Don’t use Instagram hashtags with emojis in them — here’s 8 reasons why
Don’t use Instagram hashtags with emojis in them — here’s 8 reasons why

Emojis are everywhere.

They’re in our text messages, every social media platform, and basically everything else digital you can think of.

I mean, who doesn’t love a quirky emoji every now and then. 🤓

On Instagram, they can be a great way to express yourself, create a visual flair in your captions, crack a joke, or convey your mood.

But emojis aren’t perfect for everything…

emojis on Instagram
When it comes to emojis on Instagram, stay away from using them in your hashtags

You have to draw the line when it comes to combining Instagram hashtags with emojis.

If you want to get value from each of the 30 possible hashtags you can use, then you should stay away from any hashtag with an emoji in it.

Let’s explore 8 reasons why you shouldn’t mix the fun of emojis with the business of hashtags.


Hashtags with emojis have much less traffic

While Instagram allows you to use emojis in your hashtags, what you will find is that those hashtags have significantly less traffic than their non-emoji counterparts.

Take a look at an example like #smile by comparing all the hashtags that have “smile” plus an emoji in it.

emojis on Instagram
#smile is an easy example of an Instagram hashtag with many emoji counterparts

#smile has a ton of posts (not suggesting you use it) but looks at how little the emoji versions of the hashtag like #smile😃 are used comparatively.

This is an extreme example but conveys my point. There just simply isn’t a decent volume for even a super popular hashtag like #smile when you add a hashtag to the end.

Most emoji hashtags are dead

Don’t be fooled by the small number of posts on these emoji hashtags.

You might look at the hashtag and see it has low competition due to a small number of posts and think it’s a good idea to use it.

Check out when some of the Top Posts were actually made.

emoji hashtags are dead
This post is from August of 2019! That means this hashtag is dead.

When you see that Instagram hasn’t seen a better photo to replace this one in years you know this hashtag is dead.

In fact, stay away from any hashtag that looks like this, whether it has an emoji or not.

There are too many choices for emojis

If you’re actually thinking of adding an emoji to the end of a hashtag then you have plenty of choices.

Which makes you wonder; how many possible emojis are there?

Currently, there are over 1,100 emojis that you could possibly use with more being added from time to time.

That means if you add an emoji to the end of your hashtags then what are the chances a user will also pick the same one when looking for content?

Using multiple emojis in one hashtag makes this even worse and the likelihood of others selecting the same exact hashtags is slim to none.

Multiple options for the same intent

Another tricky piece about hashtags with emojis on Instagram is that the “same hashtag” exists multiple times.

Take a look at these two hashtags: #dog🐶 and #dog🐕

Both of these hashtags attract the same type of interested viewer but what’s the difference between the two?

There isn’t one! 💡

It just goes to show that some people would choose the hashtag with the 🐶 over the 🐕 just because. You shouldn’t limit your audience by picking a side.

Variations of the same exact emoji exist

Many emojis can be modified into different skin tones — hence, multiple variations of the same exact hashtag.

Instagram counts each variation as a separate hashtag.

two of the same hashtags with emojis
Two of the same hashtags with emojis but each have different posts

You will get different results if you look at #👩‍🔬 compared to #👩🏻‍🔬.

With over 100 human emojis available, any one of them can be one of the six different choices.

That is a lot of possibilities. 😳

Too difficult for people to type

When we’re browsing through Instagram and looking for hashtags, our minds think of hashtags as words, not emojis.

Some people don’t use hashtags at all, Instagram or otherwise, so they are definitely not top of mind.

Even the way you have to type a hashtag on your phone or computer takes a few extra clicks and some scrolling.

Don’t expect users to put in the extra work, even if it is a few clicks, to add an emoji.

Instagram doesn’t even support them

Sure, Instagram allows hashtags with emojis in them but that doesn’t mean you should use them.

In fact, according to Instagram’s API documentation, they don’t support hashtags with emojis in them.

instagram api hashtag search
If Instagram doesn’t support it then it begs the question why should you use it?

Since Instagram itself doesn’t allow its use, you can’t use any officially supported hashtag tracking tools for these hashtags.

You could attract the wrong audience

Hashtags serve as a means to help users increase their reach and visibility to a new audience.

However, a slight deviation like adding the wrong emoji and you can attract the wrong type of audience.

A common example is the eggplant emoji. 🍆

Even if you have the best intentions as a chef or restaurant, anything with this emoji will likely be flagged. Even spelling out the word like #eggplant is a banned hashtag.


Instagram is constantly evolving and may someday adapt to have hashtags with emojis provide value.

In the meantime, it’s best to stay away from any hashtag with an emoji in it.

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