How many hashtags to put on your Instagram public posts for maximum reach and engagement, answers a study by Later

One feature which has played a big role in increasing user reach and audience on a post on Instagram is definitely hashtags.

The hashtags are keywords/categories, which users can type in order to search a related content to it, like dramas, shows, products etc. on Instagram. The reach hashtags bring is so great and it has made it so easy to find certain posts on the social app, that Instagram dedicated a separate category to it on the search bar in its later updates.

However, one question which brands, or creators always think about when putting up a post is how much hashtags are enough hashtags.

While Instagram offers 30 hashtag limit, its usually up to users on how much they put in between this number. However, a new study by Later, which involved analyzing almost eighteen million Instagram users found out how many hashtags will benefit a user. So if you are someone who puts up public posts and is looking for maximum reach, we suggest you read till the end.

Instagram at the beginning of this year, suggested users to use hashtags between 8 to 15 in number, however, its current status encourages them to use a maximum of 3 to 5 hashtags. So what brought the sudden change?

Well, users while putting up posts started using all the 30 allocated spaces for hashtags, in order to receive maximum reach. While, using 30 hashtags isn’t a problem, the real issue came when the hashtags were irrelevant to the posts. Many posts contained hashtags which were not relevant to the information it contained, and hence using an irrelevant hashtag also showed that post in a non-related hashtag category.

Hence, Instagram this year encouraged users to use 3 to 5 hashtags which were relevant to their post so that it was easier for them to categorize it in the right place.

However, later found out that (for some) the more hashtags users used, they saw better results in reach. While this was clear even before, the 2020 Later study showed that people who used 20 to 30 hashtags saw better reach than those with fewer ones.

The survey concluded that posts with greater than 5 hashtags saw a greater reach than those with less than 5 and posts with 30 saw the maximum most reach. Same goes for engagement rate.

So this means, using hashtags between 20 to 30 is great for both your engagement and reach. Hence, Later encouraged users to use maximum hashtags.

However, Instagram is also right in their point of view. Users most of the times use pretty irrelevant hashtags. Hashtags plays a huge role in engagement and reach, not only in the short term, but long term as well. Hence, it is important to use relevant hashtags with posts.

So how to do that? According to Later, users should keep five of the most basic categories in mind when it comes to hashtag. These include, the user location or where the product is available, the brand or company name in the hashtag, what is your business about or what is its niche, the community hashtag which your brand is targeting and the hashtag which represents your post in a single word.

When adding other hashtags, some find it difficult to think of what to put. There is a way to solve this issue too. Well, three ways.

Users can take help from a hashtag suggestion tool, they can go to the explore page and see what hashtags related to their brand is trending, or they can discover the tags using the search tool option on the ‘gram.

However, it will obviously take time for users and a lot of experiments to know what hashtags and what numbers gather them the most reach. Social media marketing is a trial and error game. It may take some time before you understand how your niche and audience works, but once you understand and are in the game, you will love every bit of it and the following which comes with it too. Take a look at below charts for more insights:

We hope this helped you in deciding how many and what hashtags you will be putting up in the future.

Read next: Data Shows Whether Instagram Reels or TikTok Is The Superior Platform In Terms Of Advertising
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