What’s happening with Shopify and Instagram feeds — and what you can do about it

As of March 2, 2020, Instagram is ending support for a key feature that allows many Shopify stores to show Instagram feeds.

In short, if your store shows the latest images or videos from your Instagram feed, you may be affected.

If so, check to see if your store uses an “access token” (which looks like a random string of letters and numbers) to integrate with Instagram under the social media settings or sections in your theme.

If you meet either of these qualifiers, this means that you should verify if your Instagram feed will stop working as of March 2.

First, check your social media settings or sections to see if they require inputting a “token” or “API token.” If so, you’re almost certainly going to need to find a different solution.

If you’re using a third party app to add your Instagram feed, you should check with the app developer to see if the app has been updated ahead of the changes at Instagram.

You won’t be affected if your store is integrated with the Instagram sales channel Shopify provides or you have buttons or text links to your Instagram account’s page.

It’s important to note this change is being made by Instagram — it’s not something that Shopify or your theme developer has any control over.

Meanwhile, most major theme developers are releasing updates that completely remove the Instagram functionality in favor of letting apps handle it from this point on.

You should check with your Shopify theme provider to see if such an update is planned or released and make the changes as soon as possible to avoid any “empty space” or error messages once the Instagram integration stops working.

Out of the Sandbox and Pixel Union are two major theme providers that have released plans to update themes to remove Instagram feeds.

If you want to keep an Instagram feed on your Shopify store after March 2, you’ll likely need to use a third party app.

While most of these apps do have a small fee, there are some limited free versions as well as affordable rates to check out.

If you can’t afford an app, you could consider using your Shopify theme’s gallery, featured image, gallery or slider section, as available, to manually create and update thumbnails of images from your Instagram feed.

This can actually be a good way to “curate” your Instagram feed and only showcase your best images to entice shoppers to click on them and, eventually, follow you on the platform.

Be sure to consider linking each image, if possible, to either your Instagram profile page (instagram.com/YourUsername) or the image post URL (instagram.com/p/RandomString) so that users can easily access your profile and see more pictures and connect.

Other good alternatives include writing a weekly or monthly blog post featuring your latest “best of” or all Instagram photos.

Either update your shots into the blog post or use Instagram’s embed feature to embed the actual images and captions along with some brief commentary on why you’re including each image, what you link about or, more importantly, what products are in it.

You can (and probably should) link to each product page of course, too.

Be sure to then share a link to the blog post on your other social media accounts, email newsletters and other marketing platforms as well as considering include an automatic list of the latest blog posts on your homepage so it’s easy to find.

A big advantage of this approach is that you can pick the images you want to showcase and add shoppable links right in the blog post — something you can’t do on basic Instagram posts. It also still allows users to click through to see more of your profile photos and easily follow you on Instagram.