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Instagram hashtags: Should you put them in the caption or in the comments?

There are rumors and personal preferences:

  • Is it normal to keep the hashtags the caption?
  • Why do people put their hashtags in the comments?
  • Do you get more engagement if you put hashtags in the caption or comments?
  • Do you get shadowbanned if you put them in the comments?

Can we once and for all put this debate to rest?

As far as we know, Instagram itself has not revealed how the algorithm works and has not made a statement about hashtags.

So the best way to answer these questions is by asking Instagrammers themselves – YOU!

A few days ago, we asked you on Instagram to share your personal and professional experience. We made a post on our feed and did polls in our Insta Stories.

So what is the consensus?  Insta Story poll results:

Where do you put your hashtags?

  • 30% of you put the them in the comments
  • 70% put the hashtags in the captions

In your experience, do you get more engagement depending on where you put your hashtags?

  • 40% said yes
  • 60% said no

If yes, where do you get more engagement:

  • 70% said in the caption
  • 30% said comments

Interesting, right?

Let’s go into more details.

Let’s have a look at the comments on our post. There are more than 200 comments so we selected as many as possible to feature on this blog post.

This is how we split the rest of the blog post:

  • See what Team “hashtags in the comments” says
  • See what Team “hashtags in the caption” says
  • See what Team “both in the caption and comments” says
  • See our personal thoughts and experience (+ concluding tips)

All comments are very interesting and give a good perspective on the pros and cons for each.

Team “Instagram hashtags in the comments”

Quick summary: Most people put their hashtags in the comments because they want to keep their captions “clean”. They found  that it didn’t matter where they put their hashtags, so the comments section is their preferred option in order to keep their captions “clean”.

Flippingthruthepages: I don’t see any particular difference [between between putting them in the caption or comments]. I usually put them in comments so that my post looks neater.

Renscribbles: I am leaving the caption neat so followers don’t get annoyed with too much hashtags. So I put them along together with the comments.

Allofthesefoods: I put them in the comments because I think they detract attention from what I’m trying to say!

Therealbgjimy: In the comment because why would I burn the eyes of my followers with 30 hashtags 😂

Labelle.miche: In the comments it’s looks cleaner.

Abayaandheels: I put them in comments for aesthetic reason! I don’t like to see them under the pict! But that’s the only reason.

Ainaazweerahussin: In first comment because you can spare for long caption and not look messy mix each other. And if I don’t have any idea for caption I will put hashtag at caption.

13reanna13aker: Having a huge list of hashtags in the caption can be a visual distraction. To increase user-experience, put them in the comments. The post will still be searchable by hashtags & people are more likely to comment on posts that already show a number of comments. Even though it’s not a “real” comment, it’s a good welcoming signal to draw in those first few comments. I’ve even had people reply to the hashtag list comment!

Mich.elle.imagery: I’ve been putting mine in comments ever since I learned about hashtags. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but I do it so that when someone taps on “more” in my caption they’re not distracted by a block of hashtags!🖤✨

The.vidzmak: I agree with @mich.elle.imagery 😊 I don’t want my followers to get frustrated with that whole bundle of hashtags. According to me, it doesn’t make any difference because even if I put those in comments, it gets a good number of impressions… Sometimes 19 or so… According to the hashtags I use.

Liveloveruntravel: I have been splitting them into a few comments and was going really well with it. My posts were seen by anywhere from 20-40% of people who weren’t following me. Then about a week and a half ago it dropped. Maybe 10-40 people were seeing them from hashtags. Yesterday I put them all together in one comment and I seemed to get a lot more immediate engagement although it still hasn’t been seen by that many people from hashtags. I may try the caption just to see if it makes a difference.

Americatru: I heard different things and I put it to the test. It doesn’t matter where I put them but it did matter how many I used. Recently a big influencer said a handful is enough…. I had more follows when I used 20+ tags and put them on comments

_olivia_fga: During a long time I posted in the comment section. Now I try to put them in the caption (since 3-4 weeks) and I lose 30% of my engagement !

Lemon.orange.lime: It doesn’t matter! 😉 I prefer to put them in the comments so they don’t clutter the content I share with my followers. Just make sure to put them right after you post a new pic! 😄😊😊😊

Rootingforyousocial: In a comment MOMENTS after I’ve posted the photo! 🤙🏻🌴✨

Ashton.p.hall: Definitely better engagement in the caption, but it looks way too messy so I always put them in the comments.

Hmmm… interesting this last comment about engagement… Let’s look at what team “caption” has to say.

Team “Instagram hashtags in the caption”

Quick summary: Most people put their hashtags in the caption because they get more engagement OR they want to avoid the “Instagram shadowban”. People who put hashtags in the caption also like to separate the hashtags from the rest of the caption by using full stops (keep scrolling to see some examples).

Gusgusinthecity: I’ve heard that you should put them in the caption but I don’t really know what’s true anymore!!! but that’s what I do.

Jaimesays: Better engagement when I put them in the caption.

Darius.velasquez: I’ve noticed on my business page higher engagements within the first hour if I leave hashtags in the caption when I post rather than editing it after officially posting

Ashton.p.hall: Definitely better engagement in the caption, but it looks way too messy so I always put them in the comments.

Min0ribiy0ri: I tried hashtags in the comments but had a significant drop in likes. I put it back in the caption and likes went back to normal.

