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Analysis Of Facebook HashtagsBack in June 2013 Facebook introduced clickable hashtags for posts. In fact, a hashtag is a kind of metadata tag with the hash ‘#‘ sign. While hashtags were used in the information technology to highlight special meanings since the 1970s, it then became highly dovetailed with social networking platforms over time. Twitter was the first platform where the hashtag became an important part of the user interaction. By hashtagging important keywords users are able to reduce the noise and focus on topics of their interests.

As this simple principle worked very well, many other social platforms adapted this functionality, including well known platforms like App.net, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Of course, hashtags were also quickly used by brands and media to promote and track their marketing messages and campaigns.

Half a year after Facebook implemented hashtags, we now want to take a deeper look at how they are used among some major categories of brand pages.

Study Design: Facebook Hashtags By Page Category

We decided to pick out five main page categories (defined by Facebook) to check the industry-specific usage of certain hashtags.

The categories are:

  • Cars & Automotive | 1380 pages analyzed | 225432 posts | 15976 hashtags used
  • Hotel | 700 pages analyzed | 75262 posts | 9678 hashtags used
  • Politician | 1109 pages analyzed | 150114 posts | 7441 hashtags used
  • TV Shows | 1294 pages analyzed | 376548 posts | 21439 hashtags used
  • Bank/Financial | 734 pages analyzed | 131893 posts | 8955 hashtags used

You can also check out these categories in our ranking in the free stats section. We analyzed a sample set of 5217 pages, nearly 1 million posts and around 64.5k different hashtags between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. Check the raw data for the top 100 hashtags of the aforementioned categories.

Cars & Automotive Facebook Pages And Their Hashtag Usage

Facebook Hashtags Of Car Pages

We used the top 100 hashtags of car & automotive Facebook pages to create this word cloud. The bigger a word, the more frequently it was used. Since the used hashtags are self explaining for this category, lets check the top 10 hashtags by usage.

Hashtag Count
#Hyundai 1953
#BMW 1376
#Audi 1287
#Chevrolet 1047
#MercedesBenz 893
#Toyota 785
#Renault 746
#Kia 739
#AMG 628
#rideinluxury 616
Data Period: 1st July – 31st December 2013

Click on the shown hashtags to see all posts directly on Facebook. Please keep in mind, that Facebook doesn’t deliver a hashtag history. You only get the posts with a certain hashtag for the last couple of hours.

Back to cars on Facebook. As you can easily see, brand names of the car manufacturers are dominating. As we count a hashtag only once for a Facebook post, it means there were 1953 different posts with the hashtag #Hyundai. The only non branded hashtag is #rideinluxury. It seems to be used for all automobiles of a higher price range and a more comfortable equipment. Summing it up, car brands are using hashtags mostly to promote their brand name and certain models.

Facebook Hashtags By Category Hotel

Top 100 Facebook Hashtags Posted By Hotels

Above you can discover the word cloud for the top 100 hashtags used by Facebook pages in the hotel category.

Hashtag Count
#icmalta 516
#maltabsolutely 508
#malta 491
#ushuaiaibiza 468
#NYC 384
#mediterranean 355
#intercontinental 327
#Hotel 291
#Vegas 260
#ibiza 249
Data Period: 1st July – 31st December 2013

The three most posted hashtags are related to the small country of malta and are used by the page of the InterContinental Malta hotel in nearly all posts. This is, of course, an extreme branding of important keywords. Also the hashtags #mediterranean and #intercontinental are used in the aforementioned posts.

The hashtag #ushuaiaibiza refers to a beach hotel in ibiza, they also use the tag in nearly every of their posts for branding effects.

Politicians And Their Top Facebook Hashtags

Facebook Hashtag Analysis For Politicians

Again, the word cloud visualizes the top 100 hashtags used by politicians in their Facebook posts.

