Instagram is testing ways to make hashtags more valuable by tweaking how the top posts on hashtag pages rank.
Now, more current and timely content will be featured in the top hashtags curated section.
Previously, recent content was separated into its own tab. This means that the ‘Top’ section may include content that was published weeks or months ago.
Instagram is removing the “Recent” tab as users can now find newer content in the “Top” tab. The Reels tab will remain unchanged.
The company hopes these changes will make hashtags more valuable to users, which presumably will be determined by a measurable increase in engagement levels.
As we’ll touch on later, studies show that Instagram hashtags don’t have much effect on engagement. Will changing how the top posts are ranked get more people to engage with the content?
First, let’s take a closer look at how to change hashtag pages.
Instagram showing more recent content on hashtag pages
In an announcement from Instagram’s communications team, the company explains what has changed and why:
“We’re trying some new things to make hashtags as valuable as possible for people. A few weeks ago we rolled out Destinations that help connect people with more information about social causes, and now we’re going to try something new.
For a small group, we test newer and timely content in the “Top” and “Reels” tabs in hashtags, and remove the “Recent” tab. We want to see if this helps people connect with more interesting and relevant content on hashtags, while also keeping them across what’s fresh. “
Instagram shares an example of what the new hashtag pages look like.
As you can see, it looks exactly the same without the Recent tab.
Streamlined hashtag pages are designed to help users find trending content at the right time, too.
With the legacy design, you can see high-quality content that may or may not be out of date, or recent content that may or may not be of quality.
You will now find high quality recent content when searching for a hashtag.
Time will tell if this test produces the results that Instagram is looking for.
Currently, there is no strong argument for using hashtags on Instagram based on the value they provide.
Instagram may be blogging about studies like the one shown in the section below.
The study found that Instagram hashtags do not increase engagement
Social Insider They analyzed more than 75 million Instagram posts published over the past year to determine the relationship between hashtags and views.
The study concluded that there was no significant increase in the average engagement rate associated with hashtag use.
“…the number of hashtags in a post doesn’t really affect the distribution of the post, which we calculated by averaging engagement rate by impressions.
The data shows no significant differences in the average engagement rate by the number of impressions of the analyzed Instagram posts, regardless of the number of hashtags those posts contain.”
That’s more or less what Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, will tell you if you ask him about hashtags.
In fact, he answered one such question last month in an Instagram story, saying “Not really” when asked if hashtags help with views.
Due to the temporary nature of the stories, the recording is no longer available, but social media expert Matt Navarra took a screenshot:
– Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) March 17, 2022
What are hashtags on Instagram?
The purpose of hashtags on Instagram is to categorize content. There have been no claims from the company about hashtags increasing post distribution.
However, Instagram seems to want to change that.
If you stopped using Instagram hashtags because they didn’t provide any noticeable benefits, now is the time to reconsider your use of them.
Source: InstagramComms on Twitter
Featured image: Bibit Unggul / Shutterstock