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Hashtags or No Hashtags?

Discussion in 'Instagram' started by fxmanaged, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. fxmanaged

    fxmanaged Registered Member

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    Since mid February, our engagement on posts has dropped. Many pages we know have complained about the same thing.

    Prior to that shift, our post Insights showed that a much higher percentage of our total reach was from non-followers.

    After mid February, those percentages are much lower, sometimes more than 50% lower and obviously the number of follows per post is lower as well.

    A lot of threads out there argue that it's because of hashtag usage. Some say to place the hashtags in the captions and not the 1st comment, but there is a school of thought that claims that using no hashtags at all is better, as implied by the article below that discusses Mention's published findings in their "Instagram Report 2018:"

    https://www.marketingmag.com.au/new...ment-on-instagram-because-hashtags-dont-work/

    Whether this is true or not, I noticed that the Insights Impressions section of the great majority of our posts hardly ever list the "From Hashtags" category. In the rare occasions when the impressions of a post do list "From Hashtags," the relative number of impressions for that category is still very low., which makes you wonder, "Are hashtags providing any other significant benefit?"

    That is why for a few days now we've been using either no hashtags on our posts or a max of 1-3 hashtags that can be mixed naturally into the text used in the captions.

    I'm not sure if Instagram has some kind of "delay period" before they start reacting to new changes made on posts (that has been another area of debate between us and other Instagram marketers we know), but so far I don't see any improvements from the use or little or no hashtags. In fact, unless Instagram made some algorithm modifications in the last few days, it feels as if the new results are worse.

    I don't think I've seen conclusive evidence or anything remotely close to "scientific" in scope regarding post engagement levels and hashtag usage, especially when hashtags are completely eliminated.

    What do you guys think? Have you come across any conclusive evidence in this regard, or is it all "theories" at this point?
     
  2. JorgeS

    JorgeS Newbie

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    I think everyone is just guessing when it comes to the hashtags.
     
  3. davidblant

    davidblant Registered Member

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    Very wired man!! as i know Using hashtags to market your business on social media is one of the quickest and easiest ways to promote..
    i will try now to search for some results about it, i have the feeling that this is working good. Any one else?
     
  4. ContentWriter

    ContentWriter Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I still use hashtags that are competitive in captions and I can say my account is doing quite well. But come on, Instagram is owned by Facebook, so there's a high chance that they are doing the same crazy PMS-ing algorithm experiment that they did to FB in January.
     
  5. fxmanaged

    fxmanaged Registered Member

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    Yes, things are definitely difference since Jan-Feb changes. Everyone seems to have a different theory, but maybe that's what Facebook wants, to keep everyone guessing.
     
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  6. colorme

    colorme Supreme Member

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    Instagram is like most of us.
    If you're a guy, do you like a girl with tits, or no tits?
    If you're a girl, do you like your guy with a little D or a big D?

    So, hashtags are there to use. How many you want to use below the 30 max? That's up to your taste.
     
  7. LosPollos

    LosPollos Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Hashtag search results are now displaying differently for me. Now I see two tabs in hashtag search results, with preference given to the Top tab. Seems like a better reason than ever to try to rank on the top few posts of a hashtag.

    If I check the analytics on my page, a good post where 53% of the audience was not following me got 5800 impressions just from hashtags. A post where only 35% of the audience was not following me doesn’t even list hashtags as a main source for impressions. Post 2 has 3x the likes because it fits my niche better but Post 1 has almost the equivalent reach, so I can say hashtags are still a valid source of traffic.
     
  8. fxmanaged

    fxmanaged Registered Member

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    Yes, people can do whatever they want based on their taste, but Instagram is not responding the same to how you use hashtags. Some pages use all 30 and do great, done use 0 and do great, some use 30 and do horribly, etc. It's not as simplistic as you put it and definitely things have changed since Jan-Feb.
     
  9. colorme

    colorme Supreme Member

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    I understand your point. Mine is that Instagram lets us use hashtags. So, use the hashtags that are relevant to your post. Depending on your feed, some posts will place higher, some will not.
    In my experience, those that are doing great are because they spend money on Instagram/Facebook, and/or have big accounts liking and commenting on their posts (of course by following as this will have a higher interaction in the algo.)
     
  10. fxmanaged

    fxmanaged Registered Member

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    No, the correlation has nothing to do with advertising. I've seen accounts that do great even though they don't advertise. Something very complex is definitely behind the scenes when it comes to hashtags since Jan-Feb IMHO. Has anyone here ran any more "scientific" tests on this?
     
  11. nocturnae

    nocturnae Junior Member

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    Hashtags will remain an important part of IG, if not it wouldn’t make sense to add the feature to follow a Hashtag. I also have the tabbed view between top posts and more recent, so i’m pretty sure they’re going to be doing some changes to the current system :).


    Then only thing that I find ‘disturbing’ in that article about Mention is that they don’t give any info about how they conducted the test: how many posts or different accounts, cross niche sampling, account size,... there isn’t even a link to the report itself.
    Their chart also shows up to 60 hashtags, which means you’ll need to post 30 tags in the caption and 30 in comment. Not exactly a ‘best practice’ to do, as IG only intends for you to use 30 all together.


    I do have a theory though when it comes to the power of using hashtags. My theory is that if you are reposting content, hashtags will be less powerfull because IG’s algo and image recognition will already have indexed the image and categorized it in the proper niche and relevancy. However, if you’re posting a new(er) image (or a visually adapted repost image), Instagram will need to analyze your image. And for that they’ll probably use NLP (hashtags) and image recognition.

    I’m running tests on my account to validate that theory, but I need more data :).
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018 at 1:32 PM
  12. fxmanaged

    fxmanaged Registered Member

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    It's a good theory and I have thought about the same thing with reposted content, but a few friends of mine run pages that are still "untouched" after the Jan-Feb algo shift and reposting content is all that they do.
     
  13. colorme

    colorme Supreme Member

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    Do they just simply repost the content, or change the MD5 or Checksum, color/size to the post that will be reused?

    It would be interesting in knowing if they simply copy+paste the image to repost, or change a few things here and there. There is a huge difference on how Instagram's algo will handle a reposted (untouched image) and a reposted+ (retouched, MD5/Checksum changed image).