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.

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

In spite of everything, an important caption doesn’t simply describe what’s occurring 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 individuals like to curve up and lose themselves in a great caption? …Or does a prolonged caption simply spur followers to maintain scrolling?

Just one strategy 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.

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.

“Total, I feel 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 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 gotten is your Instagram caption to seize your viewers’s consideration and educate them with priceless 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 the perfect likelihood of rising your viewers, give your current viewers what they need! Which is… longer captions! In all probability! We’re about to search out out.


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

That meant I posted two photographs 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 an extended caption.

For the needs of this experiment, I went with Brayden’s definition of “lengthy”: “I might say any captions with greater than three line breaks is taken into account lengthy in my books. Any caption the place it is advisable click on ‘extra’ can also be thought of lengthy for me,” he informed me.

This appears in step with different social media consultants’ notion of a “lengthy” caption, so I made certain all of mine had been between 90 and 130 phrases.

I made a decision the “quick” captions can 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 closing 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 photographs, I used my lengthy caption to “clap again” in opposition to those that sneer at cherry blossom photographs. A daring stance, I do know, and one which was rewarded by many supportive feedback.

My shorter caption acquired an honest 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 achieved through the pandemic: I additionally really helpful a specific park, and requested others to share their favorites. I acquired 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 seashore photograph received a number of extra likes, however only a single remark… which was asking if I used to be doing a little 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 wonderful sweaters (shout out to Fashion Brand Company and OkayOk!), two very completely different caption lengths. Although I definitely felt the love from my followers for each of those posts, the prolonged egg sweater publish was the clear winner right here, with 50 further likes and 20 further feedback.

In fact, there are any variety of components that go into whether or not somebody likes or feedback on a publish — perhaps individuals simply typically want 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 photographs that correlates with the longer captions.

Listed here 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 on the subject of feedback.

Whereas this clearly was not an ideal experiment, by wanting on the outcomes of pairs of equally themed photographs I might evaluate apples to apples. And in every pair, I discovered that the posts with longer captions collected extra likes and lots of extra feedback than quick captions.

(The opposite necessary lesson I realized… is that folks 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 feel 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 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 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 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 (until 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. Strive it free at the moment.

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