Social & Influencers

Creator management platform Grin removes key functions

Grin’s “influential customers” Shopify integration is no longer available, among other changes.
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Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Grin

5 min read

Update, 5/19/23: Since the publication of this article, Grin has reinstated creator search capabilities on Instagram.

Grin, a creator management platform used to source talent and execute influencer campaigns, just got hit by Meta’s silver hammer.

As a result of Meta's recently updated API, Grin users told Marketing Brew the software is no longer functioning at its prior capacity.

Marketing Brew obtained emails Grin sent to some users, notifying them about some changes coming to the platform. On September 27, a Grin customer success manager sent an email that said, “To align with the requirements for Meta's API and service guidelines, our industry is going to undergo some changes, and Grin is on the front lines so that we make sure we remain the closest to Meta and all these changes.”

Meta’s API guidelines and policies haven’t changed since September, Shenny Barboza, a communications manager at Instagram, told us.

Some influencer marketers said that these changes have apparently made the platform less useful for them. In particular, at least one marketer told us that Grin’s “influential customers” Shopify integration is no longer available, influencers must grant Grin permission to use their information, and marketers can no longer search for creators from Instagram on Grin’s main platform.

Cut off from the source

Kendall Dickieson, a social media consultant who started using Grin for client work a few months before the changes took place, told us that she can’t source influencers from Instagram on Grin anymore.

Grin CEO and co-founder Brandon Brown confirmed that the platform’s search function for Instagram “has been removed.”

Previously, Dickieson explained, when a marketer went on Grin to hunt for influencers for their campaigns, they could search across TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram.

For example, Dickieson used to be able to search for, say, keywords like “NYC skincare” and have skincare creators in New York from those three channels pop up. From there, Dickieson would add those creators as “prospects” within Grin—or influencers that she was potentially interested in working with.

Before, those prospects could be from any of the three channels. Now, “Instagram is gone,” she told us, explaining that she has to pull Instagram influencers “manually now.”

One source told us via direct message that she felt like Grin had “taken away the IG recruiting tool.”

A version of the search tool is still available in Grin’s less-extensive Chrome extension, per Dickieson and Brown. Additionally, per Brown, Grin has a team of people who can help clients hunt for potential influencers—although he pointed out that, unlike a piece of technology, that team is limited by the number of hours in a day.

Stamp of approval

Another issue is that, post-Meta changes, Instagram influencers on Grin’s platform now must be authenticated through OAuth.

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Before, marketers could find creators on the platform who hadn’t explicitly granted authorization to Grin. Now, that’s no longer the case, meaning Grin probably has far fewer influencer contacts to offer its customers, Dickieson explained.

While only Instagram accounts require authorization right now, Brown clarified that Grin is moving toward a “first-party data relationship” for all creators on the platform.

“It will be essential to encourage creators to authenticate their accounts, and Grin is preparing several efforts to help streamline this process and encourage creators to connect,” a Grin customer success manager wrote in an email to Dickieson seen by Marketing Brew.

“After September 30th, we will not have access to any content or data collected from non-authenticated (non-OAuthed) creators via Instagram and Facebook available in Grin,” Grin Support said in another email.

Shop ’til you’re dropped

Additionally, Dickieson told us that the part of Grin’s Shopify integration called “influential customers” is no longer available. Brown confirmed that Grin did away with this tool. Shopify did not respond to Marketing Brew’s request for comment.

With influential customers, Grin users used to be able to connect their brand’s account to Shopify via Grin and find influencers who had previously purchased from their brand. From there, the tool would sift through that purchasing data and spit out a list of the brand’s most “influential” customers on social media. That way, brands could reach out to influencers who were already purchasing their products or services.

“All of that’s gone,” Dickieson told us, saying that one of her clients used to have “like a thousand” influential customers on its list and that it was a particularly useful part of Grin’s platform.

The entire situation has left some marketers debating whether or not to leave Grin behind.

On Twitter, @mariaaabelle wrote that she is “more than likely pulling” her contract with Grin this week. “It’s a mess,” she continued. “We signed on the week before it all went down.” Another user, @heynicoleleigh, said she was “about to” stop using Grin, too.

Brown told us that Grin is always going to try to do “the right thing for our customers, and make sure that they are able to solve the problems that they came to Grin to solve."

Editor's note: This story has been changed since it was first posted to update a quote.

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