Facebook is expanding its Messenger API to support Instagram messaging, enabling developers and businesses to integrate messaging from Instagram with other business applications.
The company said the new Messenger API, now available in closed beta, will for the first time support automated responses on Instagram. The company opened the Messenger platform to bots back in 2016, and now it’s looking to expedite response rates on Instagram by letting businesses preconfigure automatic responses to some of their most common inbound inquiries.
Facebook has been pushing to unite its various properties — including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram — over the past couple of years. Last month, the company announced a major milestone when it began enabling Messenger and Instagram users to message each other. While the Messenger API itself doesn’t support cross-app communication, this latest expansion will put Instagram on more equal footing as a business communications platform.
Instagram has come a long way since Facebook swooped in with $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing app back in 2012. With well over 1 billion users, it is an attractive proposition for businesses looking to increase their engagement and sales. Instagram has long offered a range of tools for businesses, and it has emerged as a viable ecommerce platform where consumers can discover and buy goods from retailers.
Opening the Messenger API to Instagram will let businesses access a customer’s conversation within applications in their daily workflow, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This means messages from a customer could be displayed alongside their order history, for example.
The upgraded Messenger API is currently available through a beta program for select developers and businesses, including Adidas, Amaro, Glossier, H&M, Michael Kors, Nars, and Sephora.