Instagram hashtags in comments or caption — what is better for promotion on social media?

Julia Moore
With IG hashtags, posts are shown not only to subscribers, but to other people too. How many users see them, like and comment depends a lot on where you put the tags.

Socialinsider and Quuu analyzed 650 thousand posts and found out when Instagram hashtags in comment work better, and when you should add them in the first comment.

The research took 44 pages to be published. We’ve read them for you and summarized in a useful table. Find yourself according to the subscribers number and look on the right where to type tags, how many to add and if they should be hidden behind text. Keep reading to know why you must do so and how to hide IG tags.  

Followers (thousands)PlaceShown Tags
less than 5caption-6
5-10caption+13
10-50caption-2
50-100caption-7
100 and morefirst comment+6

Hashtags place

Reach and Engagement rates depending upon the tags’ place were studied in the research. 

Reach

90% of accounts add hashtags in the caption. It seems reasonable to save the comments section merely for the users’ rapturous, or not so much, replies. But it turned out to be not that simple in regard to promotion. Posts with Instagram hashtags in comments have higher Reach rate when it comes to accounts with more than 100 thousand subscribers.

The difference is only 1.2%. But on a large scale of hundred thousands and millions of subscribers, even it makes a difference. 1.2% of a million is 12,000 users. Even if, again, only 1.2% of them buy product at a price of 100 USD, the company gets 14,400 USD.

For pages with less than 100 thousand subscribers, on the contrary, tags in the caption work better. The difference is especially obvious in accounts with 50-100 thousand subscribers. Their posts with tags in the caption get 1.6 times higher Reach rate.

Engagement

Engagement has the opposite results for the accounts with 5-10 and more than 100 thousand subscribers. If you aim at growing precisely this rate, comment hashtags under posts of the smaller accounts. The bigger accounts will get more views, likes and comments, adding tags in the caption.

Promoting a profile in general, not just the audience engagement, focus on the Reach rate figures. They show a more significant difference.

Hidden and shown 

Tags visibility affects the Reach and Engagement. Hidden tags work better in post caption, except accounts with less than 5 thousand followers. In the first comment, on the other hand, shown hashtags give higher engagement. You can see the difference in the graphs. 

How to hide tags

Initially, 2 lines or about 15 words are displayed under a post. Write text in them, and then add tags. Thus, users will see them only after tapping “more”.

Text in the caption or comments looks more tidy if you move tags several lines below. Instagram doesn’t provide line break, you have to go to a chatting app on your phone. Type a caption or comment text, then add a couple of lines with dots, spaces or emoji. After that, type tags. Copy the text and paste on Instagram.

The number of hashtags

Adding or deleting just one tag changes the engagement results. The optimal number, like in previous cases, depends on the number of subscribers.

  • Less than 5 thousand - 6 in the caption.
  • 5-10 thousand - 13 in the caption, but 5 or 27 words in the first comment give the highest engagement.
  • 10-50 thousand - 2 in the caption.
  • 50-100 thousand - 7 in the caption.
  • More than 100 thousand - 6 in comments.

When Instagram hashtags will not work

After you’ve added a post, go to the search page and type one of the hashtags you’ve mentioned. If you see your photo or video in the Recent tab, other users also can see them.

No matter whether you put Instagram hashtags in comments or caption, your post won’t be shown on their pages in search if

  • You use prohibited tags, content of which encourages harmful behavior. The social network doesn’t give a concrete list of the words, only mentions the limits applied to them. The tags either can’t be found in search or have the message - We’ve hidden posts for the tag - on their page in search.
  • Most of the content is against the terms of use. Showing of such photos and videos are limited, there are no Top and Recent tabs on the search page. Instead, you will see the message - Recent posts for the tag are hidden.
  • Your account is private. Make sure your profile is open for all users. Otherwise, the content will be shown in search results only to your subscribers.
  • Tag was typed by another user in the comments. Hashtag should be added by the author to make a post visible on its search page.

The bottom line

Even with the research data, we still have questions to be answered. For example, how IG algorithms work when users add Instagram hashtags in comments and post caption concurrently. Some conclusions can be made now, though. For the highest Reach and Engagement, use information in the table at the beginning of the article according to the number of your subscribers.

IG algorithms are changing all the time. They may be different now from those in the 2018-2019, when the research was conducted. Experiment to find your own magical number of hashtags and their location. Or bookmark our article and stay tuned.

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Where do you usually put hashtags - in comments or post caption?