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Why Long Captions Aren’t Always Bad

Oct 24, 2023

Captions: Does Size Matter?

You know what they say about caption size… shorter is always better.

But what about those lengthy posts that get tons of likes and comments?

Short isn’t necessarily better. Concise, benefit-oriented captions that don’t beat around the bush are better at hooking people’s attention, but your goal should never be writing the shortest caption possible.

Here’s our take: If conversions are your goal, your caption’s length depends on your customer’s knowledge of your product.

When short captions are better

Say your brand sells ultra comfy work-from-home outfits. You’ve been tasked to create a post showcasing one of your newest sweaters.

Everyone knows what a sweater is. No one (sensible) writes 3 paragraphs about how sweaters work, the history of sweaters, or the entire process of how your sweater was sewn together.

And compared to more complicated products such as cars or espresso machines, sweaters are a pretty small investment. You don’t need to whip out every persuasion tactic in the book to get people to want your sweaters.

Show what makes your sweaters more special than other sweaters. Depict a lifestyle. Paint a picture of how comfy your outfits are in your brand’s voice. Maybe highlight the material if it’s worth mentioning.

All of this can be achieved in 3 sentences or less. Short captions can still do a fantastic job of selling a product or lifestyle when you don’t have a lot of persuading to do. 

What about long captions?

Now say you’re selling an online course that teaches marketers how to double conversions overnight. The whole course totals about 12 hours and aims to target an audience that already possess hefty marketing experience. It’s also quite expensive.

Not only is this a more complicated product, but it’s also a major investment. Your target market most likely doesn’t have a lot of time to spare, and probably already knows how to increase conversions on their own.

You’re going to need more than just a 3-sentence caption to persuade your audience that they need this course. What will they be able to achieve after successfully finishing the course? Will a marketing veteran be teaching this course? What skills, knowledge, and insights can they learn that they’ll never be able to find anywhere else? They’re going to need a pretty compelling reason to hand over hundreds of dollars and sacrifice several hours of their lives.

For complicated, high-investment products like our hypothetical online course, longer, more persuasive captions will always be more effective at converting your customers.

An exception to the long caption rule

Sometimes your caption’s only goal is to hook people’s attention and lead them further down your sales funnel. 

For example, if you already have a website or sales page in charge of persuading and converting customers, you can leave your captions to focus on building awareness and generating interest instead. 

In cases like this, short and impactful captions work are always effective if your sole purpose is to get the attention of new customers. Especially when people have no idea who you are and you only have about 2 seconds to get them interested in what you have to say.