Short captions Vs Long Captions – which team are you?

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through a social media platform, you come across a truly scroll stopping image and go to read the caption but it’s really, really long? What do you do? 

I have to confess that sometimes, I keep scrolling.

And some research has found that I’m not alone with this. 

It also turns out that the reaction to different caption lengths is dependent on many different elements also. 

What makes a difference?

After reading up on this and from my own experience, these things can affect how a caption length is received (aka read):

The content – is it entertaining or is it educational? Chances are an educational post could benefit from a longer caption.

The message – what message is being conveyed? Is a longer or shorter caption required to convey it to the audience?

The platform – some platforms allow for longer captions than others. You’re never going to get a super long caption on Twitter, although you can create a thread. Here’s a quick guide to caption limits and ideal caption length:

The account – what kind of an account are you and what is your purpose? For example, if you’re a lifestyle brand or influencer and are trying to gain trust in your followers by telling stories then longer captions may be more suitable. 

The audience – As always you must know your audience and what works well with them. If they are super busy, will they have time to read long captions or do they want the information immediately?

The layout – If you do choose to include longer captions, try to make them as readable as possible. Use bullet points (emojis work for this or use the keyboard shortcut ALT+0149)

Which captions team am I in? 

As a personal preference I am Team Short because I like to have the information in front of me (busy or lazy, you decide). Because of this I’ve been experimenting with using shorter captions across my social media. It’s always worth testing which works best for you and for your audience.

Although I totally get why people use longer captions as it can be necessary. I think it’s always worth keeping these 6 areas in mind.

And remember, you can add text to photos / Reels and you can use carousel posts to get your message across also.