As a result of Instagram was designed as a visible medium, it’s exhausting 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 any case, an ideal 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 twist up and lose themselves in caption? …Or does a prolonged caption simply spur followers to maintain scrolling?
Just one technique 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.
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.
“Total, I feel longer captions present higher engagement on Instagram. There may be solely a lot info, 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 gives your viewers with extra info round a subject. That is particularly useful because it’s exhausting so as to add hyperlinks on Instagram.
“Typically all you’ve is your Instagram caption to seize your viewers’s consideration and educate them with worthwhile content material,” he provides.
Realizing the size of Instagram captions that your viewers prefers is essential for maximizing your attain. Instagram’s algorithm is more likely to place posts with essentially the most likes and feedback close to the highest of your followers’ feeds, so for the very best 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 quick captions, I posted three pairs of thematically themed pictures to my private Instagram account. Every pair of pictures contained related visible content material, so I may examine engagement as pretty as potential.
That meant I posted two pictures of cherry blossoms, two panorama pictures, and two selfies (that includes what you may generously name “assertion” sweaters). One photograph in every pair obtained a brief caption, and the opposite obtained a protracted 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 you should click on ‘extra’ can also be thought of lengthy for me,” he informed me.
This appears according to 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 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 conserving rating at residence:
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 normally disclose in skilled experiments: likes from my Mother won’t be included within the remaining 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 obtained extra likes in two of the three cases.
For my cherry blossom pictures, I used my lengthy caption to “clap again” towards those that sneer at cherry blossom pictures. A daring stance, I do know, and one which was rewarded by many supportive feedback.
My shorter caption acquired 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 throughout 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 attentive to what I had written — I felt seen!
In the meantime, my short-caption seashore photograph obtained just a few 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.)
Two wonderful 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 publish 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 publish — perhaps individuals simply typically choose eggs to sprinkles?— so take all of this with a grain of salt.
That being mentioned, there’s positively a sample of engagement right here throughout all of those pictures 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 relation to feedback.
Whereas this clearly was not an ideal experiment, by trying on the outcomes of pairs of equally themed pictures I may 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 quick captions.
(The opposite vital lesson I discovered… is that folks actually love my sweater assortment. So sure, I’d say this experiment was positively value it.)
There are many best practices for writing engaging Instagram posts of any size, however I feel with longer posts, you’ve 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 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 along with your subsequent few posts, analyze the outcomes, and learn from what you see.
You’ve obtained 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 may schedule and publish posts, have interaction your viewers, and get helpful knowledge from experiments like this. Attempt it free right this moment.
Simply create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts with Hootsuite. Save time and get outcomes.
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