The current state of Instagram Hashtags (May 2024)

the current state of instagram hashtags

The current state of Instagram Hashtags (May 2024)

the current state of instagram hashtags
karel klok
Social & Creative
5 min. leestijd
2 mei 2024

The golden rule of Instagram

We all know this: The golden rule of Instagram hashtags is to use no more than 10 if you choose to include them within your post. Yet, despite this, there’s still a lot of self-proclaimed “Instagram Gurus” and other marketing brands that use 20 or more hashtags. Not only for their own, but also their clients’ posts.. 

For some time now, Instagram has been experimenting with a NEW feature that limits users to posting no more than 5, and sometimes 10, hashtags. Exceeding this limit triggers a notification stating it’s not allowed like this one: 

You can only add 5 hashtags to a post

I’m pretty confident that this will become a standard for us all eventually because this is how Instagram introduces their new features.

The purpose of using hashtags is to help the algorithm in understanding your content to help you reach a wider audience on which they think would like your posts. Because.. the only thing Instagram cares about is to keep you on their app as long as possible, nothing more, nothing less. 

The second purpose of hashtags are to help users search for content. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, even hinted recently at the possibility of integrating hashtags with their search function. So, If you have a smaller account <5000 followers, using 5 hashtags will help instagram’s algorithm to categorize your account and/or help you find the right audience for your post. 

But why is this important you might ask, good question. 

You can look at this question from two perspectives 

The perspective of the creator

If you are reading this blog you’ll probably understand that likes and views don’t mean anything. You can have 1 million views on a video, but if nobody buys your product or reacts to your CTA, it doesn’t matter. 

You want your posts to do good for a reason. For most brands it’s to promote their service or product. Because if your post is doing good, people will come to your profile. But let’s say you post something about photography and you use #FcBarcelona as a hashtag. Users that want to see posts about football are most likely to skip your post to watch another video about Lewandowski not scoring.

 If your post doesn’t attract attention or keep people interested, instagram wont show them to other users which will make your post eventually dead. But if you use #Portraitphotography, it will be shown to people who have interest in photography. Instagram will see that your posts gain a lot of attention so it must be something good right? 

They will show your post to more users that show the same interests and it will spread like a virus and hopefully, go viral. 

So, using too many hashtags is not the way to go. 

In the end, If you have enough followers >5000 it’s likely that Instagram already has made up who you are, and will show your content to people who are most likely to interact with your content so you don’t need to use hashtags. You should focus on getting a lot of watchtime instead, which I will make another blog about very soon. 

However, if you have a newer account <5000 followers you should use <5 hashtags that broadly touch your target audience.

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