Hashtags on Instagram, as with other social media, are a vital tool to make your posts easier to find. Hashtags group similar posts together, letting users browse images and videos by subject.

Because they're so important, Instagram users are always looking for guidance. How many hashtags should I use? Do more hashtags equal more engagement? Let's take a look.

Download full report (59 pages)
  • —Top tags

    #love, #instagood, and #photography are the most popular hashtags.

  • —Engagement

    Using hashtags does not increase the engagement rate for posts.


How Many Hashtags Do Most People Use?

One third of Instagram posts contain no hashtags. We then see a steadily declining number of posts as the number of hashtags goes up. This is logical.

But see that little spike? Instagram limits posts to 30 hashtags. And naturally, plenty of users try to use the maximum number allowed, to increase their posts' visibility.

There is also a workaround that lets you go higher, which is why we still see results up to 60 tags.

Number of posts VS number of hashtags

  • Number of posts
Hashtags_graph_01 30B 20B 10B 0 40B 0 15 35 25 20 10 30 05 40 Number of hashtags Number of posts

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Do More Hashtags Mean More Instagram Engagement?

Naturally, many people would assume that using Instagram hashtags would help increase engagement. They make your post easier to find, which means more views, and should mean more engagement, right?

Well, no. In fact, we found no clear correlation between the number of hashtags in a post and the number of engagements (likes and comments).

The graph suggests that it is actually better to use no hashtags if you want higher engagement.
What does this mean ?

Average engagement vs number of hashtags

  • Average engagement

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What does this mean ?

At a glance, these charts suggest that hashtags actually harm engagement rates. While this is probably a little extreme, we can say with confidence that there is no clear correlation between hashtag use and engagements.

Or perhaps something else is causing this effect.
This trend may be because:

👉 The best content is engaging on its own merit.
Hashtags aren't going to help lacklustre Instagram content perform better.

👉 Power users don't rely on hashtags, and their content gets a lot of likes anyway. This affects our averages.

👉 People are using the wrong hashtags.

Note: Instagram does not provide data about post views. It's still likely that hashtags make your content easier to find and raises the view count.


Do More Hashtags Mean More Instagram Engagement?

When considering the median engagement, having no hashtags had the lowest rate of engagement. Having one or two hashtags provided an improved rate of engagement, but the best was actually having 20 hashtags.

We can attribute this difference to the overall variance of engagement across accounts, both large and small. Where large accounts who are less likely to use hashtags, but generate a ton of engagement, have the potential to skew the average, the median more closely resembles engagement across accounts regardless of their size.

Median engagement vs number of hashtags

  • Median engagement

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Which Hashtags are the Most Engaging?

One explanation for the previous section could be that people are using the wrong hashtags. It may not be the number of hashtags that matters, but rather using the right ones.

We identified the hashtags with the highest average number of engagements. Here are the top 25.
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Instagram hashtags with most engagements

  • Average number of engagements

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The Most Popular Hashtags

As Instagram set out to be the platform for visual and lifestyle content - there were no surprises when it came to the 25 most popular hashtags on the social network this year.

In fact, this suggests consistently that the most popular categories of content posted on the platform include: #love, #instagood, #photography, #art, and #nature.
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Most used hashtags on Instagram

  • Number of posts

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Top 10 Insta-Specific Hashtags

Instagram is so popular that hashtags have popped up just about posting on the network itself. These are are the top Instagram-specific hashtags.

Posts containing Insta-specific hashtags

  • Number of posts
Hashtags_graph_05 3M 2M 1M 0 4M instagood instadaily instagram instalike igers instafashion instamood travelgram dogsofins…

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Top 10 Food Hashtags

Food is a big deal on Instagram, obviously. Whether it's a carefully arranged shot of the perfect açaí bowl, or a selfie of someone stuffing their face, people love to share their food.

These are the 10 most popular food-related Instagram hashtags.

Posts containing food hashtags

  • Number of posts
Hashtags_graph_06 1M 750K 500K 0 250K 1.2M food foodporn foodie instafood vegan eatclean delicious coffee diet

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Top 10 Fashion Hashtags

Clothes, shoes, and makeup - these are some of the most popular topics on Instagram. Because they're highly visual, subjective ideas, people love to see what others are wearing, to get ideas.

These are the top 10 fashion hashtags on Instagram.

Most popular fashion hashtags

  • Number of posts
Hashtags_graph_07 3M 2M 1M 0 4M fashion photooftheday style ootd model makeup fashionblog hair instafashion

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Top 10 Business Hashtags

It's not all classic "consumer" products on Instagram. Brands have realized the power of the image platform, and have started experimenting with ways to grow an audience.

These are the 10 most popular hashtags about business. Download full report (59 pages)

Most popular business hashtags

  • Number of posts
Hashtags_graph_08 3M 2M