Now You Can Use Hashtags on Pinterest!

Hashtags on Pinterest - What Marketers Need to Know #pinterestmarketing #pinteresthashtags

Should I be using hashtags on Pinterest? For years, the answer was a resounding, “NO!” The explanation from Pinterest being that they don’t work the way people expect, are confusing, and could actually work against you by sending people to other Pinners’ content. Noted.

That’s all changed now!  The official Pinterest help files confirmed what we’ve seen coming for a while – Hashtags are back! If you came for tactical information then here’s tips and tricks for how to best use hashtags on Pinterest.

According to Tiffany Black, Head of Content Business Development and Corporate Development at Pinterest:

It is true that In the past, I think that we were dissuading people from using hashtags. We are actually changing that such that you can and are often benefited in the future by using hashtags. As far as best practices go, the rule of thumb is use authentic hashtags but don’t keyword stuff essentially. So I know on other platforms you can often see people putting 50 or 100 hashtags on something.

It’s not the volume of hashtags that’s really useful, it’s actually making sure you are using the hashtags that people will likely be searching for. So not trying to do like 100 because actually doing too many will decrease rank in some capacity because we will think it is possibly spam.

So I would say we haven’t figured out exactly what the right number is. I don’t think that we will probably come out with an exact number but you know keeping it reasonable and using ones that are relevant to the content and authentic is the way to go.

So what changed? According to Vanessa Kynes who recently visited Pinterest headquarters (jealous!):

One huge change to Pinterest is the use of hashtags. Jackie (Pinterest) explained that brands really wanted to utilize hashtags because they had become so commonplace on other platforms and basically the language of #marketing.

Hashtags Start Popping Up!

The changes started to appear long before this week – it was back in June, in fact, when I first saw them. On my phone, I caught a few glimpses of Pins with colored buttons containing hashtag phrases. Clicking on one of those brought up related Pins filtered for that phrase.

hashtag buttons on Pinterest Pins

What you can’t see (sorry) is that the description did NOT contain any hashtags, so Pinterest was adding those in. Good news for those of us who have been following the direction of Pinterest all these years. Now, I did notice in one hashtag-click search that a Pin with hashtags in the description came up first, so that gives further weight to the idea that we should be using them from now on.

I haven’t spotted any of these in weeks, so it could be that this was a visible representation of the search functionality that is now built in. Hard to say for sure!

Hashtag Suggestions on Pinterest?

A few weeks back, my friend and fellow Pinterest geek Tina Gammon told me she was typing a description on her phone and accidentally hit the hashtag key. Pinterest started suggesting hashtags for her! At first they were pretty random, but if you entered a relevant tag, the options got a lot more targeted.Notice, too that it tells you how many Pins use that hashtag. This feature also seems to have disappeared, so you may or may not see it at this time – or ever.

Oh, and it’s interesting to note that the documentation about NOT using hashtags disappeared from Pinterest’s help files at about this time.

Hashtags on Pinterest with Hashtag Suggest

A Whole New Way to Search Pinterest

According to Pinterest,

“Hashtags are a new way to reach users interested in your content. When a user searches a hashtag the freshest pins with that hashtag will appear at the top of the feed. When a user searches the same phrase without the hashtag, it will pull up the original search results page.”

The key here is that hashtag searches are going to be chronological!

What Hashtags on Pinterest Means for Marketers

Start using them! Here’s the official recommendation:

When inserting a hashtag, we recommend you be specific and descriptive. Use words or phrases that describe the content in the Pin – we recommend you add no more than 20 hashtags per Pin. It’s best to be objective and use hashtags that make sense and are relevant to the Pin. Depending on your Pin, consider using hashtags that are timely (e.g. #oscars, #backtoschool, #halloween) and/or hashtags for evergreen content that works well on Pinterest (e.g. #mealplanning, #hairgoals, #homedecor). This is to help make it easier to for users to filter and find relevant content they are interested in.

“No more than 20 hashtags”! That’s a lot! Don’t feel compelled to use them all. Focus more on being relevant and remember that fresh Pins are the ones that will show up in hashtag searches.

Remember, too, you should feel free to make some of them season or event specific!

Should I go back and add hashtags to old Pins?

You could. But because Pinterest has explicitly said that hashtag searches are serving up fresh Pins, I don’t plan to. Instead, use them from now one, perhaps even repinning all of your own content and adding hashtags.

If you use a platform such as Social Warfare, which allows you to write custom Pinterest descriptions for social sharing, you’ll want to add hashtags there, and also in your alternate text box when you upload pinnable images.

It’s always exciting to see Pinterest grow and change to make our experience more relevant and rewarding. How will you alter your Pinning strategy to include hashtags?

What About Hashtags on Promoted Pins?

Right now, Promoted Pins do not appear in the search results. However, when people repin your Promoted Pins, THOSE could! So, I’ll be including those in Promoted Pins. The official stance from our Pinterest rep is that they don’t help and they don’t hurt, but now we’re allowed to use many (it used to be you could only use one). Still, if saves of those Pins have hashtags, they could show up in hashtag search!

Hashtags are in, but you know what else is helpful for growing your Pinterest account? Consistent Pinning! Get a free trial of Tailwind today and see how much time it can save you every day.

