How many Hashtags should you use on Instagram?

Three people around many hashtags with an Instagram symbol in the middle.

Hashtags are key to achieving a high organic reach on Instagram. With the right hashtags, you can attract new users, make posts easier to find, and increase brand awareness. For these reasons, it is no surprise that many people ask how many hashtags to use on Instagram when posting. While the question may be straightforward, many studies offer different answers to this question. 

In this article, we want to settle the debate once and for all. In doing so, we analyzed five million Instagram posts in order to see how many hashtags you should use. Below, we will share with you our findings related to how many hashtags on Instagram are optimal for your posts (spoiler alert: it’s 30). We will also discuss the impact hashtags can have on interactions and reach and even show you how to find the right hashtags for your posts.

How Many Hashtags Can I use on Instagram?

Let’s start with a slightly different but important question: is there a maximum number of hashtags on Instagram? You may be surprised to learn that there actually is a maximum number of hashtags on Instagram. In fact, you are allowed to use 30 hashtags in an Instagram post.

However, simply knowing how many hashtags are allowed on Instagram doesn’t answer the ultimate question related to how many hashtags you SHOULD use. 

Two women sitting around an Instagram hashtag while they look at their phones.

How many Hashtags Should I use on Instagram: Different Perspectives

There are many different perspectives on how many hashtags you should use on Instagram. Some may say that only two to four hashtags should be used. Others many recommend using up to ten hashtags. When we hear these types of suggestions, it appears that they are not geared to what will increase reach or interactions of posts, but rather about the unattractive sight of too many hashtags below a post text. In other words, these suggestions are not data-driven.

Of course, there’s no denying that the sight of many hashtags may be visibly unappealing. However, at the end of the day, influencers, social media managers, or other users want to focus on getting results. In determining how many hashtags should be included on an Instagram post, we need should base our conclusion on data. That is why we analyzed five million posts. 

To begin our study, we looked at the average number of hashtags used on Instagram posts. As you see below, the average lies between one and seven hashtags, depending on the size of the profile.

A bar chart that shows how many hashtags on average that people use on Instagram.

The chart shows that, as the number of followers increases from zero, the average number of hashtags per post initially rises to 6.8. However, once the number of followers reaches between five thousand to ten thousand, the number drops. Perhaps what is most interesting is that profiles with a size of over five million followers only use a single hashtag per post on average. The noteworthy finding here is that there doesn’t seem to any type of consensus about how many hashtags you should use on Instagram.

Overall, an average post on Instagram has a number of three to seven hashtags. However, it is essential to note that these results DON’T mean that such a small number of hashtags is recommended or corresponds to a higher reach or number of interactions. Let’s now look at why this is the case.

The Optimal Number of Hashtags for Instagram is….. 30!

What is the ideal number of hashtags for Instagram that you should add to your post? Unlike what many others may say, our study indicates that the ideal number of hashtags for Instagram is actually 30 hashtags

The problem with many other studies related to the ideal number of hashtags on Instagram is that they look at the absolute number of interactions per post for any number of hashtags used. According to many of these studies, a post with more likes would be more successful than one that gets fewer likes.

For example, a post with 300 likes would be more successful than a post with only 50 likes. However, this approach disregards a crucial point, namely that the follower count of the profile that published the post. Since large profiles often use fewer hashtags, the result would be that fewer hashtags per post are recommended. However, this conclusion would be incorrect.

If the first post was from a profile with 3,000 followers and the second from a profile with 100 followers, the second one would be clearly more successful than the first one because it gained more likes per follower. However, this way of measuring success creates inaccurate results. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to first divide the number of likes by the number of followers of the profiles to more accurately compare the success of posts. If this adjustment is not made, a post from Adidas, for instance, would always seem more successful than other smaller profiles, no matter how many hashtags it has. In order to successfully determine how many hashtags should you use on Instagram, you need to look at posts by likes per follower.

As you can see below, the results related to how many hashtags to use on Instagram is crystal clear.

A line graph that shows the relationship between likes and how many hashtags are used in a post.

In looking at how many hashtags to use on an Instagram post, it is clear that, as the number of hashtags per post increases, the average number of likes per follower also increases (with the exception of going from 0 to 1 hashtag used). This analysis clearly shows that using more hashtags can achieve more likes, and that 30 hashtags is the ideal number to use for your Instagram posts. 

We should also point out that while some may wonder how many hashtags to use on Instagram Reels or Stories specifically, it is important to note that our analysis was done independent of any post type.

Do More Hashtags Equal More Reach?

When discussing the best number of hashtags for Instagram, we should also look at overall reach. As we have seen, if your goal is to get as many likes as possible, you should use 30 hashtags. But do hashtags also help increase post reach? 

To answer this question, we looked at the correlation between the reach per follower and the number of hashtags used per post. The result shows an interesting, but somewhat less clear correlation, than was the case with likes. As you see below, the graph indicates that the reach increases with the number of hashtags used. However, from 16 hashtags on, the increase becomes irregular. The sharp peak at 30 hashtags used indicates that the reach is at its maximum at this number of hashtags.

A line graph that shows how the number of hashtags used relates to the reach of a post.

Similar to our analysis regarding the correlation between the number of hashtags and likes, we can see that using 30 hashtags provides the most reach. However, you should note that a number of 25 hashtags also achieves a very high reach, which is only one percentage point lower than 30 hashtags. We should also note that the reach per post dips between 25 and 30 hashtags used, but is still at the highest point once it reaches 30 hashtags. 

While the trend here is not as clear as in the calculation based on likes per follower, our data indicates that using 30 hashtags is optimal to increase reach.

The Value of a Hashtag Generator

You now know how many hashtags you use on Instagram post has an indisputable impact on the success of your posts. The main takeaway from this article is that you shouldn’t let an unsightly block of 30 hashtags under a post stop you from using the ideal number of Instagram hashtags. As we have seen, using the right hashtags can help you increase likes and reach new users. 

However, how do you actually find what hashtags you should use in your posts? After all, using irrelevant hashtags will not help you reach the right target audience. Fortunately, tools such as Fanpage Karma’s hashtag composer allows you to harness AI technology in helping you find 30 relevant hashtags for your posts. This industry-leading tool is designed to generate dozens of hashtags that are relevant for your topics, as well as to provide you with the potential reach of those hashtags. Best of all, it is free to use!

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Conclusion: How many Hashtags should you use on Instagram

As we have seen above, the key question to ask yourself is not how many hashtags CAN you use on Instagram, but rather how many hashtags you SHOULD use on Instagram. Our study shows that you should use 30 hashtags for your Instagram posts. Of course, simply using hashtags by itself won’t double your reach and interactions. Rather, hashtags should be seen as one of many factors that can help you improve your post interactions and reach. Moreover, using the right hashtag composer can help you find relevant hashtags with higher potential reach.

Using the right number of hashtags does not replace the need to create engaging content. In order to find what content is producing results, it is advisable to use a social media tool that can help you to monitor your progress and improve your performance with powerful analytical insights. Fanpage Karma offers a free 14-day trial of its all-in-one social media tool that offers benchmarking, research, publishing, and community management features. 

Fanpage Karma also offers a free weekly webinar that can help you see how a social media tool can improve the performance of your profiles.

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