I think you will agree with me when I say, Hashtags are a key component to getting your images seen on Instagram but it isn’t always clear which are the best hashtags to use for each image.
There are more tools than ever to help research and generate hashtags for Instagram. However, knowing which is the best one to use hasn’t always been easy.
This blog post (and video) reviews all the top hashtag generation tools available and will let you know when to use each.
Experienced Instagram users will have common hashtags they use on every photo and hashtags that will be unique to the photo based on what is in the photo. For each of these types of hashtags there are different tools available:
- Instagram Hashtag Research Tools - Where you manually enter a hashtag, keyword or location to find hashtags. Good for finding common hashtags.
- Instagram Hashtag Generators - Where you upload an image and AI algorithms are used to suggest hashtags based on the contents of the image. Good for finding hashtags for a specific image.
Top 5 Instagram hashtag Tools Video
Here is a short walk through video where I demo 5 of the 13 tools reviewed below.
Instagram Hashtag Research Tools
This table shows the top 7 Instagram Hashtag Research tools available in 2018. With more details and test results below.
|1||Display Purposes||Website||Free||- Searches for hashtag based on keyword
- Mapped hashtags
- Hashtag related graph
|2||Focal Mark||iOS, Android||Free with paid upgrades||- Human collected hashtags
- Algorithm suggests different hashtags based on your number of followers
|3||Leetags||iOS, Android||Free||- Searches for hashtag based on keyword
- Lists of popular tags by category
- Favorite hashtag lists
|4||All Hashtags||Website||Free||- Hashtags for both instagram and twitter
- Recent popular hashtags
|5||Instagram Tags||Website||Free||- Lists of popular tags by category|
|6||Social Hashtags||Android||Free version pay to remove ads||- Instagram tags by category in different languages|
|7||Hashtags||Android||Free version pay to remove ads||- Very simple to use|
Note: I reviewed MANY, MANY other apps and websites but only included a tool if it provided unique features or is very popular. If your favorite hashtag research app is not on the list please contact me and let me know why and I would love to review and consider adding it.
Below are details of the features, advantages and disadvantages of each of these hashtag research tools. For the tests, I used “Vancouver” as a keyword to find hashtags and reviewed the “Travel” hashtags categories for lists. Screenshots show the results of my tests.
#1. Display Purposes - Website
Display purposes is my favorite hashtag research tool because it is simple to use and has a different algorithm than most of the research tools. If you type in a hashtag, it will look which other hashtags are often used with the one you entered. My experience is this approach returns much better results than other tools.
Below are examples for Vancouver, notice how it finds hashtags that don’t contain Vancouver in the name at all like #explorebc which is a good hashtag for travel photos in British Columbia, Canada.
There is also a mapping feature which is great if you are looking for location specific hashtags like when hashtagging vacation photos:
Lastly, there is a graph feature that allows you to search through the hashtag database by clicking different hashtags, this is a cool way to explore hashtags but can be time consuming so you probably wouldn’t want to do this for every image you post.
Overall this is the best stand alone hashtag research tool available today.
Focal mark is the only tool in the list that includes human generated lists. Also, the algorithm takes the numbers of followers of an account when suggesting hashtags. This creates a unique list of hashtags that you may not find in other tools. Below is an example for travel and Vancouver.
However, a downside of this app is that it isn’t possible to enter hashtags to search on, which is understandable given a human needs to create the lists, but if your photo doesn’t fit into one of the premade categories then you are out of luck. So, you will most likely use this app in conjunction with a searchable site like Display purposes.
Leetags is available for both IOs and Android and is a good way to find and store lists of tags you commonly use on your phone. The tags it suggests are based tags commonly used with the hashtag you are researching so it is a good way to find similar tags.
Even if you are using other tools to find you hashtags, Leetags is a good way to store lists of tags easily accessible on your phone and better organized then using a note or other text editor app to access them when posting. Screenshots of the three main areas of the app below:
#4. All Hashtags - Website
All hashtags is top generator according to Google and was one of the first Hashtag generators but hasn’t been updated recently and is riddled with ads. It will return hashtags that are used on both twitter and Instagram but only if it has the keyword you enter in the hashtag, for example, when I enter Vancouver the results are shown below
There is one cool feature that shows you the top hashtags of today, last 7 days, last month or all time. This can be useful to find new hashtag that are popular recently, see below:
#5 Instagram Tags - Website
This isn’t a site you will use every day but when you are first getting started it can be very useful to find popular hashtags for your photo genre. The site has many categories to choose from that will show you the most popular tags for that category. For example, for travel the most popular hashtags these days are:
#travel #traveling #vacation #visiting #instatravel #instago #instagood #trip #holiday #photooftheday #fun #travelling #tourism #tourist #instapassport #instatraveling #mytravelgram #travelgram #travelingram #igtravel
This is a good way to find some common very popular tags to include in your photos but won’t help you for specific tags.
