Last updated on November 9, 2023

Michelle Bitran
Head of Content @ Yotpo
October 2nd, 2018 | 3 minutes read

Instagram’s shift towards the @mention is helping brands build more intentional relationships with their customers.

Table Of Contents

As brands embrace the customer-first eCommerce model, they’re shifting to prioritize consumers’ data privacy expectations. This has led to a global movement — most notably on social platforms — designed to put consumers back in control of their online experiences. Instagram is leading the charge with an updated API meant to decrease commercial spamming for its users.

Instagram’s changes will also improve the way all brands and official partners (like Yotpo) can use the platform. This post will explain how these changes affect day-to-day activities for businesses on Instagram and how to get a headstart on the new brand-consumer relationship.

@Mentions take center stage

Far and away the most exciting change to Instagram’s API allows brands to comment on and request rights for posts in which their @username is mentioned — something businesses have been requesting for years.

instagram api changes

In the past, brands could do this only on posts that included their hashtag, but as hashtags became more popular, people began using dozens of them on each post. The result was that users were spammed by businesses who were finding their public posts using hashtag searches, and the users themselves often hadn’t put much thought into the hashtags used.

On the other hand, using a @mention is intentional, a clear indication that the user is creating a connection with the brand. The new functionality that allows for search and permissions through @mentions means that when brands reach out, consumers are much more likely to be receptive.

While hashtags while still be around, @mentions will be the new mode of communication between brands and their customers on Instagram.

How to get customers to start @mentioning your brand

As Instagram shifts to the @mention, brands are learning quickly and trading in their hashtags for mentions. The only way to get your brand fans on board is by promoting your username from now.

Start using it:

  • On your site
  • In your Instagram bio
  • In Instagram photo contests
  • In ads
  • In email marketing
  • Even in print and TV spots

This will prime customers to start @mentioning you instead of just hashtagging, and it will give you a constantly refreshing bank of new user-generated photos to share as they do so.

You can already see top brands starting to promote their usernames in light of the changes.

instagram api changes


instagram api changes


These changes are the beginning of a new era for brands and customers on social that will foster intentional relationships, build stronger brand communities, and produce more high-quality visual content to share.


For information about Yotpo functionality on Instagram’s new API, click here.