Wednesday May 19, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Do Long Captions Get More Engagement on Instagram?

As a result of Instagram was designed as a visible medium, it’s arduous to know simply how a lot the captions really matter.

Positive, you can write as much as 2,200 characters in your caption… however ought to you?

In spite of everything, an ideal caption doesn’t simply describe what’s occurring within the photograph. It’s your likelihood to precise your self to your followers and (hopefully) drive engagement within the course of.

Does the algorithm reward wordy posts? Do individuals like to twist up and lose themselves in an excellent caption? …Or does a prolonged caption simply spur followers to maintain scrolling?

Just one option to discover out: sacrificing my personal account to the Insta-gods for a collection of elaborate and public experiments! (I assume my Pulitzer is coming within the mail?)

Let’s DO THIS.

Hypothesis: Instagram posts with longer captions get more engagement

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 feel longer captions present higher engagement on Instagram. There may be solely a lot data, copy, and context you may put in a picture,” says Brayden.

In his expertise, longer captions provide a chance to get extra artistic and add readability. Having longer captions supplies your viewers with extra data round a subject. That is particularly useful because it’s arduous so as to add hyperlinks on Instagram.

“Typically all you’ve got is your Instagram caption to seize your viewers’s consideration and educate them with useful 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 essentially the most likes and feedback close to the highest of your followers’ feeds, so for one of the best likelihood of rising your viewers, give your present viewers what they need! Which is… longer captions! Most likely! We’re about to search out out.


To see if lengthy captions garner extra likes and feedback than brief captions, I posted three pairs of thematically themed photographs to my private Instagram account. Every pair of images contained related visible content material, so I might examine engagement as pretty as doable.

That meant I posted two images of cherry blossoms, two panorama photographs, and two selfies (that includes what you may generously name “assertion” sweaters). One photograph in every pair received a brief caption, and the opposite received a protracted 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 have to click on ‘extra’ can also be thought-about lengthy for me,” he instructed me.

This appears in keeping with different social media specialists’ notion of a “lengthy” caption, so I made positive all of mine have been between 90 and 130 phrases.

I made a decision the “brief” captions could be just some phrases: one sentence, now not than one line.

Right here’s a breakdown of all of the lengths and character rely, for these retaining rating at residence:

Cherry blossoms 95 phrases (470 characters) 4 phrases (27 characters)
Panorama 115 phrases (605 characters) 2 phrases (12 characters)
Cool sweaters 129 phrases (703 characters) 11 phrases (65 characters)

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 is not going to 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 received extra likes in two of the three cases.

photo with longer caption has more likesFor 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 acquired a good variety of likes — but it surely was radio silence within the feedback part.

shorter captions likes but no comments

For my second spherical of comparisons, I used two landscape-y photographs. My longer caption was a little bit of a private reflection on the quantity of strolling I’ve performed through the pandemic: I additionally beneficial a selected park, and requested others to share their favorites. I acquired a handful of feedback in return, and every was very private and attentive to what I had written — I felt seen!

In the meantime, my short-caption seashore photograph received a couple of extra likes, however only a single remark… which was asking if I used to be performing some kind of A/B testing. (I really feel seen once more… however not in a great way this time, oops.)

comparison of engagement between two sweater photos

Two superb sweaters (shout out to Fashion Brand Company and OkayOk!), two very completely different caption lengths. Although I actually felt the love from my followers for each of those posts, the prolonged egg sweater submit was the clear winner right here, with 50 further likes and 20 further feedback.

After all, there are any variety of components that go into whether or not somebody likes or feedback on a submit — possibly individuals simply typically choose eggs to sprinkles?— so take all of this with a grain of salt.

That being mentioned, there’s undoubtedly a sample of engagement right here throughout all of those images that correlates with the longer captions.

Listed below are the outcomes, sorted by likes:

posts table results by likes

And sorted by feedback:

posts table results by comments

What do the outcomes imply?

TL;DR: Longer captions drive engagement, particularly relating to feedback.

Whereas this clearly was not an ideal experiment, by trying on the outcomes of pairs of equally themed images I might examine apples to apples. And in every pair, I discovered that the posts with longer captions collected extra likes and plenty 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 value it.)

There are many best practices for writing engaging Instagram posts of any size, however I feel with longer posts, you’ve got 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 individuals to chime in and reply. Possibly it was simply seeing that I’d put within the time to draft 250 phrases that prompted individuals to take the time to learn it: I need to actually have one thing to say if I’ve spent the time and power to say it!

Like all of these experiments, it is a very small pattern dimension… and each model is exclusive! So don’t take my phrase for it. Check out some longer captions along with your subsequent few posts, analyze the outcomes, and learn from what you see.

You’ve received nothing to lose by experimenting along 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 may schedule and publish posts, have interaction your viewers, and get helpful knowledge from experiments like this. Attempt it free in the present day.

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