What Reels Caption Size Will get the Greatest Engagement?

You’ve toiled away in your edits, filters and sound clips in your newest Instagram Reel and are virtually able to hit put up… however then you definitely hit the caption subject. Time for an existential disaster.

Must you simply toss in a couple of hashtags and name it a day? Or is it time to wax poetic with a mini-essay? (Don’t overlook your third possibility: simply delete the draft and throw your cellphone within the ocean.) Abruptly, a enjoyable alternative to share on social media has grow to be a chance to query every part.

In terms of Instagram Reels captions, it’s onerous to know simply how a lot is an excessive amount of — will a prolonged caption assist or damage your engagement?

Nicely, when you beloved my story on whether long captions work better on Instagram than short ones, contemplate this the sequel and buckle up.

It’s time to discover out the perfect size of an Instagram Reel caption the one means we all know how: by spamming my poor, unsuspecting Instagram followers with content material and taking some candy candy notes.

Let the science start.

Hypothesis: Reels with long captions get more engagement and reach

Famed designer Coco Chanel once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” While pared-down minimalism may be the way to go for fashion, when it comes to Instagram, it sometimes seems like more is more.

At least that was the case for my last caption experiment. Evaluating super-short captions and prolonged, detailed ones, we discovered that longer captions overwhelmingly led to larger engagement on Instagram Posts.

Our speculation is that Instagram Reels can be no completely different. (Need an Instagram Reels crash course? Here! You! Go!) In any case, with Instagram Posts, longer captions offered extra info, extra alternatives to attach with followers, and higher search engine optimization.

Presumably, all of these advantages will even be true of Reels. However why presume after I can spend a weekend crafting 10 Instagram Reels and utilizing them as charming bait to seek out out the reality? Time to place my caption-craft to the check.


To check out the perfect size for an Instagram Reels put up, I posted 5 movies with longer (125+ phrases). I additionally posted 5 movies with a short, primary one-line description.

reels brief caption two words

I made a decision that each the long-caption and short-caption movies must be fairly comparable so as to be sure that the content material itself wasn’t a think about any engagement.

As a result of I lately accomplished an elaborate renovation and am simply itching to speak about it for hours at a time with anybody who dares to face nonetheless sufficient to hear, I made a decision that before-and-after content material was the best way to go.

I made a pair movies about my bed room (one with a protracted caption, one with a brief one), one concerning the lavatory, and so forth.

kitchen before and after short caption

lengthy caption about bedroom

For every video, I grabbed a special trending sound, simply to verify Instagram didn’t suppose I used to be being too spammy.

I additionally wished to do that to faucet into the facility of the Instagram Reels algorithm, which tends to spice up movies that embrace music clips.

Stacey McLachlan Instagram reels plays

Ten movies went out into the world. After I checked again 48 hours later to see how they’d fared, right here’s what I discovered.


TLDR: Instagram Reels with shorter captions acquired larger engagement and additional attain.

Whereas Instagram Posts with longer captions acquired larger engagement in our final experiment, I used to be shocked to see that shorter captions have been extra profitable when it got here to Instagram Reels.

  Reels with Lengthy Captions Reels with Quick Captions
Whole Likes 4 56
Whole Feedback 1 2
Whole Attain 615 665

I suppose I didn’t must spend all that point composing lengthy captions in spite of everything. However whereas these are minutes I’ll by no means get again, the teachings of my previous grow to be the knowledge of my future. (And I’m not upset in any respect that completely unbelievable inspirational phrase I simply coined is probably going too lengthy and wordy to ever use as a caption for a Reel.)

What do the outcomes imply?

As with all of those experiments, these outcomes must be taken with a grain of salt. I solely left my Reels up for 2 days, and clearly they have been closely centered on one particular subject.

It’s very attainable that one other sort of Reel with one other viewers would’ve fared otherwise. I didn’t even use hashtags right here, in order that additionally might have impacted my attain.

However I feel there are some key takeaways right here — particularly that you simply’re higher off spending your time honing your enhancing abilities than composing the proper bon mot.

Reels are for skimming, Posts are for deep-dives

Reels, like TiKTok, are designed for discovery — so the individuals viewing them might not be your greatest followers or cousins who really feel an obligation to observe you again.

That might be the reason as to why long-caption Posts did so significantly better than long-caption Reels. In case your viewers is simply watching your content material to eat as a part of an limitless stream of quick-to-digest video content material, a sturdy caption isn’t going so as to add a lot to the expertise.

Inform your story with the content material, not the caption

With Reels, it looks as if it’s finest if the caption provides supplementary materials, not a full-on backstory.

Make sure that your video can stand alone, and is sensible even with out the context of a caption: if somebody doesn’t learn it, they need to nonetheless really feel like they acquired all the important thing takeaways. (Searching for some suggestions for creating stand-out Instagram Reels? We’ve acquired you coated.)

Faucet into the search engine optimization energy of captions

Simply because captions aren’t essentially the most charming aspect of your Reel, doesn’t imply you must simply depart that subject clean. The caption is a chance to plug in a number of sturdy key phrases and hashtags, to extend your likelihood of discoverability. Even when no human being ever reads your caption, the search index sure will.

In fact, everybody’s social media account is a singular and particular butterfly, so your mileage might range. The gorgeous factor, although, is that it prices you nothing to experiment for your self with how captions (or if captions!) be just right for you and your personal social media goals. When you’ve poured your coronary heart into crafting the perfect Instagram Reel, a intelligent caption is admittedly simply icing on the cake.

Take the stress off real-time posting with Reels scheduling from Hootsuite. Schedule, put up, and see what’s working and what’s not with easy-to-use analytics that make it easier to activate viral mode.

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