The Ideal Length of Tweets, Facebook & Google+ Posts and Content Headlines
What’s the Ideal Length of your Internet Content?
That’s what I was wondering as I’m newly committed to creating Internet Content so I gathered my best Google-Fu chi and this is what I quickly found.
Keep in mind that "it depends" rules here, but in general for those of you who are just starting out, here are some proven guidelines.
Ideal Length of a Tweet: 100 CHARACTERS
Twitter’s best practices reference research by Buddy Media about tweet length: 100 characters is the engagement sweet spot for a tweet.
Creativity loves constraints and simplicity is at our core. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they can be consumed easily anywhere, even via mobile text messages. There’s no magical length for a Tweet, but a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.
The Ideal Length Of A Facebook Post: LESS THAN 40 CHARACTERS
What!? 40 characters isn’t that much = almost nothing at all.
Nope, 40 is the magic number according to Jeff Bullas (one of the Blogs I read). Jeff found that 40 characters is most effective in his study of retail brands on Facebook. He measured engagement of posts, defined by "like" rate and comment rate, and the ultra-short 40-character posts received 86% higher engagement than others.
The 40-character group also represented the smallest statistical set in the study (only 5% of all posts qualified at this length), so best practices on Facebook also include the next most popular set: Posts with 80 characters or fewer received 66% higher engagement.
The Ideal Length Of A Google+ Headline: LESS THAN 60 CHARACTERS
To maximize the readability and appearance of your posts on Google+, you may want to keep your text on one line. Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger studied the Google+ breaking point and found that headlines should not exceed 60 characters.
Here is an example of what we mean. In the examples below, the one on the left had a headline exceeding 60 characters and got bumped tp 2 lines while the one on the right kept within 60 characters and remains on 1 line = Sweet!
His advice goes even deeper. If your Google+ headline can’t be contained in one line, there’s “Plan B” = Write an AWESOME first sentence.
In the last update, Google changed the layout of posts so that you only see three lines of the original post before you see "Read more" link. In other words, your first sentence has to be a gripping teaser to get people to click "Read More.
For overall post length, Google+ posts average 156 characters, according to Qunitly Research. They found the largest spike in engagement at posts of 5 characters in length and the second-highest spike in posts of 442 characters.
You can write a lot longer on Google+ and still get great results.
Ideal Length Of A Headline: 6 WORDS
Writing for KISSmetrics, headline expert Bnonn cites usability research revealing we don’t only scan body copy, we also scan headlines. That means we tend to absorb only the first three words and the last three words of a headline. If you want to maximize the chance that your entire headline gets read, keep your headline to six words.
Of course, that’s seldom enough to tilt the specificity-meter into the red. And I have it on good authority that some of the highest-converting headlines on the web are as long as 30 words. As a rule, if it won’t fit in a tweet it’s too long. But let me suggest that rather than worrying about length you should worry about making every word count. Especially the first and last three.
Ideal Length Of A Blog Post: 1,600 WORDS = 7 MINUTES
When measuring the content that performs best on their site, Medium focuses not on clicks but on attention. How long do readers stick with an article?
In this sense, an ideal blog post would be one that people read. And Medium’s research on this front says that the ideal blog post is seven minutes long.
To arrive at this, Medium measured the average total seconds spent on each post and compared it to the post length. All Medium posts are marked with a time signature for how long the article should be. After adjusting their analysis for a glut of shorter posts (overall, 74% of posts are under 3 minutes long and 94% are under 6 minutes long), they came to their conclusion:
And there we have it: the average total seconds rises for longer posts, peaks at 7 minutes, and then declines.
For a word count, a 7-minute read comes in around 1,600 words.
Of course with any of these "ideal lengths", the answers here could very well be taken as "it depends," since research varies from site to site. For instance, Moz found that longer posts on their blog get linked to more often, and Upworthy found little correlation between length and attention when they tested Medium’s hypothesis for themselves. (Upworthy cited factors like type of posts and audience as a couple of possible explanations for the discrepancy.)
The best takeaway is from the conclusion of Medium’s study:
What it does mean is that it’s worth writing as much you need. Don’t feel constrained by presumed short attention spans. If you put in the effort, so will your audience.