Ideal Social Media
Copy Length.

In this section, we wanted to discover the best way to write copy for social media.

Crafting a social media posts requires you to carefully consider how many words you should use to communicate your message. Too many words and your audience might just continue scrolling; too few words and your audience might miss the message altogether. And, of course, it all depends on the social media network.

Often times, social media experts say longer content performs better on LinkedIn while short captions do better on Instagram. But, is that really the case?

To answer the question: how does copy length impact post performance? We analyzed over 1.1 million social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to figure out how the character count of copy used in captions impact the reach and engagement of a post.

Instagram

Post Reach Based on Character Count

On Instagram, posts with under 50 characters had the most unpaid reach on average at 4,935. Posts with 1,000-1,050 characters had the lowest average unpaid reach at 1,031.

The overall trend on Instagram was that shorter copy tended to reach more people. There was a significant decline with each additional character added from 50-200 characters, and then a leveling off of average reach in posts with 200 characters or more. There was a bump in reach for posts from 500-700 characters, then a few seemingly random spikes in the 900-1,200 character range.

The main learning here is that short, sweet captions were most effective at reaching a large audience on Instagram. Among longer posts, 500-700 characters was a sweet spot. Social media pros should try out character limits in these ranges and check if they also see an increase in average reach over time.

Instagram

Engagement by Character Count

Posts with under 50 characters had the most total engagements on average, while posts with 1,000-1,050 characters got the least average total engagements. In general, shorter copy appeared to have higher average total engagements on Instagram than longer copy.

Similarly to the trend in reach by copy length, there was a consistent drop in engagement totals from 0-200 characters, then relative stability followed by a bump in average total engagement from 500-700 characters.

So, it looks like the shorter the Instagram post, the more users both saw and interacted with it. Keeping character counts low can keep the focus on your images and videos, which is ideal on such a visually-driven platform. Social media pros should keep this in mind and strive to keep copy under 200 characters.

Linkedin

Reach Based on Character Count

On LinkedIn, posts with 500-600 characters got the most impressions on average, while posts with 100-200 characters got the least.

However, there wasn’t a clear trend in the data, as posts with 0-100 characters had the second-highest average impressions and posts with 200-300, 400-500, and 600-700 characters had similar average impressions. So, it appears that the copy length of a LinkedIn post does not seem to be strongly related to how many impressions it receives.

That being said, 500-600 characters may be a sweet spot for social media pros looking to reach as many users on the platform as possible. It’s worth testing posts in this range to see if it affects performance.

Linkedin

Engagement Based on Character Count

Posts with 500-600 characters had the highest average total engagements, followed by posts with 600-700 characters. Meanwhile, posts with 100-200 characters and 200-300 characters had the lowest average total engagements.

This data suggests that while posts under 100 characters got a decent number of engagements on average, longer posts got more engagement on LinkedIn overall. In particular, it appears that posts 300 characters or longer saw a bump in engagement. This may be because LinkedIn users are looking for more in-depth, insightful content than users on other platforms.

Whatever the reason for this trend, social media pros should test out longer posts on LinkedIn if they want to maximize total engagement. In particular, posts with 500-600 characters performed the best in terms of average impressions and average total engagements.

2019 Social Media Data Report.

How do hashtags affect post engagement? If you want to understand how hashtags influence post reach and engagement, then download our latest report.