As a result of Instagram was designed as a visible medium, it’s exhausting to know simply how a lot the captions really matter.
Certain, you can write as much as 2,200 characters in your caption… however ought to you?
In any case, a fantastic caption doesn’t simply describe what’s taking place within the photograph. It’s your likelihood to specific your self to your followers and (hopefully) drive engagement within the course of.
Does the algorithm reward wordy posts? Do folks like to curve up and lose themselves in caption? …Or does a prolonged caption simply spur followers to maintain scrolling?
Just one solution to discover out: sacrificing my personal account to the Insta-gods for a sequence of elaborate and public experiments! (I assume my Pulitzer is coming within the mail?)
Let’s DO THIS.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
There are a lot of people smarter than me who suspect that longer captions get more engagement. I know this because I asked Brayden Cohen, who is on Hootsuite’s social marketing team and manages the @hootsuite Instagram account.
“General, I believe longer captions present higher engagement on Instagram. There’s solely a lot data, copy, and context you possibly can put in a picture,” says Brayden.
In his expertise, longer captions supply a chance to get extra inventive and add readability. Having longer captions offers your viewers with extra data round a subject. That is particularly useful because it’s exhausting so as to add hyperlinks on Instagram.
“Typically all you’ve gotten is your Instagram caption to seize your viewers’s consideration and educate them with helpful content material,” he provides.
Understanding the size of Instagram captions that your viewers prefers is essential for maximizing your attain. Instagram’s algorithm is prone to place posts with probably the most likes and feedback close to the highest of your followers’ feeds, so for the most effective likelihood of rising your viewers, give your current viewers what they need! Which is… longer captions! Most likely! We’re about to seek out out.
To see if lengthy captions garner extra likes and feedback than brief captions, I posted three pairs of thematically themed pictures to my private Instagram account. Every pair of images contained related visible content material, so I may examine engagement as pretty as doable.
That meant I posted two images of cherry blossoms, two panorama pictures, and two selfies (that includes what you may generously name “assertion” sweaters). One photograph in every pair bought a brief caption, and the opposite bought an extended caption.
For the needs of this experiment, I went with Brayden’s definition of “lengthy”: “I’d say any captions with greater than three line breaks is taken into account lengthy in my books. Any caption the place you want to click on ‘extra’ can also be thought-about lengthy for me,” he instructed me.
This appears in step with different social media specialists’ notion of a “lengthy” caption, so I made certain all of mine have been between 90 and 130 phrases.
I made a decision the “brief” captions could be only a few phrases: one sentence, not than one line.
Right here’s a breakdown of all of the lengths and character rely, for these preserving rating at dwelling:
I whipped up my captions, scheduled my posts on Hootsuite to exit over the course of a weekend, and sat again to attend for the likes and feedback to roll in.
(And as scientist’s often disclose in skilled experiments: likes from my Mother won’t be included within the ultimate tally.)
I let the posts sit in my Insta feed for a few weeks for good measure, after which I logged in to Hootsuite Analytics for the grand reveal.
In each case right here — sweater vs. sweater, panorama vs. panorama, and cherry blossoms vs. cherry blossoms — the photograph with the longer caption gathered extra feedback.
Moreover, the photograph with the longer caption bought extra likes in two of the three situations.
For my cherry blossom images, I used my lengthy caption to “clap again” in opposition to those that sneer at cherry blossom images. A daring stance, I do know, and one which was rewarded by many supportive feedback.
My shorter caption obtained an honest variety of likes — nevertheless it was radio silence within the feedback part.
For my second spherical of comparisons, I used two landscape-y pictures. My longer caption was a little bit of a private reflection on the quantity of strolling I’ve executed through the pandemic: I additionally beneficial a specific park, and requested others to share their favorites. I obtained a handful of feedback in return, and every was very private and conscious of what I had written — I felt seen!
In the meantime, my short-caption seaside photograph bought a number of extra likes, however only a single remark… which was asking if I used to be doing a little form of A/B testing. (I really feel seen once more… however not in a great way this time, oops.)
Two superb sweaters (shout out to Fashion Brand Company and OkayOk!), two very totally different caption lengths. Although I actually felt the love from my followers for each of those posts, the prolonged egg sweater put up was the clear winner right here, with 50 further likes and 20 further feedback.
In fact, there are any variety of elements that go into whether or not somebody likes or feedback on a put up — possibly folks simply usually desire eggs to sprinkles?— so take all of this with a grain of salt.
That being stated, there’s undoubtedly a sample of engagement right here throughout all of those images that correlates with the longer captions.
Listed here are the outcomes, sorted by likes:
And sorted by feedback:
TL;DR: Longer captions drive engagement, particularly in terms of feedback.
Whereas this clearly was not an ideal experiment, by trying on the outcomes of pairs of equally themed images I may examine apples to apples. And in every pair, I discovered that the posts with longer captions collected extra likes and lots of extra feedback than brief captions.
(The opposite vital lesson I realized… is that individuals actually love my sweater assortment. So sure, I’d say this experiment was undoubtedly price it.)
There are many best practices for writing engaging Instagram posts of any size, however I believe with longer posts, you’ve gotten extra of a chance to show authenticity or ask questions.
Having an extended write-up, even when I didn’t explicitly do a CTA for feedback, appeared to encourage folks to chime in and reply. Perhaps it was simply seeing that I’d put within the time to draft 250 phrases that prompted folks to take the time to learn it: I have to actually have one thing to say if I’ve spent the time and vitality to say it!
Like all of these experiments, it is a very small pattern measurement… and each model is exclusive! So don’t take my phrase for it. Check out some longer captions together with your subsequent few posts, analyze the outcomes, and learn from what you see.
You’ve bought nothing to lose by experimenting together with your caption size (except you’re Caroline Calloway, I suppose).
Publish lengthy captions on Instagram and all of your different social channels utilizing Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you possibly can schedule and publish posts, have interaction your viewers, and get helpful knowledge from experiments like this. Attempt it free at present.
Simply create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts with Hootsuite. Save time and get outcomes.
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