What Reels Caption Size Will get the Finest Engagement?

You’ve toiled away in your edits, filters and sound clips in your newest Instagram Reel and are nearly able to hit submit… however you then hit the caption subject. 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 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.

Relating 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, in the event you cherished my story on whether long captions work better on Instagram than short ones, take into account this the sequel and buckle up.

It’s time to discover out the perfect size of an Instagram Reel caption the one 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 greater engagement on Instagram Posts.

Our speculation is that Instagram Reels can be no totally different. (Need an Instagram Reels crash course? Here! You! Go!) In spite of everything, with Instagram Posts, longer captions supplied extra info, extra alternatives to attach with followers, and higher website positioning.

Presumably, all of these advantages may even be true of Reels. However why presume once 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 take a look at.


To check out the perfect size for an Instagram Reels submit, 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 ought to be fairly comparable with a view to be certain that the content material itself wasn’t a consider 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 way in which to go.

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

kitchen before and after short caption

lengthy caption about bedroom

For every video, I grabbed a unique 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 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. Once I checked again 48 hours later to see how they’d fared, right here’s what I discovered.


TLDR: Instagram Reels with shorter captions obtained greater engagement and additional attain.

Whereas Instagram Posts with longer captions obtained greater engagement in our final experiment, I used to be stunned to see that shorter captions had been extra profitable when it got here to Instagram Reels.

  Reels with Lengthy Captions Reels with Brief Captions
Complete Likes 4 56
Complete Feedback 1 2
Complete Attain 615 665

I assume 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 ought to be taken with a grain of salt. I solely left my Reels up for 2 days, and clearly they had been closely targeted 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 could have impacted my attain.

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

Reels are for skimming, Posts are for deep-dives

Reels, like TiKTok, are designed for discovery — so the folks viewing them might not be your greatest followers or cousins who really feel an obligation to comply with 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 infinite stream of quick-to-digest video content material, a strong 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 greatest if the caption provides supplementary materials, not a full-on backstory.

Be certain 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 bought all the important thing takeaways. (In search of some ideas for creating stand-out Instagram Reels? We’ve bought you coated.)

Faucet into the website positioning energy of captions

Simply because captions aren’t essentially the most charming aspect of your Reel, doesn’t imply you must simply go away that subject clean. The caption is a chance to plug in a number of robust key phrases and hashtags, to extend your probability 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 novel and particular butterfly, so your mileage could range. The attractive 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 actually simply icing on the cake.

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