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Instagram is rolling out a new hashtag search API that allows businesses to search for 30 hashtags in a seven-day period. The revamped search will replace the old search feature that is part of the Instagram Platform API. The old search will no longer be accessible after December 11, 2018.
What does the revamped hashtag search mean for marketers?
Searches Now Have Restrictions
The new hashtag search API introduces some restrictions that will affect the way marketers use the tool. Businesses are now limited in the number of queries they can perform in any given seven-day period.
According to the Hashtag Search API developer page, businesses will only be able to query a maximum of 30 unique hashtags for an Instagram Business User within a seven-day period.
“A queried hashtag will count against this limit as it is queried. Subsequent queries on that hashtag within 7 days of the initial query will not count against the limit,” the page reads.
No Personally Identifiable Information, Comments or Stories
The new hashtag search API does not include personally identifiable information. Businesses will no longer be allowed to comment on hashtagged objects through the API.
Also, hashtags that are used in Instagram Stories will not be identified by the API.
Gaining Access to the API Will be More Difficult and Limiting
Any businesses that want to gain access to the new API will first have to go through an App Review process to be approved. The approval will give the user access to the Instagram Public Content Access feature as well as the Instagram basic permission requirement.
Additionally, Instagram is eliminating the option to review media and public profile information and post and delete comments through its API.
Hashtags are Still Important
Although the new search is limited, it will still likely be a valuable tool for businesses and marketers.
Posts that have at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement and lead to more Instagram followers. Hashtags are a powerful tool that will help expand your reach and build brand awareness.
With more than 95 million photos posted to Instagram each day, hashtags are really the only way the platform can deliver relevant content to the right people. And now that users can follow their favorite hashtags, this feature is more important than ever.
Yes, the new search API restrictions will limit the tool’s use, but marketers and users will still use hashtags.
Considering 91% of businesses use seven or fewer hashtags per post, it may be time to dump that “30 hashtags per post” rule that was effective before Instagram’s algorithm change. HubSpot says it’s had the most success with hashtags ranging in the low 20s.
The Hashtag Selector Tool May Change Things
Instagram is reportedly testing a hashtag selector tool that would allow businesses and marketers to add hashtags to posts without them being listed in the caption. These invisible hashtags would allow businesses to reach a greater audience without taking away from the messages in their captions and photos.
Hashtags are certainly here to stay, but businesses will need to adapt to the changes in the search API to succeed.