Facebook announced the beta release of new Messenger API functionality for Instagram in fall of 2020 with the intention of “improving customer satisfaction and facilitating meaningful conversations on the Platform.” Today at the company’s annual developer conference, Facebook announced that it will be moving this functionality into general availability.
Facebook is choosing to roll out the availability of Messenger API for Instagram globally on a phased schedule. Initially only businesses with Instagram follower accounts between 10,000 and 100,000 will be able to gain access. Phase two, which is intended to happen in July of 2021, will expand the lower threshold to include all accounts below 10,000 followers. Finally, Facebook plans to remove all follower restrictions with phase 3 sometime in the third quarter of this year.
With the formal expansion of the Messenger API beyond the walls of Facebook and into Instagram’s increasingly brand and product friendly environment, many businesses are expected to leverage the API to build tools that can manage customer experiences across both platforms. Facebook noted that over 90% of Instagram users follow one or more business accounts, a number that has accelerated steadily throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
To meet the demand of consumers that are engaging business on Instagram, the Messenger API provides automated responses for common questions such as “Are you open today?” or “What’s your address?” Facebook notes that businesses can seamlessly transition from answering simple questions via automated responses to live communication with a real person on more complicated subjects.
ProgrammableWeb will continue to produce API related coverage of Facebook’s F8 developer conference.