Sample Messenger API support for Instagram Experience - Original Coast Clothing

Original Coast Clothing (OC) is a fictional clothing brand created to showcase the key features of the Instagram Platform delivering a great customer experience. Using this demo as inspiration, anyone can create a delightful Messenger API support for Instagram experience that leverages both automation and live customer support. Open-source code for the app and a guide on how to deploy the experience on your local environment or remote server are provided. There is also a companion sample Messenger experience.

Try it now by messaging @originalcoastclothing or commenting on a post.

Platform features

This experience leverages the following platform features. If you decide to deploy the experience on your Page, the code will use them all:

Deploy this experience on Instagram

By the end of this guide, you'll have a full Instagram app running on your server, answering messages from your account.

The code that powers this experience is open-source. Anyone can easily get started with developing a great messaging experience.

The code is released under the BSD License, allowing you to use it freely for your needs. The code is hosted on GitHub for further reference.

Requirements to deploy an Instagram app

Setup Steps

The objective of this section is to gather all the access tokens and ids necessary for the Instagram app to successfully send and receive messages. Before you begin, make sure you have completed all of the requirements listed above. At this point you should have a Page, a registered Facebook app, and an Instagram Professional account.

If you just created a new Facebook app, it is probably in development mode. Note that apps in this mode are only allowed to message people connected to the app (Admins, Developers and Testers). You can continue with this guide in this mode, but once your app is ready to be public, the app needs to go through app review for the instagram_manage_messages permission. For more info, see App Review

  1. Configure your Instagram integration by following the Getting Started documentation.
  2. Add some Instagram test accounts that you'll use to test the experience.

At this point you should have the following

  • App ID
  • App Secret
  • Page ID
  • Page Access Token
  • Instagram Account connected to Page
  • Instagram Account(s) registered as test accounts


You will need:

  • Node 10.x or higher
  • A server for your code. Options include:
    • Local tunneling service such as ngrok
    • Remote server service such as Heroku or Glitch
    • Your own webserver

One-click deploy using Heroku or Glitch

The experience can be automatically deployed to Heroku or Glitch using the following buttons. You will be prompted to enter the needed environment variables to complete the setup.

Deploy on HerokuDeploy on Glitch

Deploy locally using ngrok

A tunneling service exposes your local webserver to an external URL that can be reached by Facebook webhooks. There are many such services. In this example, we will use ngrok.

1. Clone the repo

Clone the repository to your local machine:

git clone
cd original-coast-clothing-ig

2. Install tunneling service

If not already installed, install ngrok via download or via command line:

$ npm install -g ngrok

In the directory of this repo, request a tunnel to your local server with your preferred port

$ ngrok http 3000

The screen should show the ngrok status:

Session Status                online
Account                       Redacted (Plan:iuluufkccebegkhifrlgfhudrtbthgln Free)
Version                       2.3.35
Region                        United States (us)
Web Interface       
Forwarding           -> http://localhost:3000
Forwarding           -> http://localhost:3000

Note the https URL of the external server that is fowarded to your local machine. In the above example, it is

3. Install the dependencies

Open a new terminal tab, also in the repo directiory.

$ npm install

Alternatively, you can use Yarn:

$ yarn install

4. Set up .env file

Copy the file .sample.env to .env

$ cp .sample.env .env

Edit the .env file to add all the values for your app and page.

5. Run your app locally

$ node app.js

You should now be able to access the default page of the application in your browser at http://localhost:3000

Confirm that you can also access the application at the external URL from step 2.

Deploy using Heroku

1. Clone the repo

Clone the repository to your local machine:

git clone
cd original-coast-clothing-ig

2. Install the Heroku CLI

If the directory is not already a git repo, create one:

$ git init
Initialized empty Git repository in .git/
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "My first commit"     

3. Install the Heroku CLI

If not already installed, download and install the Heroku CLI

4. Create an app from the CLI

$ heroku apps:create

Creating app... done, ⬢ mystic-wind-83
Created |

Note the name given to your app. In this example, it was mystic-wind-83.

5. Set your environment variables

On the Heroku App Dashboard, find your app and set up the config vars following the comments in the file .sample.env

Alternatively, you can set env variables from the command line like this:

$ heroku config:set PAGE_ID=XXXX

6. Deploy the code

$ git push heroku master

7. View log output

$ heroku logs --tail

Connect your webhook

Now that your server is running, your webhook endpoint is at the path /webhook. In the Heroku example above, this would be

Set up your webhook by following the [Messenger Platform Webhooks guide](

After the webhook subscription is validated, subscribe to the following events:

  • comments
  • messages
  • messaging_postbacks

Test the webhooks by clicking the "Test" buttons next to the subscribed events. You should see the test events in the log output of your server.

Test that your app setup is successful

While logged in to an account with the role of "Instagram Tester", try sending a message to the Instagram account connected to your Page, or leaving a comment on a post.

If you see a response to your message in Instagram, you have fully set up your app! Voilà!


The app only replies to me, but not someone else

The Facebook app is likely still in Development Mode. You can add someone as a tester of the app, if they accept, the app will be able to message them. Once ready, you may request the instagram_manage_messages permission to be able to reply to anyone.

Other Issues

Is this guide wrong? Let us know by filing an Issue