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.
And while celebrities like Kylie Jenner can get away with a single moon emoji as a caption, 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 2020?
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 by 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 1.7M followers! And credits that HUGE growth in part to spending more time crafting long-form captions.
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So much of self-love responsibility is placed on our shoulders. As if we are the problem. That our insecurities and the use of face and body altering apps is somehow the moral failure of us, individual in use of them. And I just want to see beyond that. I want to see industries that used language like “flawless” “ideal” “correction” and more. The publications that falsified images for decades so we believe them to be real. The celebrities we adore who have been pushed to be perfect or else make the front pages as imperfect, to be criticized over and over again to the millions of witnesses around the world. We mock them being flawed. We dissect them and ridicule them for attempting to be flawless. They are merely recycling what they’ve been taught and conditioned to believe. Now, not saying any of this is right. I think showcasing insta vs reality is key to us understanding it all and breaking down the facades that do exist from industries to celebrities to people like you and me. And I don’t think these apps are healthy for us. To look at our beautiful faces and consider how to make them better, is addictive and a false reality. One I lived in for a long time. And with all the shame in the world I don’t want to keep carrying what feels like weight of times I wasn’t ready for my own reality, and tainted by the feelings that I needed to be something more, just to be accepted into the society that molded many thoughts. We are flawed. On our skin. As humans. In our society. And you’re not a moral failure if you fell into the traps set for you. So grab a hand, get up, brush off your knees, give yourself some grace and tender love, and let’s just move on. Because you my dear, are not the problem 💕 (and I’m not sharing what app this so I don’t recycle the information)
“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.
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17 Tulum Bucketlist Experiences!!(SAVE THIS POST) Be on the beach during sunrise, sunset, and After-dark. Trust me. Drink the best mojito of your life(don’t @ me) with Fresh Sugar Cane at Batey Mojito Bar Spend a day Cenote-hopping! Dive in Cenote Calavera, Carwash, Jardin del Eden, Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote, Cenote Azul, Gran Cenote. Tour the ancient Tulum Ruins – the only Mayan ruins that overlook a (stunning) beach. Eat authentic Mexican Food in Tulum Centro. You can’t leave without trying Cochinita Pibil and Al Pastor Tacos. Stop by Taqueria Honorio, Antojitos de Chiapaneca, or Taqueria Don Beto. Swim with sea turtles in their natural habitat at Akumal. Pay for an overpriced(yet delicious) cocktail in the jungle. Take your pick at Gitano, Casa Jaguar, or Kin Toh. Go Green with healthy food at Charley’s Vegan Tacos, Raw Love, Laylo Vegan Lounge, or Matcha Mama. Sweat your *ss off while you bike around town!!! Witness wildlife at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve then drop into Ka’an for the ultimate culinary experience. Treat yo’ self to a niceeeee dinner reservation in the jungle at Arca, Hartwood, Rosa Negra, The Mexican Experience. Take a Day Trip away from Tulum. Theres so much to see in the area! Hit up a beach club by day a la Selina, Papaya Playa, La Eufemia, Taboo, Vagalume, Ahua, Habitas…the list goes on. Get in touch with your spiritual side at an ancient Temazcal ceremony, healing sound-bath, or meditation. Did you even go to Tulum if you didn’t do yoga on the beach? Wake up to the sounds of the ocean and live your best boho life at a beachfront villa, treehouse, or hotel at least ONCE. Embrace your inner basic b**** and take a photo at one of the structures/hotels as pictured. Just embrace it. While Tulum has indeed grown and changed ALOT since the very first time I visited four years ago, I’ve gotta admit that I still love it dearly. Did you enjoy this trip coverage? Anything else you’d add to the list? Check out my last post for things you need to know before visiting Tulum and head to the link in my bio for my ‘Tulum Travel Guide’ blog post! 💚
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!
Ready to get organized and plan out your Instagram content in advance? Start scheduling with Later. Sign up now – it’s free!
Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.