A recent study from EdgeRank Checker found that Facebook posts using hashtags had less engagement and Viral Reach than those without hashtags. The study analyzed 35,000 Facebook posts from over 500 Facebook pages. Overall, the use of hashtags decreased median fan engagement by almost 14%. The study should come as a surprise to marketers who have been using hashtags in their updates in order to increase the exposure of their posts.
Results when using hashtags were much different in Twitter however. EdgeRank Checker researched the effect of hashtags on Twitter posts. After analyzing fifty Fortune 500 twitter accounts, the results showed that hashtags doubled the likelihood of an account being retweeted. Furthermore, over 70% of brands showed an increase in retweets when using them.
In order to explain the data, researcher Chad Wittman hypothesized, “Hashtagged posts don’t have the expected increase in Viral Reach due to how brand’s are using them. Hashtags are often used in promotional material… therefore [they are] more likely to drive less engagement, less clicks, and ultimately less Reach.”
The data also measured the effect of hashtags on organic reach, and segmented the statistics by eight different Facebook page sizes. Regardless of the amount of fans, hashtags showed an insignificant impact on the organic reach of posts. Additionally, the study also found that using hashtags had little to no effect on Viral Reach.