Meta has announced this week that Instagram will be extending its API capabilities – including several new endpoints for Reels. The move is part of Instagram’s push to improve its content experiences for both publishers and consumers, whether they’re using the native app or a third party.
The company stated in a blog post: “Beginning tomorrow, June 28, 2022, we will begin introducing Reels to several endpoints on the Instagram Platform…
“After consistently hearing from our developer community that Reels is a top priority, we are excited to introduce Reels to a number of the endpoints that you may already be familiar with.”
What’s the update?
As of 28 June, around 25% of Instagram users will have access to all Reels APIs. This will roll out to all users by 6 July. Expanding the scope of support of Reels will include more access to insights, comment moderation, content publishing abilities, hashtag search, business discovery, mentions, display API, and promote API.
The platform’s competition with TikTok is of course a huge driver of this development. But Instagram has also stated that Reels now makes up more than 20% of time spent on the app.
They revealed that, as well as the push for short-form videos, there is also a major shift in the advancements of AI recommendations driving feeds rather than users’ social circles alone.
In short, Instagram is aiming to develop an AI recommendation algorithm as powerful as TikTok, in a bid to increase interactions with Reels.
Who will this affect?
Developers, brands, creators, and viewers will all be impacted in some way or another by this largely positive change.
The enhanced API will be available for all users in the current and previous versions of Instagram Graph API, which developers use to connect their own apps to Instagram’s functionalities. This will also allow developers automatic access to Reels within their app APIs, without the need for additional App Review.
For users, the ability to view relevant Reels in their feed based on previous views, engagements, and follows will be boosted. So brands and creators are now more likely to get in front of Instagram users who might not already follow them or view their videos.
This might sound like an unwanted change for users who like their feed to be social-based. But the success of TikTok’s algorithm implied that more and more users are reacting positively to seeing suggested videos from new creators in their feeds.
What does it mean for creators?
Both creators and brands alike will now have more options for creating, managing, and posting Instagram Reels via third-party platforms, thanks to the launch of Reels API for external use. This means creators can schedule their Reels via platforms like Hootsuite, in the same way, they currently can for posts and Stories.
This also gives creators the ability to view all their cross-platform analytics within a single third-party dashboard, rather than using Meta’s own interface. This makes it much easier to keep track of your social posts and their performance, so creators can get a clearer view of where each piece of content is performing best.
The API will also support enhanced moderation allowing comment replies, deletions, and hides within Reels, hashtag searches across other users’ content, insights into mentions and engagements, and Business account publishing.
Overall, this push is a clear indicator that Meta is prioritizing Reels the same way Facebook prioritized all video content a few years back. And with 45% of Instagram interacting with Reels at least once per week, there are no reason content creators shouldn’t take advantage of these new improvements to the platform.
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