What Reels Caption Length Gets the Best Engagement?

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

Do you have to 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 neglect your third choice: simply delete the draft and throw your telephone in the ocean.) All of the sudden, a enjoyable alternative to share on social media has change into a chance to query all the pieces.

With regards to Instagram Reels captions, it’s arduous to know simply how a lot is an excessive amount of — will a prolonged caption assist or harm your engagement?

Effectively, should you cherished my story on whether long captions work better on Instagram than short ones, think about this the sequel and buckle up.

It’s time to discover out the ideally suited size of an Instagram Reel caption the solely manner 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 could be no totally different. (Need an Instagram Reels crash course? Here! You! Go!) In spite of everything, with Instagram Posts, longer captions offered extra info, extra alternatives to attach with followers, and higher search engine optimisation.

Presumably, all of these advantages may also be true of Reels. However why presume once I can spend a weekend crafting 10 Instagram Reels and utilizing them as fascinating bait to search out out the fact? Time to place my caption-craft to the check.


To check out the ideally suited size for an Instagram Reels publish, I posted 5 movies with longer (125+ phrases). I additionally posted 5 movies with a quick, primary one-line description.

reels brief caption two words

I made a decision that each the long-caption and short-caption movies needs to be fairly comparable with a purpose to make 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 pay attention, I made a decision that before-and-after content material was the option to go.

I made a pair movies about my bed room (one with an extended caption, one with a brief one), one about the rest room, and so forth.

kitchen before and after short caption

lengthy caption about bedroom

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

I additionally wished to do that to faucet into the energy of the Instagram Reels algorithm, which tends to spice up movies that embody 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 have to spend all that point composing lengthy captions in spite of everything. However whereas these are minutes I’ll by no means get again, the classes of my previous change into 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 needs to 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 kind of Reel with one other viewers would’ve fared in a different way. 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 modifying abilities than composing the good bon mot.

Reels are for skimming, Posts are for deep-dives

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

That might be the clarification as to why long-caption Posts did so a lot better than long-caption Reels. In case your viewers is simply watching your content material to devour as a part of an countless 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 like it’s finest if the caption affords supplementary materials, not a full-on backstory.

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

Faucet into the search engine optimisation energy of captions

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

After all, everybody’s social media account is a novel 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!) give you the results you want and your personal social media goals. When you’ve poured your coronary heart into crafting the perfect Instagram Reel, a intelligent caption is absolutely simply icing on the cake.

Take the stress off real-time posting with Reels scheduling from Hootsuite. Schedule, publish, and see what’s working and what’s not with easy-to-use analytics that enable you to activate viral mode.

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