During their annual F8 Refresh conference, Facebook announced the Messenger API for Instagram has exited beta and is now available to all businesses looking to forge deeper relationships with their customers through scalable, 1:1 conversations.
The new API enables consumer brands to scale automated conversations within Instagram Direct Messages and presents a strategic opportunity to deliver premium customer experiences on one of today’s most popular social networks.
- Send and receive text, media, stories, etc.
- Retrieve conversation history from the IG business inbox.
- Respond to public comments with private messages.
The API is open to all businesses. Prior to this release, brands handled customer conversations in one of two ways: either by interacting with consumers on Instagram directly or using Facebook’s unified business inbox. Not surprisingly, these options were limited by how they can be used and what a business can do with them.
The Messenger API can be integrated into any third-party application used to manage customer communications including social media management platforms like Hootsuite or Sprinklr, CRM applications like Salesforce or Oracle, and messaging platforms like Quiq.
According to Techcrunch the Messenger API will be available in a phased approach. Phase 1 will allow business accounts with 10,000 to 100,000 followers to connect to the API first. In July (Phase 2) Facebook will connect accounts with 100,000 – 1 million followers. Future updates will include all other accounts by the end of the year.
Before getting started with the new Messenger API, a brand must have access to the following:
- An Instagram Business Account or Instagram Creator Account
- A Facebook page connected to that account
- A Facebook developer account that can perform tasks on that page
- A registered Facebook app with basic settings configured
Generally, brands that work with Quiq have an Instagram account and Facebook page set up. Our team of knowledgeable conversation experts will handle the developer page and Facebook app setup for you.
How Businesses Use Instagram’s New Messenger API
Facebook reports that 500 million accounts visit Instagram’s stories daily and 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month. Given the widespread adoption of Instagram and more specifically, the engagement with shopping and product-specific posts, brands must develop a messaging strategy that includes Instagram in order to compete.
Here are four ways to get started with the new Messenger API:
1. Engagement: How To Start Conversations on Instagram
Perhaps one of the most important new features of Messenger’s API support for Instagram is the ability for customers and brands to initiate automated conversations through various entry points on the platform.
Customers can start conversations with businesses through the brand’s Instagram profile page.
Instagram Stories have also been enhanced to provide an additional opportunity for brands to initiate automated 1:1 conversations with customers.
Customers browsing Instagram Shops can also start conversations with brands when they have product or shopping-related inquiries.
Consumer brands can now initiate 1:1 conversations with shoppers who leave questions and comments on brands’ posts.
By integrating Messenger’s API Support for Instagram with highly-intelligent conversational automation, businesses can initiate conversations at each of these entry points and deliver highly-personalized messaging experiences — entirely at scale.
2. Consideration: Addressing Product Questions and Concerns
After driving shoppers to 1:1 conversations on Instagram, brands can leverage conversational automation to provide answers and responses to customers’ frequently asked questions.
By addressing customer inquiries directly within Instagram, brands can further ensure a comprehensive online shopping experience without ever leaving the platform
3. Purchase: Helping Shoppers Find the Right Products
Consumer businesses can also use automated conversations within Instagram to help drive shoppers to purchase.
By leveraging Messenger’s API support for Instagram, brands can provide shoppers with guided shopping experiences that deliver highly-personalized product suggestions based on their conversational inputs.
4. Care: Seamless Order Management and Support
Lastly, after making a purchase, customers can leverage conversations within Instagram to get post-purchase order updates and more.
Through this experience, shoppers can receive immediate responses to their current order status and more.
Try Instagram’s New Messaging API Yourself
Before you dive into deploying Instagram Messaging, you may want to experience it for yourself. Original Coast Clothing (OC) is a fictional clothing brand created for the purposes of showcasing Instagram’s features.
Try it now by searching for Original Coast Clothing on Instagram. You can initiate a conversation by tapping the “message” button. This demo should serve as inspiration for brands looking to deliver a great customer experience using both automation and live agents.
Getting Started with the New Messenger API for Instagram
As the new API exits beta and becomes widely available to consumer brands, many businesses are eager to get started using it to provide highly-personalized and scalable customer experiences on Instagram.
To get started, download our latest guide for Getting Started with The New API for Instagram DMs and learn how to deliver scalable customer experiences on one of today’s most popular channels.