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We talk a lot about what social analytics can do for brands – and how to use various tools to get the best results. But keeping those tools running properly is also important – and requires some help from our customers.

We’re talking about authorizations – and while not a sexy or exciting topic, ignoring it can wreak serious havoc with your brand operations.

Why Don’t Authorizations ‘Stick?’

It might feel like a hassle to continuously reauthorize accounts, but we don’t actually make the rules, social networks do. Retaining access to social data means working with each social network to protect the privacy of their consumers while still offering exceptional, best-in-class insight to brands.

Facebook and Instagram specifically require reauthorization every 60 days for security purposes.

If you forget to renew these authorizations, Facebook and Instagram data stops streaming into your account. If these are important channels for your brand – or client brands if you’re an agency – losing access to these insights means you can’t do the job you’ve been contracted to do.

Making things more complicated are the recent changes to Instagram’s API, so let’s talk about that a bit.

What Happens When Data Lapses?

If you weren’t with us during the transition of Instagram’s most recent updates, you may have experienced exactly the data gaps we’re talking about. Though Instagram gave notice about what was changing and when, it wasn’t a ton of notice, and many social analytics providers weren’t nimble enough to prepare their software – or clients – in advance.

Because we push out platform updates every three weeks, we were more than up to the challenge of preparing for the API change – and there were lots of changes. And they happened just as the busiest season of all was hitting for many brands – the holidays.

As a result, many brands found themselves struggling to implement necessary updates so they wouldn’t be without precious data when it mattered most. Many learned the hard way that not all analytics providers are equally adept at managing such bumps in the road.

Here are a few of the changes brands/vendors had to contend with suddenly:

  • Having to create individual data pools for each client, specifically defining the Instagram channels and keywords they planned to track
  • Establishing Facebook users with moderator, analyst (or higher) roles to authenticate Facebook pages on their behalf
  • Granting additional authorizations to work within the new API call limits (200 calls per hour per authorized user)
  • Converting Instagram profiles – including influencers they work with – to business accounts
  • Linking Facebook pages to Instagram business accounts to allow for Basic Business Channel Coverage (posts and post data for any owned or non-owned Instagram Business Profile, including competitors, influencers, or any Business Profile)
  • Planning for new hashtag tracking limits – no more than 30 unique hashtags per authorized business user for any rolling seven-day period

That’s a lot to pull together for however many clients a particular vendor has – and for their clients down the line. Those who didn’t plan well enough in advance left brands in the dark on Instagram this past holiday season. Yikes.

That didn’t happen here though! We implemented Instagram channel coverage changes as other vendors struggled.

Authorizations Keep Things Running Smoothly

As you can see, it takes multiple authorizations to get the most out of Instagram’s new API. These multiple authorizations now must be part of the regular reauthorization process, which makes it a bit more time-consuming, but no less important.

If we learned nothing else from Instagram’s latest updates, it’s this: Social networks are in charge. If we want access, we have to accept their terms – and that means reauthorizing regularly.

To make things easier, we alert our customers when it’s time to reauthorize – but we can’t do the job for them. And that’s why it’s important to not ignore that email, and to go through the process every 60 days to ensure your data never stops coming.

We’ll keep doing our part – working with social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more to ensure their customers’ privacy and security, and working on behalf of our customers to ensure they never feel a hiccup when changes happen. Be sure to help us help you when it’s reauthorization time.

Want to know more about expert social listening on Instagram – or anywhere online? Reach out and we’ll walk you through all that’s new or get you up to speed with the latest, greatest social listening analytics around!

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