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Have you ever wondered whether or not hashtags really make a difference when it comes to your Instagram Stories? Experts claim that including hashtags in your stories will further expand your reach, boost your engagement, and gain more traction on Instagram than if you were to exclude hashtags from your content.

At Repurpose House, we set out to test this theory.

We recently conducted three different hashtag tests to determine whether including hashtags would increase the reach of Instagram Stories. Here are the results: 

Test #1: Using the same video cut into different stories

For the first test, which we conducted on a Saturday, we created multiple Instagram Stories to test how using hashtags affect the traction of different posts. We used the following hashtags: #marketing #contentmarketing #marketingtips #marketingsocial #marketingdigital #emailheadlines #contentcoalition.

We used different ways to use hashtags on each stories. Here’s what we did:

  • On the first story, we did not include any hashtags.
  • On the second story, we hid the hashtag so that it is not visible by using a white font and placing it over a white part of  the video.
  • On the third story, we made the hashtag visible and larger to test whether the size of the hashtag matters when it comes to traction as well. 
  • On the fourth story, we made the hashtag visible, but we kept it small. 
  • We then proceeded to hide the hashtags on stories 5-8.

The results of the first test found that the most views came from the first story which did not include any hashtags. This led us to hypothesize that the first story received the most reach because it is the first thing that people see when they look at our set, and it is likely that after viewing this first story, they skip the rest of the set.

For our second attempt at this test, which we conducted on a Sunday, we tried a similar approach using the following hashtags: #marketing #contentmarketing #marketingtips #marketingsocial #marketing digital #digitalmarketing #loom. Here’s what we did this time: 

  • the first story had no hashtags
  • the second story had hidden hashtags
  • the third story had big visible hashtags
  • the fourth story had small visible hashtags
  • and the rest of the frames had no hashtags

We found that we had the most reach on frames the first, second, and last story. This result supports our idea that the increase in reach was due to the first story being the very first thing that viewers see, and we noted that while there was likely a glitch for why frame six received a decent amount of reach, most people skipped the video after the first or second story.

Test #2: Using a different video per story

For our second test, we tried testing out hashtags on three separate stories rather than posting a segmented video. 

We posted one story, and we tried posting on different days at the same time each day to maintain consistency. The hashtags we used were #marketing #contentmarketing #marketingtips #marketingsocial #marketingdigital #digitalmarketing #captions. Here’s what we found out: 

  •  The first story, where we used no hashtags, had the most reach (19)
  •  The story with the least reach (8) also included no hashtags.

This lets us know that regardless of the hashtags used, the first story that viewers see is going to get the most reach, and the last image will get the least.

From this second test, we learned that the inclusion of a hashtag does not matter when it comes to increasing reach.

Test #3: Using hashtags on Facebook Stories

For our third test, we decided to test our hypothesis using Facebook as well instead of just using Instagram like our previous two tests.

We posted a video again using the following hashtags: #marketing #contentmarketing #marketingtips #marketingsocial #marketingdigital #digitalmarketing.

We found that on both Instagram and Facebook, the stories that received the greatest reach, regardless of date or time posted, were the first story whether it has a visible hashtag or no hashtags at all.

This further cemented the idea that the use of hashtags does not increase reach on either Instagram or Facebook stories.

What these test results mean for Instagram marketers

As seen in our tests, the incorporation of hashtags does not have an influence on the reach of Instagram Stories.

This means that instead of focusing on the best way to include visible hashtags, marketers should instead focus on the best way to create a good first impression in their stories. Users will care more about the content that is being presented in the first few seconds or frames of a video than they will a hashtag.

As such, marketers need to prioritize creating high-quality content that work when making video content for Instagram Stories. 

Making video content is time consuming, especially if you plan on consistently posting through your Instagram Stories. If you’re finding new ways to improve your reach, going back to your old content and making them fresh through repurposing is one of the smarter ways to content creation.

Repurposing old videos, blogs, and podcasts to optimize them for Instagram Stories is a sure fire way to make your presence known to your potential audiences. Learn more about other actionable tips and strategies on creating content by scheduling a chat with us.

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Shaina Weisinger


Shaina Weisinger is the founder and CEO of Repurpose House, which turns your content into unlimited videos and images. Shaina is on a mission to show content creators the untapped potential and repurposing power of the content they already have. Shaina loves to laugh loudly, be obnoxiously competitive on the volleyball court, treat her dogs as her kin, and recover from tripping on or running into almost everything within a five-foot radius.