Like a record store with vinyls placed in the wrong section, Instagram images are not always categorized correctly when Instagram users (IGers) add tags to their filtered masterpieces.
Browsing tags to find folks to follow is a great way to get more involved with the community. Tracking down people with whom you have shared interests isn’t always easy. As with Tumblr, however, tags help to mitigate the problem.
Looking through tagged photos is a little easier following a recent update to Instagram’s iPhone application. Yet it falls to Webstagram, a third-party website, to tell us which are the most-popular tags of all time within the community.
Many of them were used by IGers seeking to get their photos on the Popular page, a section of Instagram that featured the most interesting, liked, and commented upon photos of the day. That may soon change, however, as Instagram is ditching the Popular page in favor of a new Explore feature.
In the meantime, here’s a list of the top 20 Instagram tags.
1) #love // 20,649,199 photos
Photo by @djayrose
2) #instagood // 19,084,275 photos
The most popular among several tags IGers opt for to boost their like and comment numbers, #instagood tends to feature images IGers are proud of.
Photo by @t9_yum
3) #tweegram // 18,529,559 photos
Many IGers opt to share their images to other Web communities, most notably Twitter and Facebook. There are plenty who choose to go the other way, though. Tweegram is a tool that lets IGers type in a tweet-length message and turn it into an Instagram-ready image.
Photo by @nikd_up
4) #photooftheday // 14,724,247 photos
Much like a high school homecoming race, #photooftheday is an example of IGers seeking approval from their peers. However, this one’s a little different, as the best photo in the tag each day is featured in a gallery. The tag was created by Luca Anania, a media strategist and popular IGer with more than 7,000 followers.
Photo by @switchiboy
5) #iphonesia // 14,532,011 photos
The first niche-based tag on the list, #iphonesia is generally used by East Asia-based IGers who share photos taken with their iPhones. However, IGers from from elsewhere often hijack the tag for their own purposes.
Photo by @tessnatnicha
6) #instamood // 13,246,917 photos
The origins of this tag can be traced to a user of the same name. IGer Aziz, a.k.a. @instamood, created it in late 2011. The Philadelphia resident told Juxt in February he is a strong believer that “most of us share photos according to our emotion and mood.” His most popular hashtag often reflects that well, as IGers use color and nature to express themselves.
Photo by @instamood
7) #me // 12,084,413 photos
This one’s predominantly comprised of self-portraits. It’s also a great, easy way to catch out those who initially capture images with more traditional cameras.
Photo by @erikalothgren
8) #cute // 11,324,853 photos
Photo by @xwestanford
9) #igers // 11,212,256 photos
Photo by @kianallama
10) #iphoneonly // 9,871,063 photos
Initially, Instagram was only available to those with iPhones. Android users were left wanting until April. The influx of millions of new IGers caused some consternation among many of Instagram’s early adopters, with Instagramers blog and community founder Philippe González telling us in May that “more teenagers on Android want just to share their lives when iOS [users] were probably more interested by creativity and good pics themselves.”
To that end, many iPhone-owning IGers make a point of sharing which phone they’re using to capture Instagram images.
Photo by @lucyob
11) #picoftheday // 9,810,632 photos
As you might expect, #picoftheday is strewn with images from those who think their snap is better than the 5 million other photos shared on Instagram on any given day. Good luck with that.
Photo by @joymarinho
12) #instagramhub // 9,794,490 photos
This is another microcommunity-focused tag, with Instagram Hub aimed at helping IGers understand best practices and sharing tips. The community challenges and motivates IGers to create more effective images and be an active community member.
Photo by @thomas_plougstrup
13) #girl // 9,208,365 photos
Not so much a play on the infamous Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme as a collection of photos of the fairer sex.
Photo by @indianrose_
14) #summer // 9,170,791 photos
Photo by @illyofthevally7
15) #tbt // 9,163,053 photos
Among the top tags, #tbt is perhaps the most fun. It’s an acronym of both Throwback Thursday and Truth Be Told. When you browse tagged photos, you’re never quite sure if you’re about to see a photo from someone’s past or an IGer throwing down some knowledge on their followers.
Photo by @a_cooks
16) #instadaily // 8,779,228 photos
More of a challenge-based tag, #instadaily pits IGer against IGer to see who can take the most impressive image on a given topic.
Photo by @jmanol01
17) #jj // 8,106,535 photos
Run by prominent IGer Josh Johnson, the #jj community is asked to abide by a simple rule: For every one photo posted, comment on two others and like three more. Community members are also often asked to share photos on a specific theme.
Photo by @joshjohnson
18) #beautiful // 7,666,681 photos
Simple and to the point, this one contains images IGers find beautiful.
Photo by @bee33xo
19) #bestoftheday // 7,659,329 photos
Another attention-seeking tag, much like #photooftheday.
Photo by @zunicka
20) #sky // 7,315,323 photos
Last but not least, IGers use this tag to share photos of the atmosphere. Often dramatic and evocative, there are plenty of stunning images within the #sky tag.
Photo by @theyweed
Photo by Romana Correale