Wondering how many hashtags to use on Instagram?
Can you now only add 5 hashtags to a post?
Instagram has made confusing updates about using just a few 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.
You Can Only Add 5 Hashtags per Post
Here’s a new and disconcerting message: You can only add 5 hashtags per post.
Is this a glitch? I don’t think so. It appears that Instagram is testing a hard limit that’s the same as Threads hashtags.
Of course, it’s being met with complaints! Do 5 hashtags work as well as 30? Per user reports, absolutely not!
But this is easy to work around.
Make your Instagram post with 0 to 5 hashtags. Then add more hashtags in comments.
Or you could edit your caption if you prefer. This is working for now.
Read on to see what the stats actually show for how many hashtags work on IG.
How Many Hashtags Should You Use?
Twitter might have created them, but Instagram is where hashtags came into their own.
IGers use them to find new content, so they’re a huge part of your success in marketing on the platform.
Instagram has given their own official advice about how many hashtags to use.
Their most recent advice came out in September 2021 – no updates since then UNTIL the test mentioned above. They posted 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, IG 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.
Hashtag Tips from Instagram
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.
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, use 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, some Instagram experts are saying to use no more than 15 hashtags.
How Many Hashtags on Instagram 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.
So, you should devise a strategy that works for your own account.
What about Instagram Hashtag Stats?
So much for what IGers like – what actually works?
Well, Later ran a study of over 18 million Instagram feed posts.
Posts with 20 to 30 hashtags received the most reach, and posts with 30 hashtags had the highest average engagement rate by far (likes and comments).
The engagement rate of posts with 30 hashtags was 175% of posts with 5. Close to double!
The numbers don’t lie 🙂
How to Optimize your Instagram Hashtag Strategy
The critical piece about hashtag numbers is to optimize your strategy as you go. But don’t 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 30 days.
Then track your stats with analytics tools and make informed decisions on the results you see on 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!
But I suggest you try 30 😉
Let us know what you decide in a comment.