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TRAC: Instagram Hashtags FAQ
TRAC: Instagram Hashtags FAQ


Dominick DiCesare avatar
Written by Dominick DiCesare
Updated over a week ago

This FAQ is a companion to our announcement on Hashtag Tracking: you may want to give it a read!


Q: What does “You can query for 30 unique hashtags per every Instagram business profile added” mean?

A: Unique hashtags are counted just as unique keywords are counted. That means #dog and #dogs are two different hashtags, and will count against your 30 unique hashtag total.

In order to search for hashtags, you have to add a token that connects to an Instagram business profile. These tokens allow you to search for hashtags, and for each token linked to each business profile that you've added, you'll be able to search for an additional 30 unique hashtags. 

For Example:

1 business profile connected = 30 unique hashtags
2 business profiles connected = 60 unique hashtags


Q: If I add multiple tokens to my Instagram business profile, do I get more hashtags?

A: No you do not. You get 30 unique hashtags for that business profile alone regardless of the number of tokens you've added. For example, you can generate 5 tokens using the same business profile, but the amount of hashtags you can search for will be 30 as the hashtag allowance is dependent on the number of different business profiles you add, NOT the number of tokens you add.

That means if you have 2 different Instagram business profiles linked, you'll be able to search for 60 hashtags over the 7 day rolling period. And if you have 1 business profile with 5 tokens added using that same business profile, you can only search for 30 hashtags in total.  

You can always see this value in the Hashtags status menu. Here you'll see we have 1 business profile linked, and so we have 30 hashtags in total available:


Q: Does this mean I get 30 unique hashtags per business profile for each search I'm running?

A: Not necessarily. As you can see in the image above, hashtags are allocated to each individual business profile. This means if you have added one business profile to your search "Puppies & Kittens" and are using 10 hashtags in that search, your next search, if using the same business profile, will be capped at 20 hashtags.


Q: I see hashtags being used up on my hashtags status menu but I don't have them running on searches on Pulsar. What could be causing that?

A: The business profile rule actually applies across multiple platforms! That means if anyone is using the Instagram business account you have added a token for on any other social listening platform, the hashtag status menu will show you those slots being taken up as well. Because we cannot source these, however, they will show up as stopped, and they will have no search data linked to them.


Q: So is there a limit on the number of hashtags I can add to a search on Pulsar?

A: Yes - currently the total number of hashtags you can add to a search is 30. This is not a permanent limit, but for this initial release we will be limiting users to a total of 30 hashtags total to a search. This is to keep in line with Instagram API's policies to ensure we are able to continuously collect data without being capped. 


Q: I’m searching for the same hashtag in 2 different searches. Will it count as 1 or 2 unique hashtags?

A: It will count as one IF the two searches are associated to the same business profile. So if Search A and Search B are both tracking #cats, and you used the same business profile to create these searches, then these hashtags will only be counted once towards your hashtags allowance. 


Q: What does "within a rolling 7 day period" mean?

A: This means you do not have a set start and end date for all 30 allocated hashtags per business profile. Each hashtag's end date is relative to when you first queried it. Within a 7 day window, you can only ever have 30 unique hashtags queried per business profile added.


Q: Does the 7 day period restart for a hashtag if I delete that hashtag from the search?

A: No. Let's take a look at how this works a bit more in depth:

Hashtag A and B are both added to a search and queried for the first time on Sunday. Hashtag B is never queried again and is deleted from the search, (they only wanted Sunday's data), but Hashtag A continues to collect data. Regardless, both slots occupied by these Hashtags will only free up at the end of 7 days.


Q: Will I have to manually restart my hashtag searches every seven days then? And do I have to add a new token at the end of 7 days?

A: No and No. If you have an active search that is tracking hashtags, it will just keep renewing every 7 days and counting against your total count. If you want to keep tracking a hashtag in a running search, you do not need to do anything! This continuous renewal is represented by the word "Continuous" in the Hashtags Status panel as shown below:

You only have to worry about expiration if you're trying to add a new hashtag but an old one hasn't freed up the slot it's occupying yet. Remember, you can always just add more business profiles if you need more right away.


