Hashtag sucketh. #StopUsingSoMany. It’s hurting you in a massive way – in both content proliferation and advertising. This is my first bit of Twitter advertising tips – why Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion.

RAAARRRR – you’re a HashDragon.

It’s really not that cool.

So you think it’s pretty cool thinking to keep slapping tons of Twitter hashtags (used to tagging subjects in social media)in each Twitter message? You’re wrong. It’s hurting you.

Lets look at the simplest reason why. Here’s an example of a well written ad and an example of a terrible way to write the same ad:

Good ad:

Infographics on how companies like Kraft Foods, Nokia, Lexus, Ogilvy use crowdsourcing at Springleap springleap.com/pages/stimorol

Bad ad:

#Infographics on how companies like Kraft Foods, Nokia, Lexus, Ogilvy use #crowdsourcing at @Springleap springleap.com/pages/stimorol

So why?

Your knee-jerk response is: well, the bad ad is actually great! After all, it should get the ad listed and found under a few subjects now. Right? Well, yes, but that is the least likely conversion to occur.

In social media, the best conversions occur within your immediate strong network. Your 1st degree of separation network are the most likely to be aware of your stream and happy to seed, share and link your posts/ ads. #FACT. – That’s where your sphere of influence is strongest. Consequently this is also where you will find the best sharing of your important messages as your reputation is most powerful here. It would make sense that you should be gunning for them to CLICK ON THE LINK. THAT IS THE FOREMOST REAL CONVERSION THAT MATTERS when wanting to drive user conversion on a site.

why Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion

Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion – they seem attractive but divide your meaningful conversion.

Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion

When you add hashtags and @<usernames> you add new items that become hyperlinked and dilute your chance of your link in the ad being clicked. So add a hashtag – that’s 50% chance our link will be clicked. Add an @<username> (even your own) and  now the user could:

1. Click on your username and focus on following you or reading more of your content. Not the conversion you wanted and also may not occur. THAT’S MORE RISK. That alone is reason enough why Twitter hashtags hurt your ad conversion.

2. Click on the hashtag and follow a completely new trail of social media breadcrunbs

3. or, click on your link.

You’ve just accomplished 2 things: You’ve created confusion and obstruction to the user doing what you want them to do… and decreased your chance at conversion by at least 33.3%. That sucks.

In Twitter ads you pay per engagement.

What’s an engagement? An engagement is a follow, retweet, dm, or a click on any item in the ad. Not only will hashtags create a loss in conversion, they will actually cost you money per click. That’s pain.

Not all bad! – Hashtags have their uses.

Hashtags can play an important part of a much bigger strategy where you’re looking to establish a subject matter that your brand tacitly becomes associated with. That’s a great campaign strategy or a good longtail strategy. In the short-term, however – when clicks mean sales or real conversions that count – reduce the noise and drive the click to one single-pointed purpose.


Eran Eyal
Eran Eyal
Eran is the founder and CEO of Shopin and StartupHat, Springleap, Evly (acquired), iDea (acquired), eSquared (acquired).


  1. I’ve been waiting for this article to be written. I’ve secretly believed that increased hastags would result in negative marketing outcomes but couldn’t write it because I was unable to successfully establish the required logical, statistical evidence in a clear, concise “longtail strategy” manner as presented here. Beautiful and simply useful. Thanks Much.

    • eraneyal says:

      Thank you – there is a deep psychology to understanding user reactions to call to actions and dilution of messaging. Ad strategies, organic strategies & partner strategies differ extensively. I will expand on this soon.

  2. maria says:

    Here here. Why do you want people to LEAVE your post? Confusing and counter-productive.

    • eraneyal says:

      Indeed – 1 path of conversion is what is key.

      1. Understand who the user is
      2. Know what you want them to do
      3. Put the shortest path between these two in place
      4. Don’t place distractions or things that can allow the traffic to leak.

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