Do Long Captions Get More Engagement on Instagram?
Is the long caption trend here to stay but more importantly, is it effective?
Long captions have become a popular trend on both personal and professional posts on Instagram. As with many things on the platform, it is difficult to decipher if it is a trend or a key component for more engagement. These longer “microblogging” type captions seem to conflict with what we have known about what works for the Instagram algorithm, however, is this new trend here to stay?
What are the benefits of using longer captions?
One of the fundamental rules of making a scroll-stopping image is ensuring that it is clean, precise and only has the key information on it. Thus, one of the benefits of long captions is the ability to expand on more information and add some more value to the post.
While most companies see more engagement with longer copy, it is in tandem with effective imagery and most importantly copy that engages their audience.
Long captions have the potential for more engagement but it has to meet certain criteria. Here are some examples of how long copy can be effective:
For some brands, storytelling is their way of conveying their brand identity. Even with amazing visuals, there is a limit to what a brand can communicate within a post. Consequently, captions allow them to expand on the story being told in the image, but most importantly, it allows the brand to directly engage with its audience.
For example, Nike produces high-quality videos that portray their sponsored athletes and their stories of endurance, strength, and mentality. However, even with the high-quality videos that are often voiced by the athletes themselves, they still have a minimum of 90 words in their copy.
In their captions, they can add more context to the story but, they also combine this with a powerful call to action (CTA) or engage with questions for their audience.
Instagram Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTSvhRHh43I/
2. Building a Relationship with Your Audience
For many companies building a relationship with their audience is vital. Long captions allow businesses to build brand affinity and loyalty with their audience through engagement. Longer captions are known to get more comments, especially when they are engaging in nature and relevant to the intended audience’s interest.
A great example of this is the magazine, The Cut. While they use images and minimally edited photos, they expand on stories about the entertainment industry, fashion and lifestyle topics in their captions. However, you will find it difficult to find any of their posts without a minimum of 500 comments.
Why is this you ask? Well, The Cut always ensures to make their post light-hearted, funny and always with a CTA to read more. In fact, scholars have cited that the use of humour is one of the prime mechanisms to create spreadable content online. They perfectly balance humour, concise synopsis of the story and a CTA that indicates that there is more to learn in the article.
A perfect combination for their millennial and predominantly female audience.
Instagram Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTpZr9eL607/
3. Test What Works for You
Even with the examples above, finding your brand voice is not a one size fits all approach. A good caption, however, must emulate your brand voice, give context (example: the price, where to buy the product, compelling story-telling images) and/or a call to action. Companies have to test various types of captions and see how they perform with their particular audience.
Therefore, longer captions are effective when they work alongside good imagery and an in-depth understanding of your audience.
Stay tuned to Connective Pros, on Facebook & Instagram we have an upcoming blog about what makes scroll stopping content at all levels of the social media creation process.