Does the Length of Facebook Posts Matter?

May 15, 2019 • By

Scott Ayres

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Long or Short Posts on Facebook?

The ideal length of Facebook posts is 40 characters—at least according to all the “experts.” But there is a problem with this conclusion: No data backs this up.

At the Social Media Lab, we researched more on this subject, only to find references to data from 2012 and 2016. Old data such as this is not valid in 2019’s ever-changing social media marketing landscape.

Due to the lack of recent, measurable data, the Social Media Lab needed to research the ideal length of Facebook posts. Our hypothesis is purely based on what many of today’s social media “experts” have claimed.

Hypothesis: Shorter Facebook posts will have higher Reach and engagement.

hypothesis: shorter facebook posts will have higher reach and engagement

Testing the Length of Facebook Posts  

Three well-established and diverse Facebook pages were used for this experiment:

  • Agorapulse | Our company’s page with 59k Likes
  • Space Walk of Central Texas | A local bounce house business I own with 5,400 Likes
  • Fans of Bigfoot | An entertainment based page with 4,300 Likes

For our test, we defined short posts as under 140 characters; long posts were over 140 characters—but no character max.

A total of 20 posts of each length were made to each page (1 day at a time) alternating between day and night, such as the schedule below for Space Walk:

example of scheduling social media posts

We used the Agorapulse app to schedule all posts on every page.

Below are some examples of short posts for each page:

example of a short social media post

another example of short facebook social media postsocial media length

This is what the long social media posts looked like:

long social media post

an example of a long social media post

the length of a social media post

The experiment ran for 20 days.

Results of Facebook Post Length Test

To properly evaluate the impact of post length on Facebook, we’ll look at 4 different data sets:

  • Reach (how many people saw the post)
  • Clicks (how many clicks were on the post. These could be in comments, “see more” in the text, clicks on the photo, link clicks, etc)
  • Likes
  • Comments

Looking at the insights of each parameter will give us a clear, and true picture of performance based on post length.

The numbers below will be the combined average of all 3 pages. 

Reach:

  • Short Posts: 964.6
  • Long Posts: 716.82

Short posts achieved 34.57% higher Reach.

Clicks:

  • Short Posts: 13
  • Long Posts: 7.13

Clicks were 82.33% higher on short posts.

Likes:

  • Short Posts: 14.22
  • Long Posts: 7.43

Data shows short posts had 91.39% more Likes.

Comments:

  • Short Posts: 1.05
  • Long Posts: 0.70

Comments were 50% higher on short posts.

Every stat weighed heavily in favor of short posts on Facebook.

ideal length of a facebook post

Conclusion

The percentage differences between short posts and long posts are staggering, but are they statistically significant?

Our statistical significance calculator lets us know if we were to run this test again (or if you were to run it) would we see the same results for the length of Facebook posts? To reach statistical significance you must achieve 95% certainty.

We compared Reach to the number of Likes produced, and it is 100% statistically significant!

The same results occur when we compare Reach to Clicks.

Based on these results, the Social Media Lab concludes that short posts on Facebook outperform long posts and they should be your focus when you craft content.

Attention spans are short due to the mobile nature of social media. Your job as a marketer is to stop the scroll by enticing your followers to engage with your content.

Shorter posts on Facebook do just that.

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