Wondering how many hashtags to use on Instagram?
Last year, Instagram announced some confusing updates about using just a handful of hashtags.
Maybe you tried their suggestions and were disappointed by the results!
Or maybe you heard from a friend, influencer, or study to use 11. Or 15. Or 30!
The advice changes depending on who you ask!
So, let’s dive into what Instagram has said, and what people find really works on the platform.
How many hashtags should you use, according to Instagram
Twitter might have created them, but Instagram is the place where hashtags have come into their own.
Every post will have them, and people regularly use them to find new content. That means they’re a huge part of your success in marketing on the platform.
The first thing to note is that Instagram recently gave their own official advice about how many hashtags to use.
In September 2021, they came out with a post on their @creators account and said the ideal number of hashtags per post was 3 to 5.
That was a bit of a shock to most Instagram marketers!
For a long time, they’ve advised to use between 8-15 hashtags.
And for the longest time, you could add up to 30 if you wanted to. That’s what I’ve recommended in my article on how to use hashtags on Instagram.
What hashtag tips did Instagram give?
In the post, Instagram also gave a few more tips about hashtags that are worth considering.
Most are long-standing IG hashtag tips, such as:
- Use relevant hashtags to your content.
- Grab hashtags that your audience uses and are already following.
- Aim for a mix of different types of hashtags, including well known community hashtags and niche hashtags.
- Use specific hashtags to find your audience easily, and even create your own branded hashtag, or a campaign hashtag for something you are working on.
They also reconfirmed some things not to do:
- Don’t use hashtags that have nothing to do with your content.
- Don’t use overly generic hashtags that will cause your content to get lost among millions of other posts.
I completely agree with all of the above!
Finally, they also said not to add 10-20 more hashtags as this won’t help to get your content seen by more people.
True – or not?
Are 30 hashtags too many?
There’s a case that 30 hashtags may be too many. This generally comes from studies of big brands, who tend to avoid using so many.
But are you a big brand that gets engagement and growth by word of mouth?
Well then, there are some clever ways to experiment with this number.
One idea is to place 3-5 in your caption. Then add more hashtags in comments.
Apps that auto post to Instagram, like Tailwind and Later, have the feature to post hashtags in the first comment automatically so you save time.
However, even with this, Instagram experts are saying to use no more than 15 hashtags
How many hashtags on Instagram – what works now?
As with almost everything in marketing, there’s always an opposing view that contradicts the official advice.
And with how many hashtags to use on Instagram, there’s plenty of people who disagree with what IG tells us.
For example, Jenn from Jenn’s Trends is a firm believer that limiting hashtags to five or less will be detrimental to your account. In an Instagram post, she said:
If you have the right hashtags and aren’t flooding your posts with hyper popular hashtags that are essentially irrelevant, then there’s no need to limit your hashtags.
Remember, the point of hashtags is to get your content to show up in relevant hubs about that subject.
The more hubs, the more eyes on the post. The fewer hashtags, the less chance your audience will see your post and engage with it.
Many IGers in my Mediavine bloggers group confirm they still use the full 30, either in the post or in the comments.
What this all means is you need to devise a strategy and stick with it for a time.
How to optimize your Instagram hashtag strategy
The final important point about hashtag numbers is to optimize your strategy as you go.
That doesn’t mean you should use different numbers for every post.
Been using 30 for a while? Note the date and screenshot your stats.
Now try another quantity for a while. Maybe 15 hashtags for 2 weeks, or for 30 days.
Then track your stats with analytics tools and make informed decisions on what you see for your account.
Tweak your hashtag list as well as the number of hashtags you are using. Don’t be afraid to do a hashtag search and find new options.
That way you can figure out what the best number of hashtags is for your audience going forward!
Instagram hashtags: 3 or 30?
Look at trends on the social media platform and weigh the advice.
Use a certain number of hashtags for a set time, and see what the analytics show you.
Or try different numbers on different types of posts and see how they work.
The correct answer to how many hashtags for Instagram is what works for you!