Study: Facebook Hashtags Aren’t Driving Engagement…Yet

hashtag example

Since rumors first emerged of possible Facebook hashtags in March, there has been considerable excitement. Brands, marketers and business owners have known for some time how effective hashtags can be at driving engagement on platforms like Twitter.

So it might surprise you to learn that an initial measure of their effectiveness on the social networking site has been disappointing. In fact, a recent study of activity on the Facebook pages of the world’s top 100 brands shows there is no sign of increased engagement from hashtags on Facebook at all.

At least not yet, that is.

Hashtags on Facebook: Use is Up

The Facebook study by analytics firm Simply Measured looked at the Interbrand Top 100 Brands on Facebook between May 1 and June 30, 2013. It examined a range of methods these companies are using to drive engagement with their fans, and at which industries were most successful at driving that engagement.

Still marketers have understandably focused on how the new hashtags on Facebook are faring after their official launch June 12.

The study shows brands have increased their use of Facebook hashtags by about 20 percent since they were introduced, observes Amy Gesenhues of Marketing Land.

But the study also shows no evidence they have been effective so far in driving engagement among fans.


It may be too early to come to an absolute conclusion about the effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook.

The study suggests a better measure may need to wait until more brands are using hashtags and more Facebook users and fans get accustomed to finding content in this way.

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

7 Reactions
  1. I’m not surprised. As popular as hashtags are on Twitter and Instagram, the majority of Facebook users don’t really know what they do and will take awhile to catch on.

    • I agree – many of my friends and family, regular Facebook users, don’t have an idea that they can use hashtags on Facebook.

      It seems that only us marketers and business people know about it 😉

  2. Hashtags in Twitter I get – but I don’t really understand them in a Facebook context. Doesn’t stop me from using them in some of my FB statuses, but I don’t get the magnitude of what it can potentially do. It’s kinda like having a smartphone, but only using (or being aware of) a fraction of its capabilities.

  3. I completely agree with what Shawn has said in the article. It will take a bit of time before its use gets trendy as in Twitter. Brands have just started to use it to see the effectiveness it can bring in their engagement with fans, but so far the experience has been bitter.

    Slowly but surely people will get familiar with this new way of engagement and will be used as part of it.

  4. Hashtags do seem a little out of place but I imagine they’ll eventually pick up steam. They could be useful and with the graph search, I’m sure it’ll get better.

  5. It is fascinating to read an article about hashtags. It is interesting to read how much things have changed over the years. I think hashtags are now used as a search tool in many social platforms.