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New Report Highlights That Instagram Hashtags Don’t Significantly Increase Post Engagement

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New Report Highlights That Instagram Hashtags Don't Significantly Increase Post Engagement

Do hashtags actually help to improve the reach of your posts on Instagram?

The pervading belief has been that they do, but recently, Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri poured cold water on the hashtag debate by noting that hashtags don’t really help views.

Instagram hashtags aren’t designed to maximize distribution, necessarily, with the real focus being on categorizing content to better connect users with what they’re looking for.

But still, that should also help to improve reach, right? Do hashtags really not influence post views?

To get some answers, the team at Socialinsider recently analyzed over 75 million Instagram posts published between March 2021 and March 2022, to see what the data says about the relationship between Instagram hashtags and post views.

The research shows that the number of hashtags an Instagram post has does not influence post distribution.

As you can see in the graphic below, there are no significant differences in the average engagement rate by impressions values of the Instagram posts analyzed, despite the number of hashtags.

The highest average engagement rate by impressions (3.41%) is generated by posts with 3-4 hashtags. This comes as no surprise – Instagram itself has previously noted that keeping between 3-5 hashtags is the best strategy to adopt when dealing with post distribution.

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But, ultimately, the number of hashtags you use doesn’t influence reach, on average, at least not in any significant way.

The Socialinsider team wanted to dig further, so they added an additional parameter in ‘Follower Count’ to ensure that we’re looking at equal comparisons.

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The data shows that there aren’t any major differences in the average impression rates of the Instagram posts analyzed when looking at the number of hashtags and followers in conjunction, though there are some nuances, depending on the profiles’ following base.

In the case of big accounts (50K and 1M followers), the impression rates decrease as they use more Instagram hashtags. According to the data, the best practice for big accounts is to use 3-4 hashtags to maximize their chances of reaching the average engagement rate by impressions of (3.42%).

For small accounts, with 5K – 10K followers, more tags also equals declining engagement, but the variance is not as pronounced. That said, it’s still a good practice for small accounts to include fewer hashtags (focusing on 5-6 hashtags) to achieve the best engagement rates.

The same trend applies to mid-sized accounts, with 10K – 50K followers, which should use more 5-6 hashtags to ensure higher impression rates.

Of course, all of this depends on your specific audience, the types of hashtags you use, and the goals you’re trying to achieve. Still, according to this data, and industry experts, Instagram hashtags don’t help with post distribution.

The real trick is to use the right hashtags for your target audience, in order to get your posts seen by the people searching for the right topics in the app. Do your research, determine the right tags for each of your posts (based on the topics of each, not the same hashtags for every update), and you should still see reach benefits from hashtag use.

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More insights on Instagram hashtags can be found in the full report.

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New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat’s Coming ‘Family Center’ Will Work

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New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat's Coming 'Family Center' Will Work

Snapchat’s parental control options look close to launch, with new screenshots based on back-end code showing how Snap’s coming ‘Family Center’ will look in the app.

As you can see in these images, shared by app intelligence company Watchful (via TechCrunch), the Family Center will enable parents to see who their child is engaging with in the app, along with who they’ve added, who they’re following, etc.

That could provide a new level of assurance for parents – though it could also be problematic for Snap, which has become a key resource for more private, intimate connection, with its anti-public posting ethos, and disappearing messages, helping to cement its place as an alternative to other social apps.

That’s really how Snap has embedded its niche. While other apps are about broadcasting your life to the wider world, Snap is about connecting with a small group of friends, where you can share your more private, secret thoughts, without concern of them living on forever, and coming back to bite you at a later stage.

That also, of course, means that more questionable, dangerous communications are happening in the app. Various reports have investigated how Snap is used for sending lewd messages, and arranging hook-ups, while drug dealers reportedly now use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.

Which, of course, is why parents will be keen to get more insight into such, but I can’t imagine Snap users will be so welcoming of an intrusive tool in this respect.

But if parents know that it exists, they may have to, and that could be problematic for Snap. Teen users will need to accept their parents’ invitation to enable Family Center monitoring, but you can see how this could become an issue for many younger users in the app.

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Still, the protective benefits may well be worth it, with random hook-ups and other engagements posing significant risks. And with kids as young as 13 able to create a Snapchat account, there are many vulnerable youngsters engaging in the app.

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But it could reduce Snap’s appeal, as more parents become aware of the tool.

Snapchat hasn’t provided any further insight into the new Family Center, or when it will be released, but it looks close to launch based on these images.  

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