Managing Instagram Hashtags in Classic Listen

The Instagram Hashtags Overview is a solution to manage the hashtags you look for on Instagram, in your Listen projects. Instagram imposes certain restrictions to the kind and amount of hashtag searches on their network. With the Instagram Hashtags tab, it's easy to keep an overview of which hashtags you're looking for across your Listen projects, as well as what their monitoring status is.

The Instagram Hashtags tab can be found in the Listen module at the top left. Only Admin and Team Leader users in Falcon can access the tab.


The information in this article relates to the classic version of the Listen module. For information on Instagram in Listen | Powered by Brandwatch, please visit the guide here.

Monitoring Hashtags on Instagram

After you create a Listen project, Falcon uses Instagram's APIs to search for, and retrieve, content that includes your chosen hashtags. Instagram imposes certain limitations on how this API can be used:

  • Only hashtags can be found through search. For example, the keyword movies cannot be searched for on Instagram, but the hashtag #movies can.
  • Only the caption of a post can be searched for hashtags. If #movies is mentioned in a comment, or is in a post overlay text, it can't be found.
  • A maximum of 30 hashtags can be listened to on Instagram at the same time, per Instagram Channel. For example, if your organization has three Instagram Channels connected to Falcon, you can listen to 90 Instagram hashtags across all Listen Projects in your Organization.
  • Hashtags are automatically monitored for a minimum period of 7 days. During that time, they count towards the 30 hashtags limit per Instagram Channel. For example, if you start monitoring #movies, but change it immediately after to #films, Instagram will monitor both hashtags for a 7-day period, even though #movies is not part of any of your Listen Projects anymore.

Due to the above limitations, the Instagram Hashtags overview has been created to manage and simplify listening to Instagram. It offers easy management of all Instagram hashtags across your Listen Projects. In addition, a few more general limitations to Instagram's APIs have been listed in a dedicated article here

Adding Instagram Hashtags to a Listen Project

As long as you have at least one Instagram Channel connected to Falcon, you can listen to Instagram hashtags through your Listen projects. Follow the below instructions to get started:

  1. Either open an existing project or create a new project in Listen.
  2. Open an existing topic under your project or create a new topic.
  3. Add your hashtags (with a # symbol in front, such as #movies) to your topic in the same way other keywords are added.


    You can use all Boolean operators and filters available in Falcon when adding your hashtags, even in combination with non-hashtag keywords.

  4. Be sure to select Instagram as a Source for your topic.
  5. Click Save in the bottom right.
  6. A confirmation prompt will provide you information about the implications of the hashtags being added to your topic. In some cases, your manual action is required before any hashtags can be tracked. You can find more detailed information in the next section of this article.
  7. Click Add hashtags to add your hashtags to the Instagram Hashtags overview.


Even if your hashtags cannot be tracked right away, you can choose to add the hashtags to the Instagram Hashtags overview. You can manage those hashtags in the overview, with one example being, to free up slots.

Slot Availability When Adding New Hashtags to Your Projects

Once you’ve added one or more hashtags to a topic, Falcon will try to track each of those hashtags right away. A prompt will inform you what actions Falcon will take on your behalf and, in some cases, which manual actions are required from you before tracking can start. Here is an overview of the most common scenarios you might encounter:

  • Enough open slots are available to start tracking all new hashtags. Falcon will automatically assign each hashtag to an open slot. No further action is required.
  • Not enough open slots are available to start tracking some or all of the new hashtags, but slots are scheduled to open in the next 7 days. Instagram always reserves slots for a minimum of 7 days, even if you are not using those slots anymore. After a maximum of 7 days, the slots will open and Falcon will automatically fill them with the new hashtags you want to track. No further action is required.
  • Not enough open slots are available to start tracking some or all of the new hashtags, and no slots are scheduled to open. You can resolve this by either connecting more Instagram Channels to Falcon or by removing hashtags from other Listen projects.

Even in cases where the hashtags you added cannot be tracked, you can still choose to add the hashtags to the project. They will not return results, but they will appear in the Instagram Hashtags overview. You can manually free up slots and assign the new hashtags to the opened slots through the Instagram Hashtags overview. Find out more about hashtag management in the next section of this article.

Managing Hashtags in the Hashtags Overview

The Instagram Hashtags Overview contains all Instagram hashtags from across all your Organization’s Listen projects. You can find information about the total hashtags pool, the number of open hashtags, and the status of any individual hashtag.

Each row displays information for one of your hashtags. For each hashtag, you can find the following details:

The hashtag that fills one of your Instagram Channel slots.
You can find the Listen Projects that the hashtag is a part of. Clicking on the Project name takes you to the project itself, from where you can make edits such as changing or removing the hashtag.
Your hashtag fills one of the 30 slots of this Instagram Channel.
Date created
When the hashtag was added for the first time.
The tracking status of your hashtag. A description of each status can be found below here.

