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Where to put your Instagram hashtags?

By June 25, 2018October 18th, 2019No Comments

Instagram hashtags as first comment or in your caption?

Does the location of your hashtag matter? The age old debate of where should you put your Instagram hashtags remains. Does one perform better than the other? Should they go in the caption or as the first comment? Do people care?


Let’s break it all down for you!

Instagram algorithm

Image result for instagram algorithm

Instagram have been doing some adjustments to its algorithm, which has increased competition for visibility on the platform. This may be a deliberate move to help reduce the spam in order for a more relevant feed for users. This is beneficial for Instagram as people tend to see more of what interest them, and hence stay on the app longer. To win the system, this algorithm shift has caused people trying to get fancy with hashtag placements- and hence the issue of what we are discussing today.

Business vs Personal accounts

Image result for business instagram account

It is important to remain clear about the differences in managing a personal Instagram account and a business account. The expectations and way of speech may not work the same way. The image you are building is extremely different and deliberate.

Does Instagram Hashtags matter?

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The trend of putting the hashtags in the comments came about as a way to keep Instagram captions looking clean, but then soon, people realized that hashtags in comments were also discoverable by Instagram’s algorithms. From there, those rascally “growth hackers” decided the hottest tactic to trick the system was to swap out and edit your hashtags to surface your content for more terms. This can be exhausting, especially if you have to work at scale.

So, what’s a marketer to do? As with all things in digital marketing, it’s best to not make assumptions – we should let data inform the strategy and tactics we use.

A great study analyzed the content performance of Instagram posts when the hashtags are placed in the caption, in comparison to when hashtags are placed within the comments. This study analyzed 117 posts from 3 accounts with a total of 13,700 Instagram Followers. Of this sample size, 51 posts included posts with hashtags in the comments, while 66 posts contained hashtags in the original post caption. Each post in this study contained 30 hashtags.

After a 30-day period, the data was analyzed:

Posts with Hashtags in the Captions:

  • 60.64 Likes per Post
  • 2.84 Comments per Post
  • 2.72 Profile Visits per Post
  • 66 Reach per Post

Posts with Hashtags in Comments:

  • 55.21 Likes per Post
  • 3.39 Comments per Post
  • 2.88 Profile Visits per Post
  • 51 Reach per Post

Including hashtags in the post caption resulted in 9.84% more Likes, and 29.4% more Reach. Placing the hashtags in the comments resulted in 19.3% more comments for some strange reason.

Placing hashtags in the caption resulted in 18% better content performance metrics. While this might seem like a slim margin, you need to also consider the extra time and steps it would take to go back and remember to add comments into your post comments.

*captions and results credit to Scott Ayres: Social Media Lab Podcast


You should utilize whichever approach works best for your Instagram account! One way to analyse results is by data as it highlights which approach is clearly better.