Online Content Length: A Quick Refresher

With social media’s blindingly fast and fluid nature, it’s good to pause from time to time and revisit the topic of online content length. As an online marketer, you need to know what is working and what isn’t, in addition to the hot new platform coming up. Each social media outlet has its own rules, such as the optimal lengths of tweets, Facebook posts or blog articles.

So if you haven’t checked for a while – which, in the world of social media, could mean last Tuesday (#sarcasm) – these are the statistics social media experts like Express Writers and BizReport say are still the best online content length for what you share in 2017.

Here are the ideal character counts for:

Twitter: 71 to 100. Tweets shorter than 100 characters have a 17 percent higher engagement rate.

Facebook: 40. Posts with 40 characters receive 86 percent more engagement than longer ones.

Google+:  60. If you can’t keep your headline to 60 characters or less, make sure the first line of your post or article is an attention-grabbing teaser to draw the reader in.

Email: 28 to 39. Subject lines of this length generally get an open rate of 12.2 percent and a click rate of 4 percent.

Title tags: 55 to 60.  If your title exceeds 60 characters it will get shortened with an ellipse when it posts, so keep your titles short, sweet and relevant to your audience.

When it comes to word counts, use the following guidelines:

Blog headlines should ideally be 6 words. Studies have shown that blog readers will read the first 3 and last 3 words in a headline as they scan your post, so make every word count.

LinkedIn: 25 words is the magic mark for getting engagement on your content. Businesses respond best in the 16- to 25-word range while consumers prefer 21 to 25 words.

Blog posts: This is one of the few areas where brevity isn’t king, as the most popular blog articles have about a 1,600 word count. That translates into an article that takes the average reader seven minutes to read. Even articles up to 2,500 words are highly successful, because longer lengths are more likely to provide quality markers for search engines to pick up and rank your posts higher.

If you’re posting video or podcasts and are counting minutes:

YouTube: Three minutes has been the standard for video posts since the inception of YouTube as a social media giant, and it remains the standard today. With an estimated 5 billion videos watched on the platform every day, YouTube will remain the heaviest of heavy hitters on the Web.

Podcasts: A podcast listener will stay engaged for about 22 minutes on average, but some studies show that listeners will start to zone out at around 16 minutes. That means you should aim for an 18- to 20-minute podcast to hit that sweet spot in the middle. In fact, TED Talk presenters are required to come in at 18 minutes or less because of this.

And finally, even though Instagram or Pinterest posts are visually based platforms where images reign, there are still some rules you should apply when it comes to online content length.

The average length of a video ad on Instagram is 25 seconds, and the top brands are seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. That’s 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter. Creative hashtag use is the key text on Instagram with users having an average of 15 hashtags per post. Just remember to streamline the number of hashtags if you’re sharing an Instagram post to Facebook or Twitter.

Pinterest descriptions should be 200 characters to earn the most re-pins, and posts that contain calls to action earn 80 percent more engagement than those that don’t. Also, images of 800 pixels or more earn significantly more re-pins than posts with smaller images.

This is obviously just a small refresher about online content length but before you get caught up in character and word counts, providing fresh, quality content that interests the reader will score you higher than anything else in search engines. Just don’t forget the little stuff while you’re at it.

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