Each of your hashtags can have one of a few possible statuses. We’ve described each of them, along with any possible action you could take to resolve that status:

The hashtag is being monitored on Instagram and Falcon is retrieving results for your Listen project(s). No action is required.
Falcon is processing the hashtag slot. This status will resolve itself shortly, no action is required.
External: tracking possible
This hashtag is monitored on your Instagram Channel by a third-party tool other than Falcon. The hashtag is not part of any of your Listen projects. You can add the hashtag to any of your Listen Projects if you want to start monitoring it within Falcon. This will not disrupt tracking in the other tool.
Deleting: x days left
The hashtag has been removed from all Listen Projects but is on a cooldown for a maximum of 7 days. After the cooldown period, your hashtag slot will become available. No action is required.
Queued: starts tracking in x days
A hashtag slot will become available soon and your hashtag will automatically fill the slot and start tracking. No action is required.
Not tracking: slot unavailable
There are not enough hashtag slots available. You can either remove hashtags from your Projects to make their slots available, or you can connect additional Instagram Channels to Falcon.
Not tracking: hashtag not trackable
Instagram does not allow tracking of hashtags that do not exist on their platform yet, or the hashtag was deemed sensitive or offensive by Instagram.
Not tracking: channel disconnected
The Channel from which this hashtag fills a slot, got disconnected from Falcon. Reconnect the Channel [link to reconnection article] to resolve the issue.

How Can I Stop Tracking a Hashtag?

To stop tracking a hashtag through one of your hashtag slots, the hashtag needs to be removed from all your Listen Projects. Once you’ve removed the hashtag from the last Listen Project, a cooldown period of 7 days starts. After those 7 days, your hashtag slot becomes available again. Here’s how you can best remove a hashtag from your Projects:

  1. Navigate to the Hashtag Overview tab in the Listen module.
  2. Find the hashtag you want to remove.
  3. Under the Project(s) column, you will see all Listen Projects that the hashtag is a part of. Click on one of the Projects to edit it.
  4. Open the topic that your hashtag belongs to.
  5. Either remove the hashtag from the query editor or remove Instagram as a Source from your topic. Click Save when you’re done. Do the same for other topics under the same Project.
  6. Repeat these steps for each Project the hashtag is a part of.


If you’re tracking one hashtag in multiple Listen Projects, you can always remove the hashtag from one of those Projects without any issues. Falcon will make sure that the hashtag is continuously tracked for the Projects that it is still a part of.

Warning and Partial Data Labels on Your Listen Projects

Falcon needs permanent access to your Instagram Channels in order to keep tracking your hashtags. That means the Instagram Channel must stay connected to Falcon in order to have access to the 30 hashtag slots of that Instagram Channel.

If your Instagram Channel disconnects from Falcon, all hashtags that are being monitored through slots of the disconnected Channel will stop returning results.

In the Listen Overview section, you will see a red Warning label on each Listen Project that is affected by the disconnection. Once you have reconnected the Instagram Channel to Falcon, the tracking will immediately resume.

Your projects will also show a red Warning label if not enough hashtag slots are available, even though all of your Channels are connected. In that case, the recommendation is to either connect additional Instagram Channels to Falcon or to remove any unnecessary Instagram hashtags from your existing Listen projects.

In rare cases, a Listen project could also show the red Warning label if a hashtag is not trackable on Instagram. It is either flagged by Instagram as sensitive or offensive, or the hashtag does not yet exist on Instagram.

Finally, your project could be labeled with a grey Partial data label if a hashtag in that Project is queued to start tracking at a later point in time. No manual action is required from your side. Falcon will automatically start tracking the hashtags once the hashtag slot becomes available after a maximum of 7 days.


If a hashtag is already monitored before it is added to a Project, will the project see results from when the hashtag was added to the Project or from when the hashtag started being monitored?
The Project will have the historical results available from the moment the hashtag tracking started, for as long as your data is stored on the Falcon servers, as defined in your Falcon contract.
Can I combine Instagram hashtags and other keywords through Boolean operators and filters?

Yes, you can create complex queries that look for Instagram hashtags as well as other keywords that appear in combination with those hashtags.

Here’s how Falcon will go about retrieving results for queries that do not exclusively contain hashtags: Falcon will search Instagram for the hashtag(s) in your Listen query (as we can only search for hashtags on Instagram). Once it finds a match with those hashtags, it determines if that match also fits the other search criteria of your query, such as additional keywords. Only if the match fits your entire query, will it appear in your Listen project as a mention.

I have received an Instagram mention even though my Listen query doesn’t contain any hashtags?

If Instagram is selected as a Source for your Listen query, it could happen that your topic returns Instagram results even if you did not provide any hashtags to look for on Instagram.

These mentions are retrieved from Falcon’s servers instead of Instagram natively. They have been found on Instagram through other Listen Projects created in Falcon. Remember, Falcon can only search for hashtags on Instagram. However, once a mention is stored on Falcon’s servers, the entire text of the content can be searched. Therefore, Falcon might find the occasional match with non-hashtag keywords in Instagram content stored on our servers. Please bear in mind that these results are never indicative of all matches with your query that might exist on Instagram natively.

How do I figure out which Instagram hashtags to track?

You could try the following:

  • Think about brand hashtags associated to your brand, product, or campaigns.
  • Think about industry hashtags, so you could keep monitoring industry trends with a broader range of hashtags.
  • Use other freely available resources to see what the most popular/trending hashtags are, so you can further broaden your hashtag coverage.
  • If you used Falcon’s Listen module before, look at historical Instagram data to see which hashtags are/have been trending.
  • As you make adjustments to hashtags and get new Instagram results in, keep checking the trending hashtags list to see whether any other potential hashtags could be added to your tracking list.
Was this article helpful?
1 out of 1 found this helpful