The Instagram hashtag can be a pretty powerful thing. 

As with other social platforms, tags are used on Instagram for descriptive purposes, typically appending a caption with words that are relevant to the image’s content. Look, my cat is swatting at a turkey sandwich. #cat #cute #sandwich #slap #food #lol. Pretty standard stuff, right? 

See Also: #Me: Instagram Narcissism And The Scourge Of The Selfie

Instagram hashtags can also be surprisingly effective in fueling content discovery, helping users get more exposure for the photos they take. Tagging images with the right terms at the right time can also lead to an uptick of likes and new followers

So what are the most popular tags?

It changes over time, and it can actually be interesting to watch trends spike and then fall out of favor on Instagram. In June, #tweegram was the third most-popular tag, but has since slid down the list to number 16. #summer is no longer in the top 10, for obvious reasons. The hashtag #me has grown more popular in the last seven months, suggesting that Instagrammers may be getting even more narcissistic than they already were. 

While some tags fluctuate, others remain popular over time. Tags like #love and #cute are among the most frequently used, while people evidently haven’t gotten sick of tagging things with #photooftheday

If you were expecting #cats, #powerlines or #food to break the top ten, you may be in for a surprise. 

10. #girl

Photo by fashionstyleparison

9. #picoftheday

Photo by krad1469 

8. #beautiful

Photo by emmafudd72.

7. #instamood

Photo by mordyisrael

6. #photooftheday

Photo by tomwebstax.

5. #tbt  (Throwback Thursday)

Photo by justlikenonna. 

4. #cute

Photo by snoreborewhoree

3. #me

Photo by jonasbarcellos.

2. #instagood

Photo by wait4it.

1. #love

Photo by koolmello.