for companies catering to the creator economy. However, connecting to the Instagram API to build products can be complicated.
In this article, we discuss the need for Instagram API integration, the current issues, and the potential solutions for developers working in the creator industry.
Why do creator economy companies need Instagram data?
A creator's identity is currently limited to the silos of social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, amongst others. They have little to no identity outside. Creators want to break down these platform barriers and use their hard-earned reputation as part of their identity.
On the other hand, developers building for the creator economy want a simple solution that allows them to quickly and easily verify a large pool of creators across various platforms to go to market as soon as possible.
The current practice of confirming identities and other metrics across platforms through screenshots, series of emails, and phone calls is too tedious, time-consuming, and not scalable. Developers need access to the creator’s first-party data directly from the source platform so they don’t need to worry about authenticity and verification.
How do you get Instagram data?
Currently, developers can get data about creators on Instagram using one of the three methods:
- Data Scraping
Many third-party agencies use data scraping to provide information about creators’ publicly available data. However, data scraping has many shortcomings:
- Many underlying platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, etc., discourage scraping. Therefore, the data quality is irregular and unreliable.
- Data scraping provides only publicly visible data but not private information such as post impressions, which is an essential metric for many brand engagement/CPM calculations.
- It does not provide trusted audience demographics directly from the underlying platform as this data is private to the creator. Hence audience profiles are approximations and vary from one third-party provider to another for the same creator.
- It leaves the onus of creator verification to the influencer marketing platforms.
- Pseudo login
Another way to get the creator’s information is via pseudo logins. Few agencies create a secure login environment where they take Instagram IDs and passwords from consented creators to take out the required data.
However, social media platforms like Instagram are making pseudo logins more and more difficult with each passing day, making it a non-reliable solution.
- API integration
A secure and consent-driven way of getting creator data is to take the API integration route.
This method provides you with first-party data of Instagram creators, including post login/private data. Data attributes visible only to the creators from Instagram include:
- Impressions & Reach
- Audience demographics
- Content consumption metrics - Video view duration, saves, shares, etc.
- Direct content URLs - Enabling you to import content into your platforms easily
Challenges with direct integration with Instagram developer APIs
Even though direct Graph API integration is the best possible method for data collection from Instagram, multiple issues make it difficult for most organizations:
- Developers must go through the entire documentation from Instagram to fetch a specific data point. Even after this, reaching, executing and approval takes time. Here is the link to the complete Instagram documentation: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/instagram/
- Companies need to create a secure infrastructure to access data and face annual audits. This is a cumbersome and costly process.
- Developers need to build separate integrations for each social media platform from which they want to fetch data.
- If organizations want to switch their focus to a different platform, it is impossible to do so with the infrastructure of Instagram API integration.
Using Phyllo Instagram API integration to get creator-consented data
Phyllo is the simplest and most effective way to get creator data. Phyllo provides a single API to integrate with multiple social media platforms.
Phyllo is an evolved productization of custom social media/creator platform integrations. Rather than thousands of developers building their integrations with YouTube, TikTok, Patreon, Spotify, and Instagrams of the world, Phyllo has made these integrations scalable and trustable. This allows developers of the creator economy to work with a single easy-to-integrate API.
Phyllo provides the following creator data:
- Profile data
- Content feeds
- Audience demographics
- Insta stories
- Content views
Phyllo Connect SDK for Instagram: Giving Control To The Creators
To build trust among the creators and to help them make informed decisions, Phyllo educates the creator about the connection process and Phyllo’s role in it. It also provides the details about the account information collected post a successful login. Phyllo ensures not only to disclose the details but to get user consent to share them with the company. It also provides control to the user over their connected account by giving an option to disconnect it. Connect SDK needs to help the creator get the job done and quickly get out of the way. It ensures all that while taking care of information disclosure, user consent, and account control. It helps the creators to trust Phyllo with their accounts and data.
Unlike the limited number of integrations built by companies, the Connect SDK allows creators to link their accounts from diverse platforms like Instagram, Twitch, Substack, and more. The SDK needs to handle login flows and requirements from each platform.
The Challenges With Instagram Login Flows
While some login flows are effortless as Twitter, others are tricky. Instagram is one such platform whose login requirements are a bit complicated. Instagram login happens via Facebook and needs the creator to have a professional Instagram account linked to a Facebook page. Jeez! If that sounds a lot to you, imagine explaining it to the creators on the SDK. We try that by educating the creators before they log in and afterward if they do not meet the requirements. Making these additions to the connect experience has improved the connection success rates for Instagram.
