Complete Guide to Social Media Character Counts

Character Count 101: Ideal Length for Instagram, Facebook, X, & LinkedIn Posts

From crafting blogs to social media posts, marketers often find themselves puzzled over what the right character count is. It’s not always about the limits set by different platforms but rather the optimal number of characters for user engagement.

For example, you probably know the character limit for a post on X is 280, but did you know using less is actually more effective? (Hold tight — you’ll soon know why.)

We’ve previously discussed how to optimize your content for various platforms. Now, it’s time to understand the specifics of character limits, both mandatory and ideal, for different online channels, all in one place.

Character count denotes the total number of characters in your online content, including letters, numbers, spaces, and even punctuation marks. Whether you are crafting a Facebook caption or developing a compelling LinkedIn update, each keystroke contributes to the total character count.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.

Why Character Counts Matter

Every social media platform has its own character limit for posts. But as we mentioned earlier, it isn’t just about the character limits set by these platforms; knowing the ideal character count to use in your posts is key.

Let us delve into the top 5 reasons that highlight the importance of character count in your content strategy:

1. Optimizes for platform algorithms

Different social media platforms have different algorithms, most of which consider post length to boost content visibility. By keeping within an ‘ideal’ character count, you can ensure your post performs well in the algorithm‘s ranking system.

This makes your content more likely to appear in your audience’s feeds.

2. Enhances readability

Ever been confronted by a lengthy block of text? It‘s overwhelming, right? Shorter, concise posts with an optimal character count are easier to read and digest.

They look less intimidating and are more likely to be read fully, enhancing your message’s impact.

3. Improves message clarity

Abiding by a character count forces you to be concise and clear in your messaging. This eliminates unnecessary fluff and helps ensure your core message shines through clearly, improving its overall effectiveness.

4. Encourages sharing

Posts that are short and to the point are more shareable. They‘re easier for users to quote or repost, especially on platforms like X and Threads, where character limits are stricter, thus potentially increasing your content’s reach.

5. Enhances mobile user experience

With more people accessing social media platforms via mobile devices, character counts are becoming increasingly important.

Posts with ideal character counts are more likely to be mobile-friendly, offering a better reading experience for your mobile audience.

The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet

1. Blog Posts

Quick reference:

  • Post length: 1,400 – 2,100 words
  • Title: Under 60 characters
  • Meta Description: Under 155 characters

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Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Post Body:

When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:

  • The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 200-300 words per minute, based on the results of several studies.
  • At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 1,400 to 2,100 words.
  • That aligns with research previously conducted by Capsicum Mediaworks, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,000 and 2,500 words.

Image Source

But that‘s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.

Title

The length of your title depends on your goals and where it will appear.

Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out that it often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP).

For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag.

So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters.

But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from HigherVisibility, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.

For Moz’s title tag tool, type in your headline, and the tool will show you how it would appear in Google results.

Then, you can optimize your title for social sharing. On X, for example, consider that each post has a limit of 280 characters; however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit.

But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters. That leaves you with about 257 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8 –12 words in length got the most X shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.

Meta Description

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text. However, there‘s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count.

In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.

Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from HigherVisibility.

2. Facebook

Quick reference:

  • Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
  • Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes

Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says former HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen.

“The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters,” she says. “That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.”

But why 40, specifically?

“Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.”

That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn‘t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own metadata too.

“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions.

There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.

Video

While Facebook allows a maximum of 240 minutes for most videos (excluding Stories and Reels), we wouldn‘t advise posting anything that long unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.

Facebook recommends keeping videos short to about 15 seconds so viewers are more likely to watch to the end.

3. X (Formerly Twitter)

Quick reference:

  • Posts: 280-character maximum
    • Does not include images, videos, or polls
    • Ideal length is 240-259 characters
  • Hashtags: No more than two
  • Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds

Marketers everywhere rejoiced when X finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted posts, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.

Still, the “Quote” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to post and then add a comment in the provided text box.

You’ve still got 280 characters all to yourself to comment.

Ideal Length Overall

X differs from other platforms in the sense that longer posts tend to perform better and get the most engagement.

According to SEO expert Kurt Gessler, posts with 240-259 characters tend to get the most likes.

The same goes for hashtags. X recommends keeping your hashtags short, easy to remember, and easy to spell. The platform also suggests sticking to only one or two hashtags at the most.

Videos

You can post a video on X by importing a video or recording it using the X app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds if you’re not subscribed to X Blue.

X Blue subscribers can upload videos of up to 60 minutes when posting from the website, and subscribers on the app can post videos of up to 10 minutes.

4. LinkedIn

Profiles

Here‘s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums:

  • Professional headline: 120
  • Summary: 2,000
  • Position title: 100
  • Position Description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)

Original Content

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:

  • Post headline: 100
  • Post body: 40,000

5. Instagram

Quick reference:

  • Bio: 150
  • Hashtags: Up to 30
  • Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it‘s always helpful to provide some context and let users know what they’re looking at.

Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content.

While Instagram doesn‘t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters.

However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, front load it with crucial details and calls to action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn‘t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

6. Snapchat

Quick reference:

  • Character limit: 80 per post

Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly disappearing photos and videos.

And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

And, if you‘re looking for more guidance, just look at this particular app’s name, remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:

7. YouTube

Featured Resource: YouTube for Business – A 30-Day Roadmap

Here we have yet another network that‘s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text, like titles and descriptions, doesn’t matter as much