Tip: The Perfect Number of Instagram Hashtags

by Jason Keath on Nov 04, 2014
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Social Fresh TipsLast week, the team from Piqora joined us at the Social Fresh Conference to discuss marketing on Instagram and Pinterest.

During their presentation, they shared a stat about Instagram hashtags that surprised and intrigued me:

A study they did of 150,000 posts from brands on Instagram found that 7 hashtags, per photo post, generates by far the most like engagement on Instagram – up to 23% more likes.

Instagram Hashtag Study Piqora December 2013

The study estimates that 73% of brands are using too few or too many hashtags.

Hashtags play a huge discovery role on Instagram. Even more than Twitter, hashtags on Instagram are how a lot of photos (and the brands that post them) get found.

Since hashtags are how content gets discovered on Instagram, it’s all the more important for brands to incorporate hashtags as a part of their Instagram content strategy and track hashtags accordingly.

In order to be discovered, it’s important to be strategic about how many hashtags to place alongside your Instagram caption and what those hashtags actually are.

Here’s the best way to go about selecting the seven hashtags for your brand according to Piqora:

  • One hashtag should be your brand name (example: #nike)
  •  1-2 hashtags should be a hashtag your brand owns (example: #justdoit)
  •  and 2-5 should be community-focused hashtags (examples: #fitness #running)
Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • i have often found that more the hashtag higher the response is

  • This study seems to state: Hashtags = Engagement. Instagram users don’t engage with hashtags, they engage with photos. Scrolling through the feed, you either like something enough to double-tap and/or comment or you don’t – and that happens before you even SEE the hashtags. It would seem the real secret sauce is using the RIGHT hashtags to get your content discovered – especially if you’re only using 7.

  • Fascinating. I use a fair number of tags personally on my outdoor / adventure photos which works pretty well but there’s always that “spam feel” balance to worry about as a brand account.

    I wonder if there’s a follow up insight to be had on how much attention captions / comments tend to get in the first place (i.e. is the problem with >7 that it becomes too visible because even 7 seems like a lot).

  • Great article but image does not show in preview when sharing on social networks. #fail #noimage #poorpreview #notshareable #toobad #imagesrule #needfix

  • annalaurabrown

    great idea. I usually use at least 4 but have used up to 7. Now I know to use at least 7.

  • MohammadKhataan

    We need to see examoles

  • Bee

    Has really someone been paid for this?! Hope not…

  • If people are searching for a term / hashtag, having more wouldn’t hurt. That makes no logical sense. They’re not looking at your photo and thinking “wow, this person has 30. That’s desperate. I’m not clicking. Oh wait, I’m already on their photo. Ooops.” You search for hashtag and click the photos you like. More hashtags > more chances any person will see your photo.

  • Great article. Soon gonna test the 7 hashtags with a picture formula :)

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  • Tip: insert more hashtags in your Instagram photo’s COMMENT for More engagement.

  • idave4321

    Great article, but I guess there are a lot of factors to consider! I wonder if the study has been done based on big accounts with lots of followers, or new identical accounts sharing the same image with various tags – Personally I find that new tags do get new followers ; but will be interested to test 7 tags some time! Is there an optimal amount of followers you should have for this to work, or is it across the board? 🤔

    Recently I have been posting images with a

    I N T E R E S T I N G • C A P T I O N 📸✨

    Story about the image, that is long enough that people don’t see the tags unless they expand followed by @releventmentions #tags #tags #tags …

    (idave4321 is my instagram if you would like to check it out!)

    – I have found posting #tags later in a comment doesn’t seem to get as many likes as if I posted the same image with them together at the same time, but it does look pretty… also makes comments look bad though if other comments don’t cover it! It is also possible to edit / remove tags later on if you want your feed to look amazing and clean for anyone browsing later –

    – I schedule posts for facebook and then adapt the description, and add tags to prepare it for Instagram and then copy it ready to paste : I have noticed spending a long time writing up a post can affect how many people see it as well – often if a lot of people like and see it fast then it may rank higher for other people looking around… This is a good reason to have the description and tags ready to go copied, and ready to paste as soon as the image is ready to go!

    – posting consistently is also key to a good audience, 1-3 x a day seems to be the right number, I only post one, but 3 is okay if you have a variety in content ; ie. awesome photo / inspirational life / interesting , cool quote, product etc… If you post less other accounts your followers engage with will probably get priority in feeds, and if you over post people will unfollow you because of the spam (I have never over posted but have had to unfollow a few 😜 )

    Anyway… hope some of you find this useful! :)

  • I usually use minimum 3 but now after reading this blog I know how to use more hashtags. Thanks for sharing this amazing idea.