Graph APIs for Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are one of the leading formats of content creation. Their engagement metrics are not publicly available and are not provided by third-party scrapers. They are provided by Instagram Graph APIs covered by Phyllo. This means Phyllo can provide the engagement metrics for Insta Stories.
Phyllo vs. Third Party Aggregators for Instagram Data
- Quality of data: Phyllo is better when you need highly accurate and credible data from a creator since Phyllo gets this data from the true source - platform APIs.
- In tandem with source platforms: Phyllo does not work against the source platforms and rather works with them. The data pipe performance is far superior to those derived from data scraping, which is discouraged by the source platforms.
- Webhooks: Phyllo provides webhooks so developers can know when a creator has updated their data rather than shooting in the dark. This also allows developers to improve their page load time when requesting data. Third-Party Agencies only support async ‘on-demand’ data requests that take time to fetch the data from the platforms.
- Audience Data: Phyllo’s audience data comes from the platform APIs and gives the data that a creator sees post logging into their dashboard. TPAs run approximations to get this data.
- Higher data refresh frequencies: Phyllo typically refreshes creator data at a frequency of 24 hours or sooner, while TPAs that manage databases of millions of creators refresh their data at much lower frequencies.
What kind of features can I build using Insta Data?
There are several ways in which businesses are using Instagram creator data to build amazing products. Here are a few of them:
- Automated Verification: Phyllo provides a consented data pipe for Instagram creators to authenticate and prove they are who they claim to be. It also asks them to provide access to their data to any developer for validation. Developers can use our REST APIs to retrieve information about a creator's identity, income, and engagement on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, OpenSea, Discord, Shopify, Substack, and so many others.
- Influencer Marketing: Brands want to invest in creators that are right for them. They also want to ensure that they are dealing with the trusted creator and not an impersonator or a fraud, and the onus of verification falls on the influencer marketing platform.
Phyllo’s Identity API provides creators’ profile-level information such as their followers, following, subscribers, and other reputation metrics. It also provides audience demographics data (gender, age distribution, location, etc.) to determine how valuable a creator is to the brands.
- Creator Tools: Creators build their platform with creator tools. These platforms become a revenue source for creators who charge their fans.
Now, these fans know the creator on YouTube and are coming to this platform to buy courses/merchandise from the creator. These platforms face a significant identity problem because fans have no way of knowing the platform belongs to the original creator and no fraudulent entity trying to pose as the creator. With Phyllo’s data pipe, this issue gets addressed.
Fintechs must ensure that the correct creator benefits from their financial services, such as credit cards, insurance, and loans, before offering them to creators.
The standard wage slip or other paperwork is not available to the creators. To get a loan or insurance, the only proof they have to show is the number of followers they have and the amount of engagement they get on their posts. Banks must ensure that the engagement shown is for the creator's own work, not for someone else’s.
Again, Phyllo's data pipe is critical in this case to authenticate the person’s identity.
Creators are releasing NFTs and tokens on web3 platforms, and fans are familiar with these creators from web2 platforms like Instagram.
Verifying NFT creators' web2 reputations and social identities ensure that fans purchase from the artists they love and follow, rather than a fake individual impersonating the creator.
Verifying identity also helps prove NFT ownership to get access to NFT-based membership DAOs or promotions.
What about Creator Data Compliance?
Recent data privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA have put a massive focus on consented data. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them; this includes:
- The right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared;
- The right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions);
- The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; and
- The right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights.
Businesses are required to give consumers certain notices explaining their privacy practices. The CCPA applies to many businesses, including social media platforms.
To comply with these restrictions, social media platforms like Instagram have become even more cautious while handling their data. This means any integration with Instagram has to be completely compliant and with the consent of the creators.
Phyllo not only provides creator-consented data without scraping, but it also eliminates the need for developers to know all such compliances. Phyllo takes care of region and platform-specific restrictions so that developers can focus on creating products on top of available data.
Due to its large user base, Instagram is one of the most valuable networking platforms for companies and creators. We are already seeing its impact on the brand-consumer relationship with 72% of users purchasing products from a business at least once.
Businesses will create more products with Instagram, and developers and product teams will need access to real-time, quality creator data.
Please schedule a call with us to learn more about how Phyllo can empower your business with Instagram creator data.