Yes, if you’ve noticed that you’re not getting as much reach from your hashtags on Instagram, you’re not alone!
But it’s probably not what you’re thinking…
For the last 10 years, I’ve been teaching people how to use Instagram hashtags to reach their target audience, get more followers, and drive sales. I have a tried and tested formula that has worked for years! (If you haven’t heard about my super secret hashtag recipe that I tell everyone, read this blog post.
But, nowadays, if you look at your insights on Instagram, chances are that the hashtag reach isn’t looking as good as it used to.
And maybe you’re thinking that hashtags aren’t working anymore.
Hashtags are still super important. Just not like they used to be.
If you want the short answer as to why reach is down for hashtags, watch this video:
If you want a slightly longer explanation, here you go.
In the last couple of years, Instagram has moved to keyword search (FINALLLLLY). And while the keyword search is still infantile – you can’t use long tail keyword searches like “things to do in San Diego”, instead you could search for “San Diego” or “San Diego restaurants” – the reality is that Instagram is moving us to keyword search and users are adopting that type of search.
So, if someone goes to IG and types in “kids crafts” instead of #kidscrafts, they are seeing an algorithmically sorted list of content that matches “kids crafts” but they aren’t seeing those posts IN the hashtag hub.
BUT what’s important to note is that the content that appears in those keyword searches are ranked based on information in four key areas: the account profile description, the post caption, the AI scanning the image itself for recognizable components, and the HASHTAGS listed in the caption (they don’t rank if they’re in a comment).
So… someone looks for the keyword related to your post or product and they see your post in the search results because your hashtags and caption categorized it properly, but they aren’t seeing in a hashtag hub so we don’t have metrics on where that post appeared. Yes, this opens up a whole other discussion about the poor metrics IG gives us. You did reach new people. You did drive traffic and possibly even a sale. The search and distribution still work. But it’s different now and we don’t have the right metrics to show us it’s working.
Which results in lower hashtag views on your posts, yes.
But don’t stop using them! Because they are helping your content get found in other ways and they are still working for you.