July 5, 2018 · 4:48 pm

Is it Better to Have Longer or Shorter Posts to Drive Engagement?

We examine if longer or shorter posts are best to drive engagement with your audience.

By Kelly Johnson

This question has probably come up several times when you’re writing a social media post: How long should posts be to drive maximum engagement?

Is longer better? Or is keeping it short the way to go?

Previously, social media best practices dictated that posts needed to be short and catchy. And, the conventional wisdom was that users’ collective attention spans were too short to consume too much content.

However, some social networks are challenging that assumption and have expanded their word counts so that posts can be longer to drive engagement.

We took an in-depth look at each platform to determine the best length for posts to drive engagement. Here’s what we’ve found.

Ideal Length for Instagram Posts and Sponsored Content

Instagram posts will accept up to 2,200 characters. However, you’ll notice that the top brands have posts that are short.

Since Instagram’s focus is on visual content, the shorter the post, the better. Focus on creating snappy captions, since your followers will tend to scroll through feeds quickly —  an attention-grabbing post with relevant hashtags will stand out.

For sponsored posts, Instagram recommends 125 characters or less for the caption, not including hashtags.

Ideal Length for Facebook Posts and Ads

You need to strike a balance between a caption that is not too long and not too short.  Longer posts might be ignored, and shorter posts could be passed over because there’s not enough content.

For example, Facebook posts with 80 characters receive 66 percent higher engagement than longer ones.  What’s more, posts with only 40 characters generate 86 percent higher engagement.

For Facebook ads, the platform will truncate your text if it’s too long. Top brands use 14 words or less in their ad copy, and five words or less in the headline to get the best engagement. So, keep the ad copy and headlines on the shorter side for the best results.

Ideal Length for Twitter Posts and Ads

Twitter increased the word count of tweets to 280 characters last year — a boon for some who thought the original 140-word count was too limiting.

In fact, Twitter increased the word count after testing out expanded tweets with users and finding that engagement increased on some of the longer tweets.

However, after the rollout of expanded tweets, shorter tweets still tend to perform better.

Tweets containing 130 characters or less (with a maximum of three relevant hashtags) garnered twice as much engagement than their longer posts.

Twitter ads will still need to adhere to the 140-word count, so try to keep those on the shorter side.

Sensai’s A.I. driven platform can give you intelligence on which posts (either longer or shorter) have performed the best so you can adjust your social media marketing strategy as necessary. To learn more, check out our “How it Works” page.