Stephen Travers Art

Things I’ve Learnt About Hashtags #2

Stephen TraversComment

Choose the ‘Right Sized’ Tags


When I first started posting on Instagram, I didn’t realise that hashtags came in different sizes.  Or that it mattered. It’s probably easiest to look at this with some example tags.   Use the Magnifying Glass icon and select Tags from the four options at the top.


If we type in these five tags:


Sketch’ has been used 88.1M times.

Sketchy has been used 1M times.

Sketch daily has been used 877K times

Sketch Architecture had been used 12.8K times

Sketch Buildings has been used 20 times


So which to use?  The most popular ones, surely.  Maybe not.  Probably not.


We want our posts to appear on the Top Post page as close to the top as possible.  Then people who don’t know our account exists can see our post, and hopefully follow us.  But if that tag has been posted to over 88M times, the competition to get into the top 9 spots is pretty fierce.  And you want to stay there for as long as possible. If we post to the tag used only 20 times, we have an excellent chance of being in the top 9 and staying there a while – but how many people are going to be searching that tag? 


It’s a trade-off.  And it’s obviously also bound up with the mysteries of the algorithm.


But my experience is to choose the tags with the highest usage where your post can sometimes appear in the top 10-20 posts for at least a few hours after you post. You have to monitor how the tags are working for you at least some of the time.  Where does your post appear (if at all) in the Top Posts?  I started using tags around the 50 – 300K count.  When I began to appear in the Top Posts consistently for these tags, I changed to tags with a higher usage count.  Now I aim for 300K – 2M most of the time, but occasionally go outside this in either direction. I think of this range as my tag ‘sweet-spot’.  When I monitor tags, I give preference to ones I haven’t tried before, and the ones with the largest usage count. I always wait an hour after posting until I look.


But remember that some niche tags with a relatively low usage count may actually generate a much higher level of interest in your work than a much larger, more general tag.


What’s your experience?


Maybe we should all start posting to #sketchbuildings


If the tags I use keep changing, I will need a wide (but relevant) supply of them.  Next Blog I’ll share some of the ways I find new tags.

This is the spot we want - highlighted in the Tag title.

This is the spot we want - highlighted in the Tag title.

This was a good day - the first spot in a 3.5M tag. And a rare day.

This was a good day - the first spot in a 3.5M tag. And a rare day.