Captions or Comments? When and Where to Add  Hashtags on Instagram

Captions or Comments? When and Where to Add Hashtags on Instagram

Captions or Comments? Where you place your hashtags in an instagram post is largely a matter of personal preference. It's a tomayto, tomahto situation for the most part. But there are differences when you post in the comments vs the captions.

Some people strongly prefer to put hashtags in their post comments, because they prefer minimalistic or more narrative captions.  They may feel that hashtags look spammy or detract from their overall aesthetic or message. There are ways to mitigate this that do not involve posting hashtags in comments, but it requires a little more effort and planning. 

Other people argue that photos that use captions in the original post are slightly more likely to be discovered. We cannot confirm or deny these theories. 

What we can do is look at some of the pros and cons of both ways of posting hashtags for your Instagram posts. We can also address the question of when your hashtags should be added. 

Hashtags in Captions Pros:

  • Hashtags can be edited with a text editor to appear several lines below caption text, so that they don’t show “above the fold”.
  • Hashtags are easier to find and refer to  when looking back through the post
  • Hashtags in comments can be edited, although this is not generally recommended.

Hashtags in Captions Cons:

  • If you don’t spend the time to edit in a text editor such as notes, the hashtags show up prominently in your post and may turn some people off.
  • Hashtag are easier for others to copy.

Hashtags in Comments Pros:

  • Hashtags in the first comment are quickly hidden by subsequent comments.
  • Putting hashtags in the comments allows you to keep your captions short and sweet.

Hashtag in Comments Cons:

  • Hashtags in comments need to be made immediately upon posting, if they are not the first comment they will remain visible until several comments are made.
  • Hashtags in comments can be difficult to find and are impossible to edit.

When to Add Hashtags to an Instagram Post or Story

Hashtags can be added to regular Instagram posts at any time. Even years after the post first went live. It’s generally better to add them later than to not add them at all. But if you are starting fresh, don’t delay!

Here’s why hashtags should be added at the time of posting, or as soon as possible after:

The time stamp for your hashtag will be noted as the time the of the original post.

This is true whether you post the hashtags in the caption or the comments of your posts, and whether you post the hashtags when you post the image, or add them in,  two years later.

Every image on instagram has a time stamp and images are shown in hashtagged feeds in the order they were originally posted. When you add hashtags at the time of posting, your posts will show up in the feed for that hashtag in real time, as fresh posts.

Depending on how active the hashtag feed is, your posts will then remain visible or be buried as new content with the same hashtag comes in. Popular content remains visible for a little longer, in a special “Top” posts section of the feed.

Adding a hashtag to a post days, months or years later will not cause that post to show at the top of the hashtag feed for that post.

The post will be added that the hashtag feed, retroactively. What this means is that your post will show up in the feed for that hashtag, but you will have to scroll back in time to find it there.

Your retroactively tagged post may still show up on the first page of results under the following circumstances:

  1. If the hashtag feed is not particularly active
  2. If your post is super popular, and qualifies as a “Top” post for the hashtag.
The choice is yours whether or not to add Instagram hashtags retroactively! 

Note:  Instagram story hashtags cannot be added retroactively. They can only be added at the time of crafting the post.