Tracking hashtag performance

Tracking the search performance of your hashtags is as important as the initial research.  This will provide you with feedback that will help you balance and optimize your hashtags.  This will also prompt you to refine your hashtag strategy.  It is the process that will ensure you stay ahead of the pack in hashtag marketing.

Search performance

Once your image is published, you should track the performance of your hashtags.  Typically you would like to know which of the hashtags are getting your post to found on an Instagram search.  Or which rows or pages can your post be found, as your post ‘matures’. You definitely would like to know which hashtag is getting your post into the trending Top9 on Instagram, and for how long this stays in Top9.

Search results

Your post is always listed in chronological order of its published time.

To measure a hashtag’s search performance, you need to know the position of your post over time.  The density of a hashtag gave you a good indication. But the actual position of your post will depend on the publishing activities of other Instagram users at the time of publishing.  Typically your post may be in the first few rows of the search results in the initial minutes after posting.  This may be pushed down many pages fairly quickly if your hashtag is very popular at that time.    How far and how fast your posts move down the search results tells you how effective that hashtag actually is. Typically a user may scroll through 30 to 50 rows before abandoning the search.  As an example, hashtags that places your post on beyond 50 or 60 rows within the first 15 mins are not effective to gain reach.

Trending Top9

Instagram ‘promotes’ nine posts for each hashtag as the trending posts. These posts are displayed on the top of the search results. The post remains there well pass its nature shelf life.  This can range from many hours to a few days.  When a post is trending, it reaches a far wider audience.

There are a number of factors that determines when a post go to Top9.  These included density, speed of engagement, types of engagement and the niche of the people who interacted with your content.

These are explained in a free hashtag secrets ebook, which can be downloaded from here.

The search performance of your hashtags

The smaudience hashtag tool tracks the performance of hashtags in a post.

It reports the search position by each of your hashtag.  More importantly, it tells you the Top9 position when that hashtags places your post in the Trending Top9.

The analysis can be sorted by density and performance.

The report is a real time report and is automatically updated every ten minutes.


  1. www.smaudience.com/hashtag-performance
  2. Enter an Instagram name
  3. Select the account and the post you want to track
  4. Select [Tag performance]
  5. The analysis may take up to 3 or 4 mins
  6. Sort by hashtag density, search or Top9 performance
  7. Click a hashtag to explore all Top9 posts
  8. Click a hashtag to find alternative hashtags

[Next step]

The hashtag tool will track the hashtag search performance of your posts.   It is recommended that you start the tracking process shortly after publishing the post.

Our hashtag strategy article describes how you can create high performing hashtag lists.

Using this strategy, you should be able to see some of hashtag trending in Top9, usually starting from those with lower order density.    Consider using more of these similar hashtags (in density and meaning) to increase the number of Top9 hashtags.

Once you can consistently post into the Top9, research and use new hashtags with higher density.

You can click any of the hashtags, to explore the competition and performance of that hashtag.  This is explained further in the article Top9 trending post.


The tool can track hashtag performance from any Instagram account.  Use this to analyse key influencers and your competitors’ hashtags to learn their hashtag strategy.


How to get your post into the Top 9