With life getting faster each day, consuming large content is somewhat becoming obsolete. Even though it is not a welcomed trait, the “TL;DR” culture has made a strong mark. As a site owner or as a content creator, it is imperative that you know what length of the content is optimum for your needs. Every one of us has personally experienced annoyances caused by content length. Sometimes, a book was so long, that you didn’t bother to finish it, or a short movie left you unsatisfied and craving for more. However, when it comes to online content, a lot of analytics data has been mined to get you the right size of content, so that you can keep your audience engaged throughout the entire length of the article and leave them contented once it ends.
Now, there should not be a cap on the creativity of individuals, but to ensure that more people enjoy the content, you should learn to limit your posts, your podcasts or your videos. After all, every character counts.
Social Media Posts
When Facebook first started, the character limit was 420. However, it has presently increased to 63,206. You surely have come across multiple long posts on Facebook that felt like reading a novel, and you know that not every time, you were interested enough to read through the entire post and sometimes, you just skipped to the very end. Off late, Facebook cuts off long posts, and you need to click “See More” to keep reading. Moreover, the longer a person reads, the more attention and concentration is required to make sense of the post. Content on Facebook should demand less cognitive energy.
When you are marketing on Facebook and competing with thousands of other brands, it is essential to keep your posts short. For organic posts, you should keep your content less than 8- characters in length. Posts with length less than 80 characters received 66% more engagement according to an analysis by BuzzSumo in 2016.
When you are making paid posts, you should keep the content in between 5 to 18 words. Paid Facebook posts can be broken down into three sections: headlines, main text, and description. The optimum lengths for these are five words, 14 words, and 18 words respectively.
Twitter is a great place to get in touch with your customer base. Even though Twitter has their famous 140-character limit, the Twitter community prefers slightly longer posts than Facebook. On Twitter, you can go up to a hundred characters per post. However, you should also maintain a minimum of 70 characters per posts. The posts that are too short do not get retweeted as much.
On Twitter posts, it is necessary to maintain the clarity of language, avoid unnecessary jargon and use the very first words to catch the user’s attention. It is a little harder than Facebook, but then again, you have some more breathing room with the larger optimal post length.
Instagram’s visual nature makes it a better marketing platform and is much more effective than the others for small and medium-sized businesses. When you are making Instagram posts, an engaging photograph is a must. Besides that, you also need to keep a watch on the content length. Generally, 138 to 150 characters are optimal, which is even larger than Twitter’s limit.
However, it has to be noted that Instagram is not really focused on the text. People will not read a well written concise post unless the image arrests their attention. Captions are secondary and are used to provide context to the image. Moreover, only three lines of text appear in the user’s feed, and the rest are hidden. So, you also need to plan your content accordingly. You can write a short caption for the image that fits in the three lines and then, add the extra tags in the following lines.
LinkedIn is an entirely different social network. It is one of the oldest networks out there, starting back in 2002 and catering only to the professional world. Posts on LinkedIn are not visual. All you have is a headline which is a link to a more extensive article. Generally, 25 words are good for a status update. For a LinkedIn post, you can write from five to twelve hundred words.
There is an optimal time for streaming media too, including podcasts, presentations, tutorial videos and so on. Generally, for presentations, 10 to 18 minutes is a perfect length of content. Not only can you talk about a lot in this duration, but is also is not long enough to bore someone. If you look at the duration of most of the TED Talks, all of these have the 10 to 18 minutes duration.
Anything beyond that will take up a lot of energy. You need to understand that when people are looking at streaming media, such as videos, they have to keep in mind everything from the very beginning. The increased length, therefore, requires more cognitive energy. Eighteen minutes is short enough for most people.
For podcasts, about twenty-two minutes is good enough. Some podcasts last for hours, and some are just a minute long. Now, it is seen that during lectures, students zone out after ten or fifteen minutes. There is a sharp drop in attention right after twenty minutes. Therefore, that is the point where you want to stop.
YouTube Tutorials need to be much shorter. A maximum two to three minutes is enough time to explain a concept simply, or give instructions. Moreover, you can also segment the videos into thirty-second clips to keep the viewer’s attention.
SEO Blog Posts
For writing a blog, 2100 words is the optimal value. This was a number that Medium came up with back in December 2013. Ideally, a blog post that has 7 minutes of reading time is the most optimal. However, reading behavior varies a lot from person to person, and you need to tune your content accordingly to be shorter or longer.
Similarly, for title tags, 55 characters is the ideal length. A domain name should be 8 characters long, and the headlines should have 6 words. However, these are not hard and fast rules, and the ideal content length will vary according to the audience you are targeting. These numbers provide you with a guideline. Now, you will have to tweak your content to see what performs the best.