Do hashtags actually help improve the reach of your posts on Instagram?
The common belief is that they do, but recently Instagram chief Adam Mosseri poured cold water on the hashtag debate by noting that hashtags doesn’t really help the views.
Instagram hashtags aren’t necessarily designed to maximize distribution, with an emphasis on categorizing content to better connect users with what they’re looking for.
But that should also help improve the range, right? Do hashtags really not influence post views?
To get some answers, the Socialinsider team recently analyzed over 75 million Instagram posts made between March 2021 and March 2022, to see what the data says about the relationship between Instagram hashtags and post views.
Research shows that the number of hashtags in an Instagram post does not influence post distribution.
As you can see in the graph below, there are no significant differences in the average engagement rate by impression values of the Instagram posts analyzed, despite the number of hashtags.
The highest average engagement rate per impressions (3.41%) is generated by posts with 3-4 hashtags. This is not surprising – Instagram itself has already noted that keeping between 3 and 5 hashtags is the best strategy to adopt when it comes to distributing posts.
But, ultimately, the number of hashtags you use doesn’t influence reach, on average, at least not significantly.
The Socialinsider team wanted to dig deeper, so they added an extra parameter in “Follower Count” to make sure we’re looking at equal comparisons.
The data shows that there are no major differences in the average impression rates of Instagram posts analyzed when looking at hashtag and follower counts together, although there are some nuances, according to the profile tracking database.
In the case of large accounts (50K and 1M followers), impression rates decrease as they use more Instagram hashtags. According to the data, the best practice for large accounts is to use 3-4 hashtags to maximize their chances of achieving the average engagement rate per impressions of (3.42%).
For smaller accounts, with 5,000-10,000 followers, more tags also equates to lower engagement, but the variance isn’t as pronounced. That said, it’s always good practice for smaller accounts to include fewer hashtags (focusing on 5-6 hashtags) to get the best engagement rates.
The same trend applies to medium-sized accounts, with 10,000-50,000 followers, which should use more than 5-6 hashtags to guarantee higher impression rates.
Of course, this all depends on your specific audience, the types of hashtags you use, and the goals you’re trying to achieve. Yet, according to this data and industry experts, Instagram hashtags do not help in the distribution of posts.
The real trick is to use the right hashtags for your target audience, so that your posts are seen by people searching for the right topics in the app. Do your research, figure out the right tags for each of your posts (based on everyone’s topics, not the same hashtags for every update), and you should always see the benefits of using hashtags.
More information on Instagram hashtags can be found in the full report.
So far, surely you think that Instagram hashtags are a great way to improve the spread of your posts and reach a wider audience.
You might change your mind though following the recent response fromAdam Mosseri, the person in charge of Instagram, in one of the six stories. In fact, to the question Do Instagram hashtags help views »I said: ” Really pass. They help us understand the content of a post, which means it’s more likely to appear in an ending like the hashtags page, for example. More generally, the hashtag should not be viewed as a means of gaining wider dissemination”.
Ouch! But what did he mean? Are hashtags to be forgotten? Are they still useful today? Do they really not increase the range anymore? What is the follow-up to be given after this thundering statement?
I answer these questions below.
Instagram hashtags help identify content
Needless to say, discussions have been going well in our microcosm for the past few weeks.
Adam Mosseri’s announcement had the effect of a bomb.
After all, hashtags on Instagram are a bit part of the platform’s DNA and are a technique widely used to work around different objects: increasing reach, generating content by users…
Even if, it must be admitted, some companies today use them sparingly, or even do not use them at all (without this evolution in the use of hashtags being linked to the subject of today’s post) .
Going back to Adam’s words, It is important to understand that hashtags help Instagram identify the content of posts.
Also, if you post a video, comment making pancakes and use the hashtag #recettecrepes, you help the algorithm identify the subject of your post.
Also, you allow it to be more relevant.
And that’s already a very good thing.
I want to clarify that Instagram’s use of the hashtag for this purpose is not new.
Instagram hashtags still have their uses for the hashtags page
The breaking point in the video isn’t far off.
Actually, if Adam indicates Instagram hashtags can have their uses for the hashtags page, he doesn’t see them as a way to improve distribution.
Slope, when users use search with hashtags, they very often discover content and accounts that they did not know about before.
This is the result of an increase in the name of the person who saw the post.
To convince you, I invite you to consult the statistics of your publications and to look at the name of the impressions of the hashtags.
If you use relevant hashtags, you should still have impressions from them today.
Content identification, an algorithm story
If the hashtags identify Instagram you will understand what the theme of a publication is, they are not for Seoul.
Today, a strong algorithm is able to understand the content of a post in students with different parameters, some are not complex. This is the work of artificial intelligence. (YouTube does a remarkable job at this level).
So, aside from hashtags, Instagram’s algorithm to analyze caption, video or image content, voice and their titles in order to understand the theme of a publication.
And these are all points for you to optimizeif you want your content to be identified (and served) correctly.
Instagram search has evolved (and so should you)
You have certainly noticed that search on Instagram has evolved.
Whereas before a user could search for content using an account name, hashtag or location, it is now possible to search for one or more keywords.
Thereby, If you entered in the search engine “crepes recipe”, the results page allows you to access more consultation options: best, account, audio, tags (hashtags), places.
Pair against, If you typed “#recettecrepes” in the search engine, you will only get the results page for the relevant hashtag.
Well, I don’t have children or studies in your communicator, I thought The development of keyword research and the change of the interface with the results leading to the use of content search differs from time to time.
And to go longer, searching for the keyword and using the “top” tab could become the norm, to the detriment of searching for the hashtag in-between.
Note also that the results are returned with a keyword and a hashtag and they are not memes.
Rest assured : The Instagram hashtag has many uses, which are for content identification or for showing on the hashtags results page.
For example, if you post a reel without a narrative, subtitle, and caption, the existence of a hashtag makes it easier for the algorithm to categorize the content.
However, you now know that Instagram has other elements than the hashtag to understand that it is the content of your publication.
As far as distribution is concerned, the hashtag can still generate impressions on the hashtag results page (when it is well chosen).
So for this place, it is relevant today to use it so much that users continue to search through hashtags.
However, your efforts should not stop there.
Due to the introduction of keyword research and the change in the interface, which as a result, it is possible that you will have more circulation after your hashtags: search habits could be changing from significantly.
Also leading to Instagram not seeing hashtags as a technique to increase post distribution in general.
Now you know what to do: optimize your posts for global search, if you haven’t already.
Your turn now
What do you think of Adam Mosseri’s response? Share your thoughts, advice or questions on Instagram hashtags with interesting comments.
If you don’t want to miss any Instagram news, follow me on Instagram.
To go longer
Need support to grow your business on Instagram? Request a free consultation for your Instagram strategy or take the Instagram training for business or the Instagram performance marketing training.