It’s Finally Here: Messenger Automation for Instagram

6 min read
Messenger image

Over 90% of people on Instagram follow at least one business. With the Messenger API for Instagram, it is now possible for these brands to offer unique messaging experiences to their fans.

Brands on Instagram, especially D2C brands and creators can now use the same messaging automations Messenger already offered. Automations include message replies to fans who tag your post in their story, DMs to people who comment on your posts, and more.

Setting up workflows and starting personal conversations to drive valuable outcomes is now so much easier. Whether you want to generate leads, get more engagement or get more sales for your business - you’ll be saving a lot of time with this new feature.

If you’re interested in getting early access to our Instagram automation solutions, sign up here

Table of Contents

The Messenger API is finally coming to Instagram
What does the Messenger API for Instagram do?
Why is this important for brands and businesses?
1. For direct-to-consumer brands
2. For creators
From public to private meaningful conversations
1. Funneling social audiences into messaging
2. iOS 14.5, 3rd-party cookies and consent-based marketing
3. The Omni Opt-in for merchants
What’s next?

The Messenger API is finally coming to Instagram

Stan Chudnovsky is VP of Messenger at Facebook. In a recent interview, he talks about how Messenger has become more of a protocol than just a messaging app:

“As the company tries to make WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Oculus, Portal and the rest of its products more interoperable, Messenger has become the Rosetta Stone for the whole project”

It was only a matter of time before the Messenger API would integrate with Instagram. This lets brands and businesses bring automations and rich Messenger features to their Instagram audiences.

Messenger-as-protocol-Stan-ChudnovskyMessenger is much more than just a messaging app. According to Stan Chudnovsky

What does the Messenger API for Instagram do?

The Messenger API already allows you to automate a lot of messaging tasks. Whether that’s sending back in stock alerts, abandoned cart reminders, or automatically replying to people who comment on your Facebook posts or live streams.

On Instagram, none of these automated messaging features were available... but now many of them are.

Messenger-API-for-Instagram-example-2Automation on Instagram messaging will save you time and money

With the Messenger API now available on Instagram, you’ll be able to automate manual tasks that are essential to engaging with your fans, followers and potential customers.

Here’s a few examples of what you can expect:

  • Engage. Automatically DM people who tag your post in their story. Great for incentivising user-generated content.
  • Automate. Automatically DM people who comment on a particular image, video or reel.
  • Service. Run Instagram support in external inboxes. Gets rid of siloed messaging and optimizes your support.
  • Rich features. All the bells and whistles we've become accustomed to in Messenger like carousels, button menus, keywords etc.

Why is this important for brands and businesses?

1. Instagram Messenger API for direct-to-consumer brands

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands sell their products directly to customers online. And most consumers - people like you and me - spend a LOT of their time on Instagram.

As a matter of fact, here are some interesting statistics from Sprout Social:

  • Instagram is in the top-five most downloaded apps on both Android and iOS
  • 63% of Americans check their Instagram daily
  • The average Australian user spends about 7 hours per week on the platform

Basically, Instagram is THE place for D2C brands to find their audiences. While Instagram users engaging with a brand’s content indicate interest and even buying intent...

It’s difficult to convert this engagement into direct conversations and sales. Until you slide into those people’s DMs. But doing so manually is hard. Which is where the new Messenger API for Instagram comes in.

Messenger-API-for-Instagram-shoppingD2C brands, merchants and creators benefit most from these new features

This new feature lets you automate those manual messaging tasks that get conversations going. Turning those conversations into conversions is what makes D2C brands grow.

Example:

D2C brand Sephora used the Messenger API for Instagram to easily interact with people via Instagram by moving public conversations into private messages. This led to 100% of clients reaching out through Instagram now served on Instagram.

How’s that for a high success rate?

2. Instagram Messenger API for creators

But it’s not just ecommerce businesses that can profit from the new Messenger API for Instagram. Creators - artists, musicians and other creatives - stand to win the most from building a direct relationship with their fans.

These creators only need 1000 true fans to make a living, so nurturing a relationship with their fans directly is essential.

But the comment section of an Instagram post isn’t where you build connections. Those connections are created in the Instagram DM inbox.

If a creator wants to grow their business on Instagram, they need to funnel their followers into private, meaningful conversations.

And that’s exactly what the Messenger API for Instagram enables. Automatically sending DMs to people who comment on your post, or who tag your post in their stories means you’re starting a private conversation.

And private, meaningful conversations can turn your cold audience into loyal fans.

This is part of a bigger move from public to private meaningful conversations

Maybe it’s because brands want to own audience data that otherwise lives on a third-party platform. Maybe it’s because they don’t like the idea of social advertising based on advanced data tracking. Or maybe they just want to create the best experience for end-users: their fans or customers.

Messenger-API-for-Instagram-exampleAutomate replies to comments on your Instagram posts

Fact remains: we’re seeing a massive shift from public, superficial and irrelevant types of marketing to more privacy-focused and consent-based alternatives.

And the move to 1-on-1, direct messaging makes up over 90% of that. Here’s some ways in which the move from public to private is acting out:

1. Funneling social audiences into messaging

People that depend on social news feeds for a living have been having a tough time for a while. News feed algorithms filter out so much content. Getting your message across is a constant struggle to try and optimize for engagement.

Funneling as much of your social audience as possible into direct 1-on-1 message conversations lets you bypass news feeds. Lets you take back control of your audience and build relationships in private.

Online advertising is going to change massively in 2021 and beyond. Up until this year, most advertising practices have been based on aggressive data tracking. This is now being reigned in by iOS and Android security updates and browsers’ cookie tracking bans.

Further reading: 'The Future of Private and Consent-Based Marketing'

Data tracking in and across apps and browsers is going to be a thing of the past. Instead of relying heavily on data tracking without consent, why not focus on more consent-based practices - like asking your audience whether or not they’d like to receive marketing material.

In 2021 and beyond, it’s all about putting the end user first, especially for D2C brands and creators. Their success is linked to building long lasting relationships with their fans, after all.

3. The Omni Opt-in for merchants

Of course, the Messenger API for Instagram is a great way to service your Instagram audience with relevant and timely messaging and alerts. But if you’re a D2C brand, your audience might be spread across different channels.

Or they might prefer different messaging apps like Messenger or WhatsApp to Instagram DM. We want you to be able to service these people too. We also want to join the current movement of giving consumers back control of the marketing materials they receive.

Omni-Opt-in-Messenger-WhatsApp-InstagramThe Omni Opt-in for WhatsApp, Messenger and soon Instagram DM

Which is why we’ve built the Omni Opt-in for merchants - one button user can click to receive timely and relevant alerts on the messaging app of choice. And you can bet we’ll be adding Instagram DM to the Omni Opt-in as soon as possible.

What’s next?

At the moment, we’re slowly onboarding priority partners onto the Messenger API for Instagram. The roll-out is also phased on Instagram’s side: currently only business accounts with over 10K and under 100K are able to connect to the API.

They plan to expand to accounts with between 1K and 100K followers for the next phase in July and include remaining accounts for the last phase by the end of Q3.

If you’re interested in getting early access to our Instagram solutions, sign up here or get in touch with our partnerships team by sending an email to harry@shoppop.com.


Hey there 👋
Get early access to our Instagram automations solutions.
Sign up here

Jonas van de Poel

Jonas van de Poel

Content Writer for ShopPop. Polyglot and wordsmith armed with fountain pen and ergonomic keyboard. Loves copywriting, marketing, and wearing shades at night.