Audience Engagement Platforms
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Twitter hashtag code for publishers, cracked

Analysis of 6.5 million publisher tweets across 8 languages quantifies how including hashtags in tweets can impact referral traffic

Publishers should regularly include 2 to 3 hashtags in their tweets in order to optimize the amount of referral traffic generated from Twitter, according to new research from Echobox, the AI-powered publishing solution.

The study is believed to be the first to offer empirical evidence of how hashtags drive click-through traffic on tweets across the global publishing industry. 

Prior to this study, publishers have not had data-backed guidelines for using hashtags on Twitter. Many have missed out on traffic opportunities or spent time curating unnecessarily long lists of hashtags for each tweet.

This new research offers publishers unique insight and precise best practices around how to use Twitter hashtags to their full potential.

Antoine Amann, CEO of Echobox

For this analysis, Echobox studied 6.5 million tweets from publishers during a one-year period (September 2020 to September 2021). Tweets were studied across 8 languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Arabic and Dutch. Data was normalized and segmented to minimize any bias due to tweet content.

The study found that across all publishers, including exactly 3 hashtags generates 16% more pageviews on average compared to tweets with no hashtags. However, the study also found that the ideal number of hashtags to maximize clickthrough traffic depends largely on content vertical and publisher type.

Key findings include: 

  • Contrary to Twitter’s recommendation of “no more than 2 hashtags per tweet,” generally speaking, 3 hashtags is the optimal number
  • Publishers should avoid using just 1 hashtag
  • The scale of traffic gains to be made from hashtag usage can vary widely according to content vertical and publisher type, ranging up to +221% for certain verticals.
  • For most publishers, positioning hashtags at the end of a tweet is optimal, but this too depends largely on content vertical and publisher type. 
  • For tweets that regularly generate little to no traffic, the inclusion of hashtags has little impact on pageviews and traffic. 

Detailed results can be found in the report: 
Should publishers use hashtags on Twitter? 

Echobox is an AI-powered publishing solution, chosen by more than 1,000 of the world’s leading publishers, including Newsweek, The Times, The Telegraph, Handelsblatt, Le Monde and Conde Nast. Publishers share more than 40 million stories and reach billions of people with Echobox each year. Echobox’s research and insights have been written about by many of the world’s leading publications including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Techcrunch and Forbes.