#6 - Social Hashtags - Android
Social hashtags is one of the most popular hashtagging programs on Android with 500,000+ installs and a 4.6 stars on over 8000 reviews. It is difficult to understand why because the keyword search only looks at hashtags that contain the keyword and the category suggestions don’t seem better than other tools. The free version is has a lot of with ads but you can pay a couple of bucks to remove the ads.
The one unique feature with social hashtags is the ability to show lists of hashtags in different languages, currently they support English, Russian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese and Turkish. This could be a useful feature if you were targeting IGers in those countries.
#7 - HashTags - Android
Hashtags has 1,000,000+ installs and an average review of 4.4 stars but that is about all it has going for it. The interface is very simple but it is primarily due to lack of features. It only shows some common hashtags based on category. Hopefully the 15 seconds you spend reading this will save your the minute needed to install and realize it isn’t as useful as other apps listed above.
Instagram Hashtag Generators
Full disclosure, at Photerloo we have worked hard to create the best Instagram Hashtag Generator for photographers, and in doing so we did a lot of research on all the available tools.
For this test I uploaded the exact same photo to all the tools so you can also decide for yourself which hashtags are the most relevant. I used a sunrise selfie for the test..
Below is the ranking for all the tools, scroll further to see the tool details and test results.
|1||Photerloo Instagram Hashtag Generator||Website||Free||- Very accurate hashtags based on multiple keywords
- Machine learning algorithm that keeps improving over time
- Separate lists based on hashtag popularity
- Also provides keywords for photographers
|2||IMH Hashtag Generator||Website||Free||- Can choose which keywords to use to generate hashtags|
|3||Big Bangram||Website||Free||- Large number of hashtags returned
- Can also generate hashtag based on keyword
- Can upload photo or choose a URL
|4||Autohash||Android||Free||- Native android app|
|5||Instavast||Website||Free||- Can also generate hashtag based on keyword
- Can upload photo or choose a URL
Photerloo has a couple of great features that make it stand apart from the other tools. First, the AI algorithm is constantly adapting and improving the suggestions. Each time a hashtag is chosen or removed from the list, the user input is taken into account the next time the generator runs. This has caused Photerloo hashtag suggestions to become much better since it was first released in 2017.
Also, different levels of hashtag popularity can be chosen, the default is very popular, but you can also a slider to view and choose more niche hashtags. The screenshots below show the results for the test photo on very popular and most popular settings.
Lastly, although Photerloo is a website, it is very mobile friendly and works well on a phone or tablet.
#2 - IMH Hashtag Generator - Website
This Instagram Hashtag generator first suggests a list of keywords then allows you to choose 5 of the keywords to base your hashtags search on.
Unfortunately the hashtags based on the keywords seem to just contain the keywords. For example, the AI algorithm found “sea” as a keyword, but then found associated hashtags like #seat #seal #sean #search, which although they contain the word “sea” don’t have much to do with my photo. See the full results below:
#3 - Big Bangram - Website
This hashtag generator showed the most hashtags of all the tools, the screenshot below is only a portion of the list. The hashtags are segmented into three sections: Related Hashtags, Niche Hashtags and Non-Niche hashtags.
Due to the vast number, this tool could be good to find some new hashtags you hadn’t tried before but I found most were generic or not related. Not sure how hashtags like: #scotland, #fallout, #elderscrolls. #memes got into the list.
#4 - Autohash - Android
Autohash allows you to choose a photo from your phone and generates a list of hashtags. For my test photo only 19 hashtags were generated. Some of the hashtags were good but they were mostly very generic keywords.
Also, it obviously looked at my GPS and suggested keywords based on my current position (which is not where I took the photo). The photo did have GPS coordinates in it so it would be nice if it had shown the location based on the photos GPS coordinates.
#5 - Instavast Hashtag Generator - Website
Instavast generator was in beta when I wrote this post. Instavast allows you to upload a photo or choose a URL and provides two separate lists: related Hashtags and Niche hashtags.
The related hashtags seem to be just keywords and for this particular image the niche hashtags all contained the word “water”. As you can see from the results below, this wouldn’t have helped much for this particular image.
Currently I only use two tools to find new hashtags, Display Purposes and Photerloo. I typically use Display Purposes to find tags that can’t be seen with in a photo, as a travel photographer, that is often the location of the photo. I use Photerloo to suggest the best hashtags based on the contents of the image.
Posting Photos With Hashtags to Instagram
Although Instagram is a mobile app, many Instagrammers have the photos on their computer and need an easy way to post the photo to Instagram. In this article, I used the free stand alone Instagram hashtag generator from Photerloo. However, the main Photerloo site also has the ability to take the photo off your computer and transfer it to your phone for posting to Instagram. To try the full Photerloo app for free signup here.