Like them or hate them, it seems like hashtags are here to stay. That’s because, based on the latest millennial trends, social media—the realm where hashtags live—is the preferred communication platform of this generation group. About 90% of millennials use social media not just to connect with their social network but also to get news, engage with brands, and even express their sentiments.
We’ve organized these hashtag statistics according to social media platforms to make it easier for you to jump right where you want to focus your marketing efforts. We’ve also added some interesting facts and studies to further satisfy your hashtag curiosity.
Hashtags Statistics Table of Contents
Fun Facts & Trivia
Did you know that although the hashtag saw its birth on Twitter, the social network company wasn’t big on the idea at first? Also, if you want to impress all your nerd friends, you should call the hashtag by its technically correct name—Octothorpe. Here are more fun facts and trivia:
- Chris Messina, a web marketing specialist, is the inventor of the hashtag.
- Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, was fixing a tech issue to get Twitter back online when Messina walked into their office and made the suggestion of using the hashtag.
- The first-ever hashtag was #barcamp, sent by Messina on August 23, 2007.
- The word “hashtag” was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014.
- The hashtag is technically called “octothorpe.”
Hashtags on Twitter
For the platform that started it all, you’d expect Twitter to show more love for the hashtag. But it actually recommends a limit to the number of hashtags you use per tweet. Moreover, using hashtags on Twitter ads can be detrimental to your marketing goals.
- Tweets with hashtags can increase engagement up to 100% (2x) for individuals and 50% (1.5%) for brands.
- The hashtag sweet spot for a tweet is 1 to 2 hashtags. Tweets that follow this strategy can get up to a 21% increase in engagement.
- Tweets that use more than two hashtags experienced a 17% drop in engagement.
- Furthermore, tweets with 1-2 hashtags have a 55% higher chance of getting retweeted.
- Based on Twitter’s research, ads that don’t contain hashtags get 23% more clicks.
Hashtag Engagement on Twitter
for tweets with 1-2 hashtags
Source: TwitterCreated by CompareCamp.com
Now let’s take a look at some of the hashtag records and all-time favorites:
- The average hashtags tweeted daily is 125 million.
- The most-tweeted TV hashtag is #TheWalkingDead.
- The most-tweeted movie hashtag is #StarWars.
- The most tweeted about sports league is #NFL.
- The most-tweeted gaming hashtag is #トレクル.
- The hashtag #NowPlaying (or #np) has been tweeted more than 1 billion times.
- The hashtag #FollowFriday has been used more than half a billion times.
Lastly, here are the top hashtags on Twitter so far in 2020:
- In order of ranking: #followback, #funny, #photography, #pets, #friends, #love, #photooftheday, #picoftheday, #style, #fashion, #food, and #travel.
Hashtags on Instagram
Compared to Twitter, Instagram gives you more leeway to include hashtags on your posts. In fact, it allows up to 30 hashtags! But before you go crazy on your #s, check out these stats to learn what are the best practices when using hashtags on this platform.
- Posts with at least one hashtag get 29% more interactions (for profiles with 1,000 or fewer Instagram followers).
- Posts with 11+ hashtags have the highest interactions with 79.5% (for profiles with 1,000 or fewer followers).
- Longer hashtags that have between 21 and 24 characters outperform shorter ones.
- 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags.
Hashtags Engagement on Instagram
(for profiles with 1,000 or fewer followers)
Source: Sticky ContentCreated by CompareCamp.com
Aside from the number of hashtags you use, the engagement rate of posts is also dependent on a combination of factors, such as where you place your hashtags and the size of your Instagram account. Data shows that for small- to medium-sized profiles, placing hashtags in the caption gives them more engagement, while the same strategy results in the exact opposite for large Instagram profiles.
- With hashtags placed in the caption, profiles with under 5,000 followers received an average of 36.85% more reach rate per post; profiles with 5k-10k followers received 20.9%; profiles with 10k-50k followers received 21.47%, and profiles with 50k-100k followers received an average of 21.43% more reach per post.
- Profiles with more than 100k followers received an average of 15.9% more reach per post for posts that placed hashtags in the first comment compared to 14.8% for posts with hashtags placed in the caption.
