Instagram Hashtags: Everything You Need To Know in 2022
Instagram hashtags are still one of the most effective ways to get more eyes (and engagement!) on your Instagram posts in 2021.
But how do you find the best hashtags for your account? Which hashtags are the most popular right now? And should they go in your caption or in the comments? We’re answering these questions, and more, in our ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags.
How Do Hashtags Work on Instagram? Instagram hashtags are fundamentally a way to label and categorize your content. They then help Instagram serve your posts to relevant users. In their most simple function, the hashtags you use fuel the search results on the Instagram Explore page:
But it doesn’t end there. Hashtags are also used as a reference for the Instagram algorithm, so it can categorize your content and suggest it to users it thinks will have a high interest.
So… Do Hashtags Still Work on Instagram in 2022?
Hashtags have always been the heart of much debate, especially following Instagram’s recent recommendation to only use between 3-5 hashtags (more on that later).
As Instagram slowly pivots towards semantic keyword search, it opens up a new world of possibilities in content discoverability – indicating that the words in your captions or the topics in your videos will become searchable too.
However, despite these major advancements, hashtags do still work on Instagram. Paired with a strong content strategy, they can help yield impressive results.
How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Instagram?
As we’ve mentioned, Instagram recently advised that creators should use between 3-5 hashtags on their posts, despite allowing up to 30 per post.
This goes against everything we've previously heard about how hashtags work on Instagram, but based on their new focus on keywords and SEO, it does (kind of) make sense.
Instagram is introducing more “suggested” content feeds – like the Instagram Reels tab, for example. But in order to provide suggested content that truly is a “good match,” Instagram needs to be able to accurately categorize it. The theory? Fewer hashtags = more reliable self categorization.
To test this theory, Later looked at 18M+ Instagram feed posts – comparing the number of hashtags used per post with average reach rates.
As you can see, using more hashtags = better results. Reach rate increases by 11% (from 24% to 35%) as the number of hashtags grows from one to 30.
To put that in perspective, for an account with 20K followers, that’s an additional 2.2K accounts reached per post.
We even looked at whether this trend had changed compared to 2020, but the results were fairly consistent.
The takeaway? For now, using more hashtags is still the best strategy for increasing your reach and engagement on Instagram feed posts. However, as Instagram introduces more “suggested” content feeds, focusing on fewer, hyper-relevant hashtags could be a tactic worth testing.
What Are the Different Types of Instagram Hashtag?
Before selecting hashtags for your posts, it’s a good idea to consider the different types of hashtags you can include.
This will help make sure you’re covering all the bases with your hashtag strategy.
There are five main types of hashtags to consider:
Location-based hashtags, like #BryantPark or #LowerEastSide
Branded hashtags for campaigns or events, like #Later or #LaterCon
Industry hashtags that describe your niche, like #SocialMediaManagers or #WeddingPlanners
Community-focused hashtags to bring your community together, like #VanLifeLiving or #IAmASweatyBetty
Descriptive hashtags which describe the content of your actual post, like #WoodwickCandles or #SheaButterProducts
There’s no secret formula for how many of each of these hashtags you should include, but keeping the different categories in mind can provide valuable inspiration and help guide your strategy.
Hashtags are a powerful way to reach new audiences and grow your account, but it takes time and effort to see big results.
Whether you use 10 or 30, a consistent hashtag strategy is still one of the most effective routes for growth on Instagram.