This year Instagram captions are taking center stage on the platform.
You might have spotted influencers sharing micro-blog style captions on their posts to give greater insight into their world or to share their knowledge.
Even brands are sharing their behind-the-scenes and company values in lengthy Instagram captions.
But just how much are Instagram captions growing? And what’s the optimal Instagram caption length for engagement in 2021?
We answer these questions and more in our guide to the optimal Instagram caption length for 2021:
Why Instagram Captions Matter
Photos and videos have always come first on Instagram but, oftentimes, it’s the caption that makes or breaks a post.
That’s because the “story” you tell on Instagram is just as important as the images and videos you share – it provides context, adds personality, and can even inspire your followers to take action.
Captions are a powerful tool that can be used to encourage likes, comments, and even visits to your website. And if your post gets enough engagement, it might even end up on the Explore page!
What’s more, captions are a huge opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your audience. For brands and influencers, lengthy captions that champion story-telling and authenticity are driving great results.
These kinds of long-form captions are great because they allow your audience to learn more about you, your brand, and your mission.
Of course, what you put in your caption (including how much you write) really depends on the content you’re sharing, the occasion, and your brand.
For example, if you’re sharing a simple lifestyle post, a short and snappy caption might be best.
In any case, you can’t afford to leave your captions as an afterthought!
While creating beautiful content for your feed is ultra important, if you want to get more engagement on your posts, and maybe even reach new audiences, writing good Instagram captions that drive engagement is a great strategy.
And that’s exactly why we teamed up with Elise Darma – she’s sharing all her industry and insider tips in our free caption writing workshop.
What is the Best Instagram Caption Length in 2021?
One of the biggest trends to hit Instagram in 2020 was creators and brands tapping into the power of long-form captions to engage and connect with their followers – and we only expect this trend to continue in 2021!
But just how much are Instagram captions growing?
Well, according to research by Fohr, the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016.
And in 2021, our feeds will be filled with an average caption length of 405 characters — which averages out to be 65-70 words!
Not sure what that looks like? Check out Sarah Nicole Landry from @thebirdspapaya. Her highly descriptive captions often clock in at 100 words or more.
Speaking at #LaterCon, Sarah Nicole shared that in the last two years, @thebirdspapaya account has grown from 70K to 1.9M followers! She credits that HUGE growth in part to spending more time crafting long-form captions.
“Once I started to put value in the written word, I began to see a huge return,” explains Sarah. “I’d put up a post with a short snappy caption and then put up a similar post with a long-form caption. I saw so much more engagement and shares on the long-form post.
For brands, in particular, this can be a really great opportunity for storytelling that goes beyond product information and builds a much stronger brand affinity with your influencer’s audience.
The good news is that longer influencer captions result in higher engagement rates, which means a greater return for brands investing in an influencer marketing strategy.
The data shows that influencers’ posts with longer captions generally had a higher engagement rate than those with a shorter caption – showing that the more you share, the better the engagement!
A higher engagement rate not only means that your content is hitting the mark with your audience, but it also helps with its overall discoverability.
The more engagement a post gets, the more likely it will appear on the Explore page or higher up in your followers’ feeds. So writing longer captions could be the trick to not only building a deeper affinity with your audience but also for generating a better ROI on your posts.
Just check out Later’s Instagram account to see our advice in action! Our captions are usually quite long, descriptive, and, above all, educational.
If you’re not sure what the best Instagram caption length is for your brand, start by tapping out at least 70 words for your caption and keep an eye on your engagement rates!
From analyzing influencer data with Fohr, to paying close attention to our own Instagram analytics and monitoring Instagram trends, we think the best caption length is…long!
Following Fohr’s analysis, start by aiming for a caption length around the 70 words mark — it might seem like a lot at first, but you’ll soon get into the swing of sharing and you might see an uptick in your engagement.
From here, you can decide if you want to write more or less, but what’s important is that you tell more of your story in your Instagram captions in 2021.
Of course, we aren’t saying that every caption needs to be a novel. Sometimes, a short caption is all you need – it really depends on your brand and the content you’re sharing.
For example, the direct-to-consumer outdoor brand @finisterreuk often switches between long, descriptive captions and shorter captions:
The same is true for women’s fashion brand @thisiswhistles, which likes to mix and match long-form captions with quick one-liners:
At the end of the day, what’s most important is that your audience is engaging with your content!
We recommend giving the long-form caption trend a try. If you start to see engagement improve, you know you’re onto a recipe for success. If not, at least you’ll know that short and snappy captions resonate with your audience better.
Ready to start planning your Instagram content? Plan, save and schedule your posts with Later (for free!).
How to Improve Your Instagram Captions with Later
We’ve all been there: you’re ready to post an amazing photo to Instagram, but when it comes time to enter your caption, you’re stumped. What to write?!
So what’s a marketer to do?
One of the biggest reasons people have trouble writing Instagram captions is because they try to do it on the fly, which definitely isn’t ideal.
Instead of jumping from task to task, it’s much more efficient to write your Instagram captions in one solid writing session so you can really get in the zone!
Whether it’s the first thing on Monday morning or your last task before the weekend, carve out some time and dedicate it just to writing your captions.
If you want to get organized with captions, you can plan your Instagram posts ahead of time with Later’s Saved Captions feature! With the Saved Captions feature, you can create templates to save ideas, captions, notes, and hashtags (if you use them!).
When it’s time to schedule, simply select one of your Saved Captions to add it to your post.
If you want to reap the benefits of using Instagram hashtags in your caption, but don’t want to cram them in, you can use Later’s Instagram First Comment Scheduling feature.
Posting your hashtags in the first comment is a great way to make your caption the star of the show, without compromising any of the engagement you can get with hashtags.
But the first Instagram comment you schedule with Later isn’t limited to adding hashtags — you can add whatever text you like.
Whether you want to kick start a conversation, ask questions to your audience or even reveal a competition winner in your first comment, Later’s got you covered!
You can even add line breaks to your Instagram captions with Later, which is a great way to keep them easy to digest, even when you’ve got several points to make!
With Later, all you have to do is press the return key while writing your caption and you’ll have lovely, spaced out captions for your Instagram posts!
Coming up with long Instagram captions might seem hard but it’s totally worth the effort when you consider the benefits.
Whether you’re an e-commerce brand selling products or a blogger sharing content, give the long-form Instagram caption trend a try – it could be a game-changer for your Instagram engagement!
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