- 87.7% of accounts prefer to use hashtags in the caption compared to 12.3% who place them in comments.
- An overwhelming majority of posts, 93.8%, include hashtags in the caption, vs. 6.2%, that included them in comments.
Source: Social Insider
Setting marketing and engagement strategies aside, here are the top hashtags on Instagram:
- Top 10 hashtags for 2020 in order of ranking: #gym, #summer, #workout, #autumn, #model, #instapic, #happiness, #motivation, #life, and #cool
- Top 10 hashtags of all time in order of ranking: #love, #instagood, #photooftheday, #fashion, #beautiful, #like4like, #picoftheday, #art, #happy, and #photography
Hashtags on Facebook
Unlike on Twitter and Instagram, there’s a lot of debate around the effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook. The social network itself has remained mum about the question, so if you’re a marketer, you’re pretty much left to experiment on your own. After rummaging through available reports from 2013 to 2019, here are some best practices we found out:
- Use a “less is more” approach. Too many hashtags can make your post look spammy and annoying.
- Posts with only one hashtag received the highest engagement with an average of 593 engagements per post; posts with 3 to 5 hashtags got 416; posts with 6 to 10 got 307; posts with more than 10 hashtags got the lowest average engagement per post with 188.
- Hashtags can be useful when positioning a campaign. Make sure to make your Facebook post public so even non-followers of your page can see your post with hashtags.
Hashtags on Google+
Google+ is probably the most unexplored and untargeted platform when it comes to hashtags. Hashtags on Google+ don’t work quite the same compared to other social networks. Instead of pulling up results containing the exact hashtag you searched for, Google+ presents trending and related hashtags. While this approach may not be the greatest when it comes to curating relevant content, it can be an excellent strategy for marketers to discover extra opportunities for content creation and engagement.
- Limit your hashtags between 3 to 4 to avoid distracting your audience from your content.
- Since search results are related hashtags, use descriptive hashtags to widen your audience reach and increase your chances of appearing in related feeds (i.e. “#marketingtips” instead of “#marketing”)
- Use hashtags on images, videos, infographics, etc. so they can be indexed and suggested to other users as “related” whenever they’re searching the platform.
Bonus Statistics: Most Influential Hashtags
The power of a timely and unique hashtag is not only in the hands of businesses. Here are some of the most influential hashtags that span advocacies, communities, and global affairs.
- #MeToo – used more than 19 million times since it was first tweeted by Alyssa Milano on October 15, 2017, to bring attention to the deep roots of sexual harassment and abuse in society.
- #IceBucketChallenge – used 6,200,000 times. The hashtag was first used in July 2014 when the ALS Association launched a fundraising campaign for the disease. The challenge raised more than $115 million.
- #BlackLivesMatter – used 12,000,000 times. The movement started on July 13, 2013, to campaign against systemic racism and violence against black people.
- #Sandy – used 7,200,000 times. The hashtag was used in late 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the US. Scientists also used the hashtag to rapidly assess damage and aid in disaster response.
- #PrayforJapan – used 4,000,000 times. This was in connection to the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. The disaster killed almost 2,000 people.
- #LoveWins – used 12,800,000 times; this hashtag took social media platforms by storm on June 26, 2015, after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage.
- #Ferguson – used 27,200,000 times. This hashtag is connected to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the Michael Brown police shooting on August 9, 2014.
Source: Washington Post
To # Or Not to #
We’ve laid down the numbers and presented the data on hashtags, so what can they tell us about this symbol that has become second nature to social media users? Perhaps, moderation is key to success?
Looking at the statistics, we can see that hashtagging for hashtagging’s sake can be detrimental to your marketing objectives. Twitter, Google+, and Facebook are clear examples. Though Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags in one post, we also learned that there’s an ideal hashtag bracket where your posts can get optimal interactions.
On the flip side, if you’re able to use hashtags wisely in your social media strategy, good things are bound to happen. You can not only secure more engagement for your brand but also network with the right people and businesses for opportunities. We’ve also seen the influence hashtags can have on mobilizing people and launching globally successful campaigns, fundraisers, and advocacies.
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