Determining the ideal number of hashtags on Instagram is crucial for maximizing engagement. Studies and platforms like Later suggest varying recommendations based on extensive analysis.

Key Highlights: How Many Hashtags Should I Use on Instagram in 2024?

  • Optimal Hashtag Use: Later’s analysis of over 18 million posts shows that using 20 hashtags offers the highest average reach rate, with 30 hashtags closely following.
  • Engagement vs. Hashtag Count: Contrary to Instagram’s recommendation of 3 to 5 hashtags, using up to 30 hashtags can significantly increase likes and comments.
  • Discoverability vs. Clutter: While more hashtags enhance discoverability and push posts into more Explore channels, they might also clutter your post. Yet, this doesn’t deter user engagement according to the study.
  • Audience and Goals Matter: The right number of hashtags varies depending on your target audience and objectives. Niche audiences might benefit from fewer, more targeted hashtags.
  • Experimentation is Key: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Testing different hashtag amounts and analyzing your specific audience engagement is essential to find what works best for your brand.

How many hashtags should you use on Instagram to maximize engagement?

Previous studies have shown less is more. However, Instagram says you should add 3 to 5 relevant hashtags to reach your target audience.

What to do?

As with everything social media, much depends on your focus and audience. The Instagram marketing platform Later recently analyzed more than 18 million Instagram feed posts (not including videos or stories) to determine the best hashtag usage to drive engagement and reach.

Their main finding? On both fronts, more Instagram hashtags are indeed better.

Posts with 20 hashtags have the highest average reach rate.

Posts with 30 hashtags are not far behind.

Instagram Posts with 20 hashtags have the highest average reach rate

This finding is consistent with Later’s prior research, as you can see in this comparative graph.

Number of Instagram hashtags vs. reach rate per post 2020-2021

30 Instagram hashtags generate the best engagement.

Later also discovered that 30 hashtags produced the best results in terms of engagement — driving more likes and comments.

Number of Instagram hashtags vs. engagement rate per feed post

Interestingly, this data contradicts Instagram’s own advice, which indicates that creators should use 8 to 15 Instagram hashtags for best results.

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A post shared by Instagram’s @Creators (@creators)

Using more hashtags makes sense for maximizing discoverability and getting your posts into more Explore channels and listings. However, this approach can make your posts appear more cluttered — although this doesn’t seem to be a significant concern for users.

What should you choose?

Number of Instagram hashtags for optimal reach and engagement

There is no one correct answer. It will depend on your unique audience, what they like, and what you’re trying to accomplish with your posts.

Later’s findings, based on a broad range of feed posts (again, not including video, Reels, or Stories), indicate that more is better for engagement.

You might find that using fewer Instagram hashtags works better if you are trying to reach niche communities because the potential interest from wider tag usage might not translate into actual niche traffic for your website. However, in this case, sometimes more is better — a wider reach means that your updates will be seen by more people, even those who aren’t interested, and could potentially grow your brand recognition.

You’ll need to experiment to find what works for your needs.

It might be worth testing and looking at your own results. On the other hand, if you have been successful with fewer Instagram hashtags, you may not need to make any changes.

Read Later’s complete Instagram hashtag study here.

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