Nov 18 - 2min readInstagram API change means big adjustments for App DevelopersBy Launchbase

It has been a little over a month since Instagram finished beta testing advertising on its platform and now the Social Media Company is stepping up efforts to readjust its focus by making amendments to its API.
In an announcement on the company’s Platform Policy page they outlined the app uses that they will continue to support which include services that help individuals to share their own content with 3rd party apps as well as apps that help brands and advertisers manage their audience or broadcasters to discover and publish content.
In other words they will no longer support 3rd party apps that take content away from Instagram.
Developers’ Response


While the news, which has come somewhat suddenly, means that some apps will have to change the view from developers isn’t all bad. Certainly fellow mobile app developers in London that we’ve spoken to understand that Instagram has a right to grow and change its API and its focus and the streamlined approach does still allow developers to build Instagram-specific apps. They just can no longer build dedicated reader apps for the platform. According to Tech Crunch the number of reader apps for Instagram isn’t too large anyway so the move is unlikely to affect many apps. What the move will allow is for the platform to concentrate more on itself and grow larger and organically which may well have a long-term benefit for developers as well as brands interested in the platform.


That the move ties in with Instagram’s newfound readiness to advertise makes sense. By controlling the content on its own platform they can better advertise. This is beneficial to Instagram as well as brands and advertisers alike who will get more bang for their buck.


Growing Reputation


This move by the company which, in reality, is a minor change is relevant in highlighting the growing importance of the platform itself. The platform is growing fast and brands are starting to become more aware of how they can use it to attract followers and engage with them. New brands too find it easier (and cheaper) to build an audience on Facebook-owned Instagram than Facebook itself.


As Instagram was keen to stress in its announcement it will still continue to support apps which allow brands and advertisers to use its space. Users of the platform should not be expecting a raft of ads to come their way however with the brand keen to use this streamlining of the platform to improve the platform itself.


There is a 6 month review period for existing apps to amend their functionality to comply with the new rules so that is a fair amount of time for app developers to get a start on any changes which need to be implemented.


Though reader apps are certainly likely to be gone there is still a range of different ways that Instagram can be used in positive ways and we look forward to reporting these new developments as they come.


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