One of the vital necessary steps in constructing belief in a relationship is consistency.

…somebody ought to most likely point out that to Instagram.

The oldsters over at Instagram’s HQ have been shaking issues up as of late. The company-backed Instagram Creators account just lately beneficial that it’s greatest apply to solely use 3 to five hashtags per publish.

Instagram Creator hashtag best practices

Supply: @creators

Let me repeat that: Three! To! 5!

Whereas this looks like an innocuous scorching tip, it’s a perplexing factor to listen to immediately from a platform that means that you can use as much as 30 hashtags in every publish.

This revelation from somebody we trusted simply begs so many questions: Was this a take a look at? Are you tricking us? If 3 to five is the quantity you really need us to make use of… why give us the liberty to make use of 30 tags within the first place?

However although the bottom beneath us could also be shaky, and the reality could also be slipping by way of our fingers like sand in a kind of timers that you simply lose instantly out of your Pictionary set, I refuse to hitch the 1000’s of social media managers throughout the globe of their existential spiral over this.

As an alternative, I’m getting my groove again, a.ok.a, taking motion to determine what’s actually, for-real, precisely true: Are 5 hashtags optimum, or 30?

Experiment time!

Hypothesis: 3-5 hashtags gives you the same amount of reach as 30

Here are the facts: if you’re writing a caption for your Instagram post, you can add up to 30 hashtags. However now, Instagram itself is reporting that for greatest attain, you need to restrict your tagging to between 3 and 5.

By evaluating quite a lot of comparable posts, I’ll try to seek out out if a shorter, curated record of hashtags will get me simply as a lot engagement on Instagram as maxing out. (Please DM me for an deal with to ship McArthur Genius Grant cash.)


To ensure I had a great quantity of information for this experiment, I made a decision to make use of a preferred wedding-related Instagram account I’ve behind-the-scenes entry to.

This account has over 10,000 followers, and I figured that posting extraordinarily comparable content material day after day wouldn’t appear out of the bizarre to the viewers. I’d hold the pictures as comparable as attainable, and the captions themselves brief and candy to keep away from skewing engagement with a particularly amazing shot or, ahem, extremely witty text.

This month, I posted 20 pictures. Ten of those posts included 30 hashtags. For the opposite 10 posts, I restricted myself to three to five hashtags.

To construct my choice of 30 hashtags, I used the web site Display Purposes, which generates a listing of the preferred tags round a given matter — in my case, I wound up with lists associated to weddings, and the placement of those weddings (British Columbia, Canada).

Display Purposes popular hashtags related to weddings

For the three to five hashtag posts, I went with my intestine: and my intestine normally mentioned, “tag it with #marriage ceremony and two different apparent issues.”

So which methodology reigned supreme: restrained tagging or a more-is-more strategy?


TLDR: Don’t hassle maxing out your hashtags — it definitely doesn’t show you how to, and should even be hurting your attain barely.

Popping into my Instagram Insights to view the per-post attain, I discovered that my publish with the very best attain hit 943 individuals, and my publish with the smallest attain hit 257 individuals.

Instagram Insights per post reach

That top-ranking publish? It featured simply three hashtags: #weddingday, #marriage ceremony, and #weddingdecor.

The second-highest rating publish solely featured 4 hashtags: #weddingday, #bride, #elope, and #elopement.

As we received additional alongside down the record, although, it jumped backwards and forwards fairly usually between posts with plenty of hashtags and posts with only a choose few. I put all the attain information into one desk to determine what the common attain was for every type of publish.

The conclusion? Fewer hashtags received barely higher attain on common.

Attain of posts with 3-5 Hashtags Attain of posts with 30 hashtags
943 743
813 488
605 434
413 411
411 397
360 356
293 327
263 265
262 262
257 257

It’s not a bigger attain by a lot… simply 15%, on this very small, very particular, very wedding-related experiment. However nonetheless! It appears to point that maxing out your hashtags is, at greatest, a waste of time. At worst, it may really damage your attain. 

Instagram publishing post reach and impressions

Taking a peek at Hootsuite Analytics, when it comes to precise likes and feedback, the variety of hashtags didn’t appear to make a lot of a distinction.

As an example, if we have a look at the six posts with the very best engagement, three of them featured minimal hashtags, and the opposite three had 30 hashtags every. Even-steven.

Hootsuite Analytics Instagram posts with highest engagement

What do the outcomes imply?

As per ordinary, this experiment is definitely not definitive, and your mileage could range with your individual hashtaggery. However listed here are my private takeaways from these outcomes:

It’s a good suggestion to have some hashtags…

In comparison with earlier posts on this account that didn’t use any hashtags, these posts did wind up with a bigger attain. So there’s some worth in together with at the least one hashtag in your publish. Having 3 to five particularly definitely didn’t appear to harm something, and offered the chance to achieve a number of totally different potential audiences. What’ve you bought to lose?!

… however don’t hassle placing 30

I don’t know if I may confidently say that 3 to five hashtags is the optimum quantity to make use of on Instagram with this information. However what I may say is that extra hashtags don’t essentially equal extra attain. Maxing my hashtag rely out my hashtags to 30 didn’t have any constructive affect on these posts in any respect. As an alternative of jam-packing your caption with tags, you’re most likely higher off utilizing that area to say different accounts, spark a dialog or exhibit that glowing humorousness.

Excessive engagement comes from nice content material, not the precise variety of tags

The engagement right here was really fairly low, given the variety of followers this account has. My hunch is that it was as a result of I wasn’t providing very a lot juicy element in these captions and haven’t essentially been working to foster engagement in different methods. (As an example, asking questions, incorporating user-generated content material, commenting on different accounts’ posts, and the opposite issues we list in this guide to building Instagram engagement here.)

The purpose is: engagement isn’t a simple factor to drum up, and might’t be conjured up by discovering the right mixture of hashtags. It takes time and care.

Okay, that’s a wrap on this take a look at — however there are extra feats of social media science the place this got here from. Take a look at the remainder of our Hootsuite Experiments here!

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