Instagram Hashtags Aren’t As Effective As Keywords And SEO In Getting Better Reach, Proves New Experiment

It’s been over a decade since we’ve been witnessing Instagram users make use of hashtags to try and get better coverage of their posts and reach across the app.

But as time evolves, so are trends and a new experiment is putting old theories to rest, the reality of which not many of us may be aware.

The efficacy that hashtags provide may not be as great as some other techniques, and by that we mean SEO and relevant keywords.

Thanks to Hootsuite which recently unveiled the results of its latest social media experiment, we’re getting so much knowledge about ways by which you can better your reach across the app.

In the month of March of this year, we saw plenty of questions being thrown in Adam Mosseri’s direction related to how creators can best reach their target audiences and whether or not hashtags made any difference.

To many people’s surprise, the Instagram CEO’s answer was ‘not really’ and that had so many content creators second-guessing themselves.

Now, Hootsuite’s new experiment is pointing that out too, clearly shunning age-old theories linked to hashtag practices.

For better views and engagement, the popular social media management enterprise says you’ve got to work on Search Engine Optimization and really choose your keywords carefully.

It’s hard to think of how the hashtag phenomenon that’s been with us since 2011 could no longer suffice to produce results for users. For years, we’ve been categorizing posts by this means, not to mention it is a simple way to locate posts too.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at how Hootsuite actually came to this conclusion. The company collaborated with writer Stacey McLachlan to carry out an experiment to see how much captions really took a toll on the posts’ performance.

Stacey put up a total of 10 Instagram posts, from which 50% were focused on certain keywords while the other half were linked to hashtags for images that were similar to that observed in the picture itself.

According to her findings, there was nearly 30% greater reach seen for posts with SEO keywords than those provided with hashtags. Other than that, she found user engagement was also much greater for SEO posts that for the hashtag counterpart.

In case you aren’t aware, revenue generation for content creators has plenty to do with reach as well as how much users are engaging with the posts. But with time, so many creators complained of how their engagements have dropped to new lows.

Stacey says she followed all the guidelines provided by the app in terms of how to best make use of hashtags, including adding a particular number and not going overboard.

While Instagram failed to directly comment on the new study, it did share a few words of advice for creators regarding the hashtag concept.

They claim content and user interaction really go miles in affecting posts, more so than hashtags. Well, now that we know that, we’re still hoping the app can someday miraculously unveil how exactly its algorithm functions because the mystery is taking a toll on plenty.

Read next: Instagram To Soon Allow Users To Schedule Posts & Reels Directly Through The App
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