Hashtag Tracking Methods

Hashtag tracking is useful for advertising agencies, public relations firms or departments, senior executives, news agencies, journalists, and those involved with marketing. It is useful for all of these groups and even for individuals who are working to build up an online following.

Real-time hashtag tracking tells what is going on moment-by-moment. Hashtag analytics is an analysis of what happened in the past. Different types of people have specific reasons why using a hashtag tracker could be important to them. The most important use of hashtag tracking is to determine popularity.

Hashtags remain among the most effective tools for expanding social media reach and engagement. Recent surveys show that 71% of Instagram users actively follow hashtags, and 60% discover new brands and products via hashtags in posts.

To maximize the impact of hashtags, social media marketers need to track performance and identify the ones driving results properly. Robust hashtag tracking provides insights on engagement, brand awareness, lead generation and more.

This guide covers everything from setting up tracking across platforms to monitoring metrics and using data to refine hashtag strategy. Follow these best practices to optimize hashtags for your broader social media efforts.

Hashtag Tracking Methods

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Here are the different groups that benefit from hashtag tracking.

Setting Up Comprehensive Hashtag Tracking

Hashtag tracking starts with getting the right foundation in place:

  • Enable trackable URLs – Use campaign tagging to create unique landing page URLs for each hashtag.
  • Integrate analytics platform – Connect social accounts so that hashtags can be tracked back to site analytics.
  • Organize hashtags with UTM tags – Label custom hashtags like #product_launch to segment data.
  • Add hashtags in social media analytics – Most platforms like Facebook and Instagram include built-in hashtag reporting.
  • Leverage paid tools – Services like Sprout Social and Rival IQ provide robust hashtag tracking and competitive benchmarking.
  • Create branded hashtags – Develop recognizable hashtags that fans can rally behind and monitor usage.

Online Influencers

Social Media Marketing Ballymena - Influencer Marketing - Hashtag Tracking

Part of this group are people who found fame using the Internet. One might consider them to be online stars. They gain attention from being bloggers or vloggers (video bloggers). Others in this group include politicians and those leading political movements. At least, they hope to be. This group also has some movie and television stars, especially reality television stars. Finally, there are business and intellectual “thought-leaders” who develop a following because what they say is interesting and important.

The influencers use hashtag tracking and analytics to see how far their influence goes. Those in other groups described below use hashtag tracking to follow what the influencers are doing.

The Business2Community notes that there has been a huge growth in social influencer marketing over the past few years. This is because it can be extremely effective in reaching a targeted audience.

Neilson reported, after surveying over 28,000 people from 56 countries, that 92% of the people trust online recommendations from other people more than advertisements. These people can be friends, family, or someone they do not know.

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Advertising Agencies, Brand Managers, and Public Relations

Advertising agencies, brand managers, public relations firms, and public relations departments in any organization need to use hashtag tracking.

Advertising Agencies and Brand Managers

Advertising agencies and brand managers use hashtag tracking and analytics to monitor and manage advertising campaigns. This helps to see what is working and what is not. Hashtag tracking helps find and connect with the social influencers described above. Analytics show the results of the efforts. This is something the clients of the advertising agencies want to see, and brand managers need to know.

Small Business Marketing from ProfileTree Digital Agency

By using a good hashtag tracking tool, the process is highly automated. The advertising campaigns can have modifications made in real-time based on popular hashtags, allowing the advertising agencies to change their tactics in response to audience reaction or lack thereof.

By tracking influencers, they get an abundance of information, which includes:

Most importantly, they get the contact information to connect with influencers. This creates an opportunity to engage them with enthusiasm or by paying them and then benefit from the help of influencers to increase their online perception favourably.

Hashtag tracking and analytics allow advertising agencies and brand managers to follow what any competition is doing.

Hashtag analytical reports show the impact of these efforts using real data in ways that make for impressive campaign results. This makes clients happy and helps brand managers keep their jobs.

Monitoring Important Hashtag Metrics:

With tracking set up, pay close attention to key performance indicators, including:

  • Impressions – The number of times content with the hashtag is seen.
  • Engagement – Likes, shares, and comments on hashtagged posts.
  • Click-through rate – The percentage of impressions that result in clicks.
  • Usage – The volume of a branded hashtag is used by both you and your followers organically.
  • Conversation reach – The number of unique authors using your campaign hashtag.
  • Sentiment – The tone and emotions associated with mentions of the hashtag.
  • Website conversions – Sales, email signups and other goals from hashtag clicks.

