April 4, 2018

The age old debate as long as Instagram has been around: where should you put your Instagram hashtags?

Should they go in the caption? Or should they go in a subsequent comment?

Does it matter? Does one perform better than the other? Do people care? These are all the questions I hear all. the. time!

So, let's break it all down for you!

The short answer is this: it absolutely does NOT matter where you put your hashtags on Instagram.

From a technical perspective, there is no proven research that shows posts perform any better in either of the caption or a comment. The only caveat to this is if you use super popular hashtags (which I don't recommend anyways because they only attract bots and spammers). But, if you insist on using a super popular hashtag like #love or #happy, then you want to put those in the caption, not a comment.

Why?

Because Instagram posts appear chronologically in the hashtag search galleries based on the chronological time at which the post was shared (not when the hashtag was added). So, if you're using those super popular hashtags, every single second matters to your engagement. If you're wasting 30 seconds even to add a comment after posting, add your hashtags, and post your comment, you've lost valuable time for your post to appear in that hashtag search and you won't get as many likes.

Now, like I said, this is only for super popular hashtags. I'm talking those with 10s of millions of posts or more. If you're using anything with less than a million posts, those mere seconds you delay to put your hashtags in a comment is not going to cost you anything great.

So, whether you put the hashtags in your caption or comment, your post will perform the same. There is no difference from that perspective.

That leaves aesthetics and personal preferences.

Personally, I'm lazy. I want to write my caption, add my hashtags, share the post, and be done with it. So, all my hashtags go in the original caption.

Some people like to use spacing and the dots down the caption to separate out their hashtags. Some people don't like their hashtags in the caption at all because it's distracting. Whatever you prefer is entirely your choice.

Back in the day, a lot of people put hashtags in the comments because you saw the whole caption when scrolling through Instagram. The added space and long list of hashtags looked unappealing to users so we would bury our hashtags in a comment. But, nowadays, all captions are truncated after a few lines with the "... [more]" at the end so no one sees any hashtags in a caption when scrolling. Unless they open the caption to read it. And at that point, does it really matter if they see your hashtags? Doubtful.

But again, it's really your choice.

And, to make things complicated, some people will put their branded hashtags or specific campaign hashtags in the caption and then all the others in a comment. Totally fine! Do whatever works for you.

Honestly, most people don't care if they see hashtags. It's Instagram! People expect it. It's not spammy or sleazy or annoying. It's the way Instagram works. Everyone knows that so you're not irritating anyone by using them.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I always use the caption. As platforms develop and change, I feel it’s always best to future-proof everything – my thought being that Instagram may one day base its searches on the caption, not the comments.

    1. This is such a great idea and a thought I honestly hadn’t considered. You’re thinking ahead and I like that reasoning!

  2. I would love to see a way of how, when, and where hashtags were being searched. I know that we can see top used or frequent used hashtags on twitter and Instagram, but so you know of any service that dives deeper into them?

    1. Iconosquare and Sprout Social both have deeper dive metrics on hashtag performance. Both of those are paid platforms so you have to determine if their overall service and rates are worth it for that additional feature.

  3. Hi Jenn!

    Absolutely love your blogs. I had a doubt though about the hashtags. I’ve seen influencers and some brands use hashtags like:

    ” #SocialMediaScheduler #SocialMediaSchedulers ”

    Did you notice the only difference between the two is the “s” at the end? Is it really important to have both such hashtags for better reach?

    Hope you find the time to respond. Thanks!

    1. Making one plural and one singular simply ensures you show up in both hashtag searches. If it’s a topic you really want to be found for and there’s a chance people use one or the other, it would be smart to use both in your posts.

  4. Question: some people have so many hashtags while others don’t. What do you suggest? Also I find that Instagram limits the number of hashtags for me while others have long lists of hashtags. Is there a reason for this?

    1. You can use up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post. You can put up to 30 in the caption. You can put up to 30 in a comment. So, yes, technically, you put as many as you want, but your content will only appear in the searches for the first 30 hashtags associated with the post. Hope this helps clarify!

    1. I only use hashtags on Facebook if it’s using a branded or campaign-related hashtag. The use of hashtags on FB isn’t significantly helpful.

  5. Thanks for the tips- good to know it doesn’t matter where the #hashtag goes!

Comments are closed.

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