Endee.hq: Personally I have noticed that no hashtags in caption and all in comments got me way way less engagement.. Dividing fairly between the two got me little better numbers than the first, but ALL tags in captions get the highest engagement always.

Danielleplgmkrs: I #always use #hashtags #organic in my #writing. Plus add some more in the end.

thingsamiloves: I personally don’t like putting in the comments because I want my comments to really be the section for my viewers to comment

Tegan_d: I always use hashtags in the caption section so that I can add them or edit them as time goes on. I don’t think i can edit them in the comments.

Medleythink: I tried both and did not see any difference in engagement. On the other hand from visual side I prefer having them in caption divided by several dots because they feel distracting in comments.

Nordiccopperdesign: I’ve tried both. At first I had them in the first comment. Neater look and better for posting automatically to FB. As engagement has dropped, I’ve experimented with leaving them in the caption. I don’t notice any difference. It’s most of all the image that determines engagement.

Katfishcreations: I’ve always added Hashtags with the post. Anytime I’ve ever tried to make a comment after posting, Instagram does not allow me to do that. I don’t know why I’m not allowed to make a comment on my posts.

Some people noticed their account got shadowbanned if they put hashtags in the comments:

Momtimenow: Caption. I had a client who used hashtags in comments and she’s shadowbanned

Bridgettharrison_hair_mua: When I learned about putting hashtags in the comments I did it with both of my accounts. Now with both accounts I was placed in the top on the explore page also my likes totally went up. Then on my personal page I started to notice I wasn’t getting any engagement and after researching I found out my page had been shadow banned 😖. Now at the same time my business page wasn’t having any issues. To be on the safe side I started back putting my comments in my caption. It took about two months for the shadowban to go away.

Some people like to make their caption look “cleaner” by adding a space between the actual caption and the hashtags. To do that, they use full stops / dots, like this:

Suebzimmerman: On my biz acct @theinstagramexpert I put in caption and use cleaver spacing techniques so they don’t distract from Instagram lesson I teach.

Hobbycraftiness23: I put them 8 space after the caption, it looks more clean that way.

Farmhouse.knits: So glad you are going to address this issue! Right now I put them 5 dots down below my caption.

Thenaturarian: I separate the # with a few emojis or dots at the bottom of my caption. One thing I don’t like is when folks use #tags within their actual #caption. Annoying. However, I like seeing them at the bottom of the caption, because it tells me more about the photo.

Marlen_maladroit: I put them in the caption. But I seperate them from my text with dots. So they appear way more down and aren’t seen if you not click on “see more”. I think it looks better if the post is not full with hashtags. But i never tried to put them in the comments. I’m not sure if this would make a difference 🤔

tashaswayoflifeI add my comments to the caption (after I post/share to FB). I prefer it in the caption in case I want to edit/add anything. I do it like this so it doesn’t look jumbled with the actual caption. 👇🏼 .
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#tashaswayoflife

Team “both”

Paulannys: For the longest time, I’ve been putting them in the comments and lately I’ve changed it up a bit: started putting them directly in the caption. I see no difference 😆😆😂

The_savvy_stylist_sydney: I put my main hashtags in the comments and the one’s relating to the image on the caption.

Silviagrim: I put a few super-relevant in the caption and more generic ones in the first comment

Angelemaire: Very interesting question. I guess the sooner you post #s, the higher will be the level of engagement. I usually post in my captions 😊 But I can see a lot of users who share them as their comment and they do get a high level of engagement too.

Monicamarielo: I’ve noticed an increase of engagement when in the caption, however, I do like the way the look in the comment section SO much better. It’s a toss up really 😕

So which one is better?

The rumors

The rumors are against Instagram hashtags in the comments:

  • The new Instagram algorithm penalizes accounts that put hashtags in the comments
  • You get less engagement if you put hashtags in the comments
  • Your account can get shadowbanned if you put hashtags in the comments

What is our experiment telling us?

  • There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong
  • Instagram has not given a statement about this hashtag situation
  • Obviously, it’s impossible to know the truth at this stage
  • It looks like it depends on YOUR account

It’s good news for you!!

Keep reading.

Our experience and thoughts?

Here’s the thing: we used to put hashtags in the comments because it was “neater”.

However last year, something happened: our account got shadowbanned (WH-WH-WHAAAT?).

After doing some research AND testing things out, we resorted to leaving the hashtags in our caption.

Result?

We reached more people than usual and our engagement went up. Ah! So since then, we haven’t looked back.

Now, we’re not saying that the caption is the best place to put YOUR hashtags – because obviously putting hashtags in the comments seem to work for a LOT of people.

So what can you do?

We think you need to test it yourself (sorry! It’s probably not the answer you were hoping for, but there’s no point starting new hashtag rumors).

Here is what we suggest:

  • Try for a week to put your hashtags in the comments and analyze what’s going on (more likes? Comments? Engagement? Followers?).
  • Check if your account gets shadowbanned
  • And the following week, leave your hashtags in the caption and analyze again what’s going on
  • Check again if your account gets shadowbanned

If both of these options work out for you: choose the one you prefer.

 

Moral of the story?

Don’t stress out about where to put your hashtags because it doesn’t seem like there is a “right” or “wrong” way.
You need to try it out for yourself.

We’ll let you know if we find new information about this hashtag debate.

If you find more evidence, or want to share YOUR experience, please share it in the comments below.

Until next time, see you all on Instagram!

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