Should you really use only 3-5 hashtags? The ultimate analysis *in-depth research* and the TRUTH about the update

3-5 hashtags or 30 hashtags how many hashtags should i use

Raise your hand if you have a love-hate relationship with Instagram updates!

Juggling content creation, keeping up with the news, reading @creators’ and Adam Mosseri’s insights, engaging with your audience, and polishing your hashtag strategy is a lot to handle all at once and can take a massive toll on your general motivation. And your motivation, along with the feeling of being on the right track are essential during these stressful social media times! Instagram news can create a roller coaster of emotions – from watching funny reels, and deciding you’re gonna make them a part of your strategy to getting overwhelmed with unrealistic productivity, and constant content creation expectations. 

Life happens – we’ve checked ourselves, and we know it from regular talks with you as well. Sometimes reading about updates, and official insights can feel REALLY overwhelming when you don’t have anyone to help you interpret the news you have to face. Let’s be entirely honest: the real Instagram problem, for many years now, is organic growth for the average creator. If you post and you don’t get exposure, you’re feeling down, and you start questioning everything. It gets even worse when the official source of Instagram insights keeps messing with your head and delivers conflicting opinions on what you should do to succeed on the platform and notice quicker growth. 

You probably know what we’re trying to say… Did you catch the recent @creators announcement? IS IT STRESSING YOU OUT? 

Yup. @creators have shared some SURPRISING news about how hashtags should be used from now on. It has made so many of us confused! A few months ago they told us to use 30, then 15… And now 3-5?! We’ve heard many creators complain that nothing makes sense anymore.

That’s why today we’re breaking down their pieces of advice, and what these insights mean for you and your hashtag strategy. 



Let’s go! Today we’ll discuss in detail:

  • Has Instagram REALLY REVEALED how to use hashtags for growth?
  • Should you apply the new hashtag rules?
  • Is it true that you shouldn’t use more than 5 hashtags?!
  • How to interpret @creators’ words in practice?
  • Should you modify your hashtag strategy, or maybe it’s still completely fine?
  • How to find the most relevant hashtags to see REAL results?
  • Is using 3-5 hashtags any better than using 30 relevant ones?
  • What’s the most optimal number of hashtags? 

Let’s have the BIG hashtag announcement explained! Ready to dive deeper into what Creators’ words mean in practice? Let’s do it! 


Instagram Guide how to grow on instagram 2021

Do hashtags still work in 2021?

First of all: let’s answer the question that’s on everyone’s lipsdo hashtags still help you gain better visibility in 2021? Are they still the main factor of the successful Instagram strategy?

They SURELY are. 

It’s an extremely helpful classification system – that’s why hashtags are crucial, and we’re 101% sure they are here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future. Polished, interesting posts without hashtags are like a Tesla that doesn’t leave the garage. Stats don’t lie – use relevant hashtags that are already gaining traffic and use them to your advantage. 


What did Instagram mean by saying you should use 3-5 hashtags? How to interpret these words? Is using 30 hashtags every time you post still making sense?

We realize that the Creator’s post left so many of you EXTREMELY confused, so we need to give you clear insights!

We believe that we shouldn’t interpret their words too literally, and what they’re trying to say is that we all should focus on the specificity and relevancy of the hashtags we choose to post and avoid random hashtags.

We mean: taking the insights from creators’ posts too literally wouldn’t make sense! 

It would be such a waste of hashtags’ potential to use only 3-5 ones every time you post because there are so many great, niched hashtags that users are actually browsing or following. And what’s more, there’s no logic in saying that 3-5 hashtags can be more effective than 25-30. The more hashtags we use, the more people we reach = more chances that new users from our target audience find our content. 

We would need to ask Instagram: why allow so many hashtags if you don’t want us to use that many? Why even have a 30 hashtags limit if 3-5 is the optimal number, and that’s enough? Your 29th hashtag might be the golden one: we shouldn’t give it up! 

That’s why we’re absolutely sure that what they truly meant is that we should all focus on SUPER RELEVANT hashtags and avoid random ones, picked just for the sake of posting 30 ones.

Rule number one: It’s not about the numbers. It’s all about relevancy.

So let’s clarify: using 30 relevant hashtags is still the best way to increase your reach and attract new followers from your target audience. Why? Each hashtag is an opportunity to reach a wholly different group of users. 

If all your 30 hashtags are relevant, using so many ones is still a way to go!

We’ve worked with thousands of clients, analyzed their Instagram strategies, and tested various solutions, and we have to say: 30 relevant hashtags give the highest reach. All our clients are using up to 30 well-tailored, targeted hashtags on EACH post, and their engagement is increasing + it’s maximizing their organic reach. 

Instagram is trying to encourage us to be MORE SPECIFIC in categorizing our posts, and decrease hashtag spamming, but it doesn’t mean we should give up on taking our chances to reach more users from our TA (target audience). It just means we should pay more attention to choosing BETTER, more targeted ones.

Relevant hashtags – what are they, how to recognize, and find the best fits?

Relevant hashtags are those that accurately describe your post, your niche, and your target audience’s needs. As long as you choose the hashtags that are a conscious pick and have something to do with your content: don’t hesitate to use them!

If you’re struggling to find good ones (because yup, we hear creators complain that they don’t know which hashtags to pick, or they are not really sure if the ones they’re considering are relevant enough, all the time): make your Instagram life easier and trust one of the comprehensive tools for hashtag research. They will give you the clear answers and find effective hashtag sets just for your profile and its niche. Can we recommend a good one? We find IQ Hashtags with its Hashtag Search feature unquestionably game-changing, so try it for yourself. Spoiler: you won’t go back to manual research after trying it, we swear. 

A key point here is that too many people are just lazy. Instead of researching targeted hashtags, they post the random ones like #love #like4like, #postfortoday and expect higher reach. Don’t make the same mistake – good research ALWAYS pays off (double yes, that’s our forever mantra).



There’s a hashtag for everything. Yet, not every hashtag attracts your ideal followers – and we should focus on the ones that do! That’s the best key takeaway from today’s article, we guess. Please keep it in mind!

Instagram Guide how to grow on instagram 2021

Have questions about polishing your hashtag strategy? Leave a comment below, and we will make sure to address it in one of our upcoming blog posts! To all of you trying to grow your Instagram: it’s worth it, and it’s possible. Don’t get discouraged!