Is Your Social Analytics Provider Capturing Instagram Data? Are You Sure?

Carol Feigenbaum |
 10/02/19 |
4 min read

Is Your Social Analytics Provider Capturing Instagram Data? Are You Sure?

When monitoring social analytics to inform your brand’s strategic initiatives, having access to every bit of insight available is a must. It’s what you’re paying your solutions provider for, after all! And we’ve learned that some major vendors are facing engineering challenges when it comes to offering Instagram and Facebook data. Is your solution one of them? Are you sure?

Data Partner Parameters

Facebook regularly reviews its data partners and refines its data policies. New rules are pushed out to partners often.

Suffice to say, it’s super important to stay on top of not only platform changes as they relate to end users, but also to restrictions around how to properly access and utilize this data. As platforms evolve, so must the social analytics solutions, with equal speed. And that applies to partnerships with every social site.

In our quest to stay ahead of the curve, we participate in industry reviews and compliance topics as often as they’re offered – and a recent one was incredibly eye opening. We learned of some major provider compliance concerns with the way these key social analytics solutions are viewing and implementing access to Facebook and Instagram data.

social analytics providers compliance concerns

Major Provider Compliance Concerns

One way is compliant, another is a known rogue operation that should not be happening, and the third way? Well, shocking is really the best descriptor, but you tell us:

The Standard Approach

This is what many solutions are offering. It involves collecting allowed data through the Facebook API and displaying it in a solution’s software. These companies, which includes NetBase, are in compliance with Facebook’s regulations. For our part, this is possible thanks to many months of hard work – work that is always ongoing, and offers customers top-notch access to available data. We push out product updates every few weeks, as staying compliant with social site regulations is our top priority. We know it’s the only way to provide the access our customers require and deserve.

Going Rogue – Scraping

A small number of solutions go rouge.  These solutions collect Facebook data in unauthorized, sloppy ways and display this hijacked data in their software. They get caught eventually, as Facebook monitors what data solutions access pretty aggressively to ensure proper compliance.

An Inability to Support Facebook’s T&C’s!

And then the shocking bit of info to share. There’s at least one well-known, world-wide social analytics provider that is not offering any Facebook and very limited Instagram data, reportedly based on their interpretation of the social network’s terms and conditions. This is puzzling, as it’s absolutely allowed but it does require lots of ongoing engineering expertise to maintain the strong standards that social networks set. And it’s an unfortunate bit of news for customers using this solution, for reasons we’ll explore next.

NetBase Next Generation AI best in class among social analytics providers

Why Brands Must Have Facebook & Instagram Access

Brands turn to social analytics providers to help them better understand consumers. More than that though, it’s not just about better understanding but complete understanding. And brands left without access to two of the most popular social network platforms accessed by BILLIONS each day means their insight is far from complete. Disturbingly so.

Based upon Facebook’s official investor relations information:

Worldwide, there are over 2.41 billion monthly active users (MAU) as of June 2019 (total number of people who now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger every day on average). This is an 8 percent increase in Facebook MAUs year over year.  This is compared to 2.38 billion MAUs for Q1 2019. (Source: Facebook 7/24/19) Facebook is simply too big to ignore as an on-going part of your digital marketing communications program.  

And it makes other solutions appear equally incomplete, so we knew it was important to alert brands that are potentially being duped on the reality of the situation. And that they do have options to capture this data, and very much in compliance with all of the T&Cs social sites require.

checking your connection to instagram and facebook analytics

How Brands Can Check Access Availability

We’ve seen this before – analytics providers struggling to rearchitect their underlying infrastructure to support social platform changes, so we know what is and isn’t possible. And we know how to help brands sniff out the potentially harmful disconnect that can greatly impact their marketing campaigns.

With the holidays again upon us, it’s an odd coincidence that the same tools that struggled with API access last year are again dropping the ball. We’re hoping to get the word out ahead of brands losing valuable holiday marketing time.

Last year (and a few years running actually), we had an influx of new customers at the end of the season. It was great and we’re always happy to have them, but our holiday wish for brands this year is this: sort out what you need sooner, so you don’t miss out on holiday sales.

So, if you’re unsure of your tool’s ability to offer Facebook and Instagram data, the first thing to do is ask them about it! Here are some questions to help frame the discussion:

  • Tell me about the Facebook and Instagram data you capture – what are the limits?
  • How often are you updating your tool to stay in compliance?
  • Have you lost access to any social sites during API updates? Why?
  • What access are you providing exactly?
  • Can you speak to the source list for each data set please?

And then call us to ask the same and compare.

NetBase capturing complete social analytics picture for brands

Don’t let a global social listening solution pitch its poor planning as the ‘industry standard’ to your organization. It’s just not true. Reach out and we can show you what is – as well as ways our fully compliant (and best-in-class) Next Generation AI-powered tool makes 1000% difference in your brand’s analyses!


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