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Hashtags on Pinterest - What Marketers Need to know #pinterestmarketing

Hashtags on Pinterest?! Who would've believed it? What you need to know (besides

About Alisa Meredith

Alisa Meredith is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind. She is slightly obsessed with Pinterest, dogs, cats, and the beach near her home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

33 thoughts on “Now You Can Use Hashtags on Pinterest!

  1. August 24, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Can’t wait to see how this change will develop, Pinterest is becoming more and more interesting.

    However, consistent pining is still a must have in order to grow your Pinterest profile and keep your followers entertained.

    Thanks for the insights Alisa, it’s appreciated!

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 9:49 am

      I agree, Jarvee! And yes, we must feed the beast! You’re very welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. August 24, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I just tried to use hashtags on both mobile and desktop but they seem to not be available. Maybe it’s just because they haven’t rolled out here in Mexico?

    Either way, I’ll make sure to add hashtags to my pins from now and edit my site board. 😀

    Thank you for sharing this, Alisa.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

      They seem to come and go, but I’m focusing on the part where Tiffany said in the “future,” and starting now. I still wouldn’t use hashtags in board descriptions or profiles. They never did work there and we don’t have any reason to think they will in the future. Most welcome – thanks for leaving a note!

  3. August 24, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I noticed the hashtags yesterday and I added a few to my post.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Still seems so odd, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by, Anne!

  4. August 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Thanks so much for the updated info! So where do you think we should now put our hashtags? In the description?

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Most welcome, Zandra. Yes, the suggestion is to use a couple in our Pin descriptions. I’ve started doing that now. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note! 🙂

  5. August 25, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I noticed hashtags showing up for me last week when I was pinning. This is a pretty exciting development. Can’t wait to see what they do with them! More ways to search is always welcome from me.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      I’m excited, too, Stephanie! I’m interested to see how Pinterest will combat spam on hashtags. I’m sure they have something sophisticated in mind.

  6. August 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Hi,
    Lovely post.
    Help, please, what is the best place online to find the most popular hashtag? Is that Twitter or Instagram?
    Thank you

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks, Aleena! I recommend you use Tailwind’s Instagram hashtag finder. It will give you a mix of popular (will show up labled as “competitive”), niche, better, and best. Using a mix of all the different types will get you the best exposure.

      1. August 28, 2017 at 6:42 pm

        I was new to Tailwind, and that feature helped me a TON!!! I got some great use out of Tailwind! 🙂 I had been simply trying to get over 100 followers and in a week it happened, and then some. Tailwind is great, but the hashtag finder is what I give a ton of credit to.

        1. Alisa Meredith
          August 29, 2017 at 9:13 am

          That’s great to hear, Beth!

  7. August 25, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    so are hashtags taking the place of pinterest seo or will they work in conjunction?

    Thanks

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 25, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Hello, Ike. They will work in conjunction with the other things you do on Pinterest to appear in search. From what I have seen, they will help you appear in searches of related Pins – Pins with similar hashtags will be linked. Remains to be seen exactly how it will work out!

      1. August 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Thanks Alisa,

        For the helpful post!

  8. August 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you, this is great. I’m fairly new to Pinterest, and Tailwind is definitely a big part of my efforts

  9. Leah at The Frugal South
    August 25, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Excited to give this a try since organic searches on Pinterest are my #1 source of traffic!

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 28, 2017 at 8:45 am

      That’s great to hear, Leah!

  10. August 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I noticed you said they probably won’t work in board descriptions. Is the best place to pit them in the pin descriptions? Just want to make sure I am doing it right! 🙂

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 28, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Yup, that’s right! Help people find your Pins by using just a couple relevant key words that people might actually use.

    2. Alisa Meredith
      August 30, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Yup, you got it, Katie!

  11. August 25, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    I’m actually not happy about this change as I liked the fact the Pinterest was not gamed by the hashtag world. It felt more authentic. Soon there will be hashtags to figure out that need to be added to each pin that aren’t straight forward and it only seems to add another layer to the search game.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 28, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Hi, Rania. I know. I’m a little concerned about spam, but I bet Pinterest has a plan to control that. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Big Volcano
    August 26, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    So, the 2-4 hashtags I’ve been using all these years are finally OK? 🙂

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 28, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Haha, yeah. 🙂

  13. August 27, 2017 at 4:31 am

    I wish that hashtags would stay out of Pinterest. So many people already use Pinterest as a sort of search engine, it seems silly and inauthentic. Oh well! Thanks for the useful info!

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 28, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Hi Lisa. I’m a little unsure of how I feel about them, too. It really is a visual search engine, so it kind of makes sense. Most welcome! ~ Alisa

  14. August 29, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Ugh. Hashtags + Pinterest. My worry is that people are going to start putting hashtags in their alt description…

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 29, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I know. It could be bad, but I’m hopeful that Pinterest has a plan to deal with the potential for spam. If you want hashtags in descriptions on Pins from your sites, seems like hashtags in alt descriptions might be a good idea.. You’re the Google pro though, so what am I missing, Kristie?

  15. August 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I’m really excited to see how this change effects my SEO. I’m hoping its a positive change.

    1. Alisa Meredith
      August 31, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Me too, Jessica!