Analyzing Data and Optimizing Efforts:

Regularly dig into hashtag analytics to identify opportunities:

  • Find your top performers – Double down on hashtags driving high engagement and conversions.
  • Discover hidden gems – Test increasing the use of promising hashtags with potential.
  • Assess campaign impact – See which hashtags provide the biggest lift for launches or promotions.
  • Compare hashtag sets – See whether general community or branded hashtags perform better.
  • Monitor conversation sentiment – Adjust messaging and use if hashtags have negative connotations.
  • Audit competitors – Analyze their top hashtags for inspiration.

Public Relations

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The goal of public relations is to stay on top of what the public is thinking about something. There are both proactive and reactive methods. Proactive methods include press releases and announcements. Reactive methods are about managing crises and reacting quickly to mitigate any damage.

Hashtag tracking allows public relations to follow both the good and the bad about the things they are protecting and promoting.  Using these methods, it is possible to build an online following, inform them, and potentially better manage their opinions.


By using hashtag tracking and hashtag analytics, not only is it possible to track the social media behaviours of existing clients or customers, it is possible to find new ones.

Storytelling marketing - Hashtag Tracking

Analysing social media behaviours around topics that are important to an organization is a terrific way to find consumers who are potentially new clients or customers for the organization. The key is to engage the consumers in a meaningful way that is synergistic with other marketing efforts.

Marketing efforts have the same needs as advertising agencies, brand managers, and public relations to track the effectiveness of any marketing campaign. The same goes for the need to reach out to influencers and build a positive online community.

Popular hashtags may be somewhat ephemeral. They come and go along with the changes in interests on social media. This is why it is so important to track them in real-time to capture any opportunities that may exist for only short periods.

Tracking what the competition is doing is a critical component of any marketing efforts. Hashtag tracking allows comparison of an organization’s marketing effort directly against their competitors’ effectiveness. This provides benchmarks used for goal setting and campaign results analysis. Additionally, it gives a more complete understanding of the targeted demographic.

Senior Executives

Senior executives use hashtag tracking to learn what social media users think about their organization. Moreover, executives can use these methods to gauge the effectiveness of those working to promote the company through advertising campaigns, brand management, public relations, and marketing efforts. This provides a double-check on those efforts. Moreover, it allows executives to make better management decisions in real time.

Analysis of hashtags is helpful for strategic planning to set performance goals. This helps discover what worked or failed, who did a good job or did not, and where improvements are possible in future efforts.

An in-depth understanding of the social media behaviours of the target market demographic allows executives to monitor the positive and negative aspects of public opinion that are most important to an organization. Sharing this information with key employees improves collaborative efforts.

Proactively using hashtags allows an organization to be distinctive and stay ahead of any competition. If the target market includes a large component of social media users, this opportunity is valuable. Social media users are very quick to give opinions. Tracking this helps learn what consumers like and what they do not like.

This significant resource for monitoring hashtags is useful for launching new products or services. Definitive audience opinion analysis is possible when asking social media users in advance about their opinions before the release of new products or services.

News Agencies and Journalists

The Internet is non-stop. Some bloggers have scooped major news agencies by using the Internet more effectively. Stale news is not good.  With hashtag tracking, it is possible to identify new trends in real time and respond accordingly immediately.  There are ways to set up automatic alerts for hashtags, as well as scan for newly created hashtags that suddenly become popular.

Journalists can use hashtag tracking and analytics to develop good ideas for assignments to cover. Insights that come from hashtag analysis can spark creative ideas about interesting stories. By keeping an eye on the popularity of hashtags, it tells a journalist about the potential audience for any topic. This is especially useful if a journalist needs to pitch a story to an editor before being able to write about it.

Journalists themselves can become influencers by consistently writing quality content that is of interest to a particular audience. In this way, they become experts in that field or on that topic.

The Significance of Hashtag Tracking

Hashtag tracking holds immense value for businesses and individuals seeking to leverage social media effectively:

  • Unveiling Trending Topics: Track hashtags to identify emerging trends, popular discussions, and zeitgeist moments, allowing you to align your content and strategies accordingly.
  • Understanding Audience Behavior: Delve into how your target audience interacts with hashtags, gaining insights into their preferences, interests, and online behaviour.
  • Measuring Campaign Performance: Assess the effectiveness of your social media campaigns by tracking hashtag usage and engagement, quantifying your reach and impact.
  • Identifying Influencers: Discover key influencers in your industry or niche by analyzing hashtag usage and engagement, enabling you to collaborate with them for strategic partnerships.
  • Optimizing Content Strategy: Identify high-performing hashtags and incorporate them into your content strategy to increase visibility and engagement.

Hashtag Tracking and Analytical Tools

For those new to hashtag tracking, here is a list of tools to consider. Some are free with paid premium accounts; others are paid services with a free demo or free trial:

Free/Paid Premium Tools

  • Hashtagify – The free service shows relationships between hashtags.
  • Hashtags.org  – Has free accounts and paid premium accounts.
  • Ritetag – Has free accounts and paid premium accounts.
  • Tagboard – Offers a free search for a single hashtag to create a pinboard that visually shows hashtag use across different social media, and they offer paid premium accounts.
  • Trendsmap – A free tool for basic use and a paid premium account that shows real-time Twitter trends on a world map.
  • Twubs – Free tool or paid premium accounts used to create communities and track Twitter activity.

Numerous hashtag tracking tools are available, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. Popular options include:

  • Brand24: A comprehensive platform for social media monitoring and analysis, including hashtag tracking, sentiment analysis, and influencer identification.
  • Keyhole: A versatile tool for tracking hashtags across multiple social media platforms, providing detailed analytics and insights.
  • RiteTag: A hashtag suggestion tool that analyzes your content and recommends relevant hashtags to enhance your reach.
  • Sprout Social: A comprehensive social media management platform with hashtag tracking, scheduling, and reporting features.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Hashtag Tracking

Embark on a journey of hashtag tracking mastery with this step-by-step guide:

  1. Define Your Goals: Establish your hashtag tracking objectives, whether it’s identifying trends, measuring campaign performance, or understanding audience behaviour.
  2. Identify Relevant Hashtags: Brainstorm a list of hashtags related to your industry, products, or services. Utilize hashtag suggestion tools and explore relevant searches.
  3. Select a Hashtag Tracking Tool: Choose a hashtag tracking tool that aligns with your goals and budget. Consider features, ease of use, and reporting capabilities.
  4. Start Tracking: Set up your chosen tool and track your selected hashtags. Monitor hashtag usage, engagement, and sentiment over time.
  5. Analyze and Action: Regularly analyze your hashtag tracking data, identifying trends, insights, and areas for improvement. Adapt your content strategy and social media efforts accordingly.

Case Studies of Successful Hashtag Tracking

To illustrate the power of hashtag tracking, let’s examine a few real-world examples:

  • Case Study 1: A fashion brand utilized hashtag tracking to identify trending fashion topics and incorporate them into its social media content. As a result, they experienced a significant increase in engagement and brand awareness.
  • Case Study 2: A non-profit organization used hashtag tracking to monitor conversations surrounding their latest campaign. By understanding public sentiment and identifying key influencers, they successfully amplified their campaign’s reach and impact.
  • Case Study 3: A travel blogger leveraged hashtag tracking to discover popular travel destinations and incorporate them into their blog posts. By aligning their content with trending topics, they attracted a wider audience and boosted their blog’s traffic.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Steer clear of common mistakes to maximize the effectiveness of your hashtag tracking efforts:

  • Over-reliance on Branded Hashtags: While branded hashtags can be useful, don’t overlook the potential of non-branded hashtags to reach a wider audience.
  • Ignoring Long-Tail Hashtags: Long-tail hashtags, though less frequently searched, often attract highly motivated searchers, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Failing to Track Competitor Hashtags: Monitor competitor hashtags to identify their strategies, understand their audience, and uncover potential opportunities.
  • Neglecting Sentiment Analysis: Analyze the sentiment associated with your hashtags to understand public perception and identify potential issues or concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hashtag Tracking:

How many hashtags should you use per post?

  • 1-2 highly relevant hashtags are recommended. Avoid going overboard with too many.

What’s a good hashtag engagement rate?

  • 0.5% or higher is considered good engagement. Under 0.3% indicates low interaction.

When should you retire a hashtag?

  • If a campaign hashtag has ended or is seeing declining usage and engagement.

Can you use the same hashtag across social platforms?

  • Yes, using branded hashtags consistently across channels helps track performance.

Should hashtags be at the start or end of a post?

  • Put them at the end of the post copy for better readability.

Hashtag Tracking Conclusion:

Implementing effective hashtag tracking provides data-driven insights into your top-performing hashtags, campaigns, influencers, and content. Dedicate time to analyzing hashtag analytics across platforms rather than guessing which hashtags work best. Use key metrics like engagement rate, clicks, and sentiment to refine your social media approach for maximum reach and impact. Consistent hashtag tracking ensures your efforts continue evolving based on real data.

Hashtag tracking and using hashtag analytics are becoming increasingly important for advertising agencies, public relations firms or departments, senior executives, news agencies, and journalists who find it to be an essential tool in their work.

This modern form of audience research happens in real time. It is highly effective in following public opinion trends. When used effectively, it is also predictive of new trends as they emerge.

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