Hashtag Count
#Michelle 745
#satyapaljain 412
#Puebla 328
#Veracruz 299
#SomosLaEsperanza 290
#ChileDeTodos 259
#Dody 254
#Ponta 235
#ResultadosQueTransforman 232
#moody 210
Data Period: 1st July – 31st December 2013

The most frequently used hashtag is #Michelle and refers not to Barack Obamas wife Michelle, instead it is widely used by the page of the new Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. The second hashtag is #satyapaljain. This is the name of the Indian politician Saty Pal Jain. He used the hashtag in most of his Facebook posts and is therefore mainly promoting himself. We just checked his page with our tool and his page published 148 posts only in December.
#Puebla is a city in Mexico. A brief cursory hashtag search on Facebook showed me no connection with the subject of politics. But as already noted, Facebook only delivers resulsts for the last few hours. #Veracruz is a state in Mexico. #SomosLaEsperanza is Spanish and means ‘We are the hope’ and is also related to Mexico.
It seems that hashtags and also related campaigns are highly used by politicians from South America and India. Thats quite interesting, because normally one would expect the U.S. and European politicians self-evidently using hashtags to promote themselves or their campaigns. In terms of Europe, I know that it is not the case and that it’s mainly due to the fact that social media is not yet perceived as a marketing channel for politicians.

Facebook Hashtag Analysis For TV Shows

Top 100 Facebook Hashtags For TV Shows

The top 100 hashtags visualized in a word cloud.

Hashtag Count
#TD7 3057
#9News 2791
#TN7 2324
#AcademiaKids 2027
#ElGranShow 1670
#20H 1171
#Soir3 750
#TheBlock 615
#Telediario 614
#rtl 601
Data Period: 1st July – 31st December 2013

The most used hashtags in the Facebook TV Shows category is #TD7. The third-placed #TN7 is mainly spreaded by the Costa Rican television channel Teletican Canal 7. #TD7 is used for sport-related topics and #TN7 for general news.
#9News is the branded hashtag of the Australian news channel with the same name 9 News. The hashtag #AcademiaKids comes from the mexican reality show musical La Academia. The fifth rank is taken by the hashtag #ElGranShow with a count of 1670 times in between the last 6 months of 2013. The El Gran Show is a dance reality show airing on América Televisión in Peru.
Again, it becomes clear that hashtags are used especially in South American.

The Top Facebook Hashtags Used By Banks & Financial Pages

Facebook Hashtags Posted By Bank & Financial Pages

Word cloud of the top 100 hashtags posted by Facebook pages of the category bank & financial.

Hashtag Count
#Krungsri 722
#KrungsiSimple 712
#B 398
#forex 379
#News 377
#Aktien 295
#CIMBThai 268
#XploreFirst 260
#DAX 256
#BAC 213
Data Period: 1st July – 31st December 2013

Both first ranked hashtags #Krungsi and #KrungsriSimple are extensively posted branded hashtags by sub-brands of the Bank of Ayudhya based in Thailand. #b, of course stands for bank, banking. Forex is the world’s common abbreviation for foreign exchange market. While #News is of course self-explanatory, #Aktien is the German word for stocks.

Usage Of Facebook Hashtags Differs By Page Category

Overall, we can now easily determine that the hashtag usage differs by pages in the analyzed categories. While automotive pages are mainly promoting their brand names and car models, pages of the predefined hotel category are trying to push partly branded hashtags with a destination focus. Politics and social media is always interesting, in this case it is kind of surprising that primarily South American and Indian politicians are focusing on pushing their names and campaigns by using hashtags.
Checking the top 10 hashtags for TV shows, South America is leading again by posting branded hashtags most frequently. Pages in the Bank/Financial category are rarely utilizing hashtags. If so, partly to promote their products or just to highlight general topic-related words.

What do you think about the hashtag usage on Facebook? Does it make sense for brands to make use of these?

About the author

Max is Online Marketing & Sales Manager at quintly. His interests are: Facebook / Social Analytics, #SoLoMo; Content, Social, Mobile, Neuro - all kinds of Marketing, Apps, Augmented Reality, Entrepreneurship and Gadgets.

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