Q: If I have 30 hashtags available, and I query 5 today and 25 tomorrow, does that mean I have to wait 8 days before I can look at any new hashtags?

A: No. This rolling 7 day period is for individual hashtag queries: slots become available again as individual hashtags expire. Here's another diagram that should help illustrate this point:

In this example, 10 hashtags are queried on Sunday. The counter at the top illustrates how many hashtags are left that can be queried on any given day. On Wednesday, 10 new hashtags are queried, so the total goes down to 10 hashtags available. On Friday the last 10 hashtags are queried, and no more are available, until Sunday. On Sunday, the slots occupied by the 10 hashtags that were queried last Sunday have freed up, so you now have 10 slots free to query. You'd obviously have to delete the previous hashtags to add new ones, otherwise the free slots just roll into the next 7 days. The same goes for Wednesday and Friday, when the other groupings of 10 expire.


Q: How will I know if a hashtag slot is about to free up. Won't deleting it from my search delete it from my view?

A: Nope! You can see expiring hashtag slots in the Hashtag Status menu. Let's take a look at the example we saw earlier:

See that little stop icon on the left? This tells us that hashtag is no longer being queried (it was deleted from a search). As such, the slot that was occupied by this hashtag will free up in 2 days! Therefore in 2 days, this user will have another slot available to query a different hashtag. If in 2 days you don't use this slot then the 7 day rolling period will roll over and start again until you occupy the slot with a new hashtag.


Q: Okay so, I did a hashtag search. What sort of data exactly do I get from each post collected?

A:  For every Instagram post (a photo or video) we collect, we return the post caption, the link to the post on Instagram, the number of comments and the number of likes that post has received. However after 24 hours from the time a post has been published, we are unable to update the engagements for that post. This is an limitation on the Instagram API. 


Q: I read that if the volume of mentions for a hashtag is too high, the API will switch to providing top posts rather than providing all data. When does this happen?

A: Yes. To avoid being rate limited and blocked from access to Instagram data there are limits imposed on high volume and popular hashtags, like #ootd (outfit of the day). This is an Instagram limit and so to be able to fairly and continuously serve all our clients without any interruption to their data collection, we will collect the top posts for these hashtags instead of all posts. Top posts in this case are posts with the highest comments and likes. For all other hashtags, we collect all the posts available. 


Q: Can I get usernames from hashtag queries?

A: No. Personally identifiable information such as usernames is not available. Neither is Location information, and User Bio data. 


Q: Can I search for an emoji as a hashtag?

A: Sorry, no emoji hashtag searches. Instagram does not allow this [sad face emoji]


Q: Can I access historical data or only real-time?

A: Only realtime data is available, while no historical data is available. Realtime data is anything published within the last 24 hours. 


Q: Are Instagram Stories supported?

A: No. Instagram Stories are not supported, so any stories tagged with the hashtags you are searching for will not be collected. 


Q: Can I do Influencer Analysis on Instagram hashtags data?

A: No. We do not have username information or any information on users commenting or liking posts. As such we are unable to create the Authors bubble chart and the Network graph. Similarly, we are unable to display any Instagram data in the Location tab and the Audience tab.

Q: How do I keep track of my hashtags and business profiles?

A: There are 2 places where you can view this information. In the Hashtags Status modal in your search setup as shown above, or in your Team Settings as shown below:


Q: I can see that I have clicked on Add Token and it says I have added 2 Instagram business profiles, what does this mean?

A: If you click on Add Token and your normal Facebook user account already has access to a Facebook Business Manager that has multiple Instagram business profiles linked up, then you will notice that during search setup these Instagram business profiles are automatically added to Pulsar and made available for creating your hashtag searches. 


Q: But there are multiple Instagram business profiles linked up to my Facebook Business Manager, why can’t I see them on Pulsar?

A: When you add an Instagram business profile to a Facebook Business Manager, if you don’t link this profile to a Facebook Page, then a Facebook Page will automatically be created for that Instagram business profile. You need to check on your Business Manager that you’re an Admin on the Facebook pages linked to these Instagram business profiles. You can see these Pages in your Business Manager under the Pages menu as shown below:

Hopefully this covers all of your Instagram Hashtag concerns! This will be updated as we receive more questions from you!

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