Facebook introduces new Messenger API to allow businesses manage communications on Instagram
Following cross-app communication of Instagram and Messenger, Facebook has announced that its Messenger API (application programming interface) has also been updated to allow businesses to manage their communications on Instagram, in addition to Messenger.
Before the updated Messenger API businesses could only respond to customer inquiries via the Instagram app and via Facebook unified business inbox. This worked well for some smaller businesses, but for larger brands with a high volume of messages, it is not very efficient.
The updated API doesn’t quite support cross-app communications, but it does enable businesses to integrate Instagram messaging with the business apps and workflows they are already using internally to manage their Facebook conversations. The businesses after the update will be able to use rich multimedia content, such as photos, URL links, and work with developers to integrate the API with their product and customer databases.
A business with CRM system integration could display customer loyalty information and take it into account while responding.
Businesses using the news updated API can manage messages initiated by people throughout their presence on Instagram, including their profiles, Instagram Shops and Stories.
They can use information from the main business systems along with messaging on Instagram, integrating with a customer-relationship-management system to give their agents a holistic view of customer loyalty.
There is a change in the picture when Instagram is making Shopping a primary business on Instagram and following the launch of Instagram stores and visual changes to the app to highlight shopping features.
According to Facebook, daily conversations between individuals and businesses on Messenger and Instagram combined have grown by over 40 percent over the past year.
Facebook product manager Marion Boiteux wrote in a blog post of the company, “Instagram is a platform for creating trends and discovering new brands is an important part of this experience. Messaging plays a pivotal role in helping people connect with brands in personal ways through Story replies, Direct messages, and mentions. For businesses, driving sales, and improving customer satisfaction, having meaningful interactions with customers on Instagram messaging is important.”
The updated Messenger API is getting into beta testing with big brands like Adidas, Glossier, Amaro, H&M, Michael Kors, Nars, MagazineLuiza, Sephora, and TechStyle Fashion Group. The beta version is also open to limited developer partners.
An alpha test with partner Clarabridge on this feature shows that brands have improved response rates on Instagram by up to 55 percent by managing DMs through their platform.
Boiteux further added in the blog, “The Company is excited about the quick results few businesses saw during alpha testing, like higher response rates, reduced resolution times and deeper customer insights. We’re also testing with a limited number of developer partners and are very happy at the initial response.”
Facebook also plans to introduce a set of new features to Instagram that will allow businesses to quickly respond to common questions using automation, while also offering to connect customers to live support when needed.
At present, the messages will appear on Messenger or Instagram tab depending on the fact that from where the brand’s customers are messaging. However, Facebook revealed that it plans to finally bring cross-app communication to businesses and developers in a later update.