LinkedIn Post Length: Does Data Support the Idea that Longer is Better?

January 30, 2019 • By

Scott Ayres

When it comes to the length of our posts on LinkedIn, should we go long or go home?

In a previous Lab test, I discovered that text only updates on LinkedIn outperformed all other posts types. Piggybacking off these findings, I wanted to see if the length of text only updates made a difference.

Based on this LinkedIn character count data from OkDork, long LinkedIn posts fare better than short ones:

OkDork states: “On average, the longer the post, the better.  Post with large word counts perform well. Posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views, LinkedIn likes, LinkedIn comments, and LinkedIn Shares.”

Other than this study, every other article on ideal LinkedIn post lengths was either  old or just focused on the character limit of the platforms.

Definitely gives me reason to run this test — and for you to continue reading!

Hypothesis

Based on the data from OkDork and my own posting to LinkedIn, I’ll make this best guess:

linkedin character count guess

Testing Long Versus Short LinkedIn Posts

Let’s go over some details about the test.

LinkedIn Accounts Used

I wanted a good cross section of data for this test to have the most accurate data possible. I used 3 different LinkedIn accounts (1 personal and 2 business).

Agorapulse: Our company business page with 1,506 followers.

The Brazos Group: Business page of a recruiting firm in Waco, Texas (that I rent my workspace from). They have 231 followers.

Scott Ayres: My personal account with over 9,000 connections.

Posts

For each account, I scheduled posts using the Agorapulse app — making my life so much easier.

I scheduled 14 short posts and 14 long posts to each account, spread out once daily over a 2 week period.

The schedule for each account was similar to this:

linkedin post schedule

For the short posts, I tried to keep the updates under 140 characters — a hat tip to old Twitter limits.

The short posts were a mix of questions, quotations, and statements.

agorapulse short linkedin postbrazos group short linkedin postscott ayres short linkedin post

The long post varied in character length. Most were portions of a blog post split into 3-4 posts. For The Brazos Group, I also used job listings.

agorapulse long linkedin post

brazos group long linkedin post

scott ayres long linkedin post

My goal was to not drill down into a breakdown of character length like the OkDork graph, but just compare short versus long posts.

Data from LinkedIn Post Length

I waited a week after the last post went public before gathering data so that all the interaction and views possible had occurred.

Interestingly, LinkedIn provides “Impressions” for business pages and “Views” for personal accounts. As far as I can tell these are basically the same metrics, just stated differently.

For our purpose we’ll use “Views” for both “Impressions” and “Views.”

While it’s Views that I’m primarily interested in to test this hypothesis, I’ve also pulled data for Likes, Comments, and Shares. After all, many times engagement will sway View count.

Did the longer posts get more Views? Let’s see what the numbers tell us.

Agorapulse:

  • Short Posts
    • Views: 203.5
    • Likes: 0.93
    • Comments: 1.36
    • Shares: 1.71
  • Long Posts
    • Views: 197.43
    • Likes: 1.36
    • Comments: 0.07
    • Shares: 1.07

The Brazos Group:

  • Short Posts
    • Views: 38.86
    • Likes: 0.57
    • Comments: 0
    • Shares: 0.29
  • Long Posts
    • Views: 45.29
    • Likes: 0.57
    • Comments: 0
    • Shares: 1.36

Scott Ayres:

  • Short Posts
    • Views: 300.47
    • Likes: 0.87
    • Comments: 0.27
    • Shares: 0
  • Long Posts
    • Views: 234.07
    • Likes: 0.64
    • Comments: 0.14
    • Shares: 0

Looking at each page individually, it wasn’t clear if long OR short posts got more views. So I examined the combined averages:

Combined:

  • Short Posts
    • Views: 180.94
    • Likes: 0.79
    • Comments: 0.54
    • Shares: 0.67
  • Long Posts
    • Views: 158.93
    • Likes: 0.86
    • Comments: 0.07
    • Shares: 0.81

Drawing a Data Based Conclusion on LinkedIn Post Length

Looking at the combined averages we find that short posts had a higher number of average views per post (180.94 vs 158.93). That equates to 13.85% higher views per post compared to long posts.

linkedin character count data

However, this difference is not big enough to conclude that shorter posts will always get more views. But it is a substantial number in this blogger’s opinion.

I can also say that the average Like count didn’t skew the results either way. In fact, you’ll notice Likes were higher with longer posts, yet views were lower. This helps me solidify the conclusion here.

Comments were higher on average for long posts, but the fact both numbers are below 1 per post it’s a non-factor in our results.

My original hypothesis was “LinkedIn posts with longer character count will have a higher number of Views.” I’m gonna say this was incorrect — I can’t always be right!

Want to hear me talk more about the results and what they mean for your LinkedIn content strategy? Then check out this episode of of the Social Media Lab podcast.

 

social-media-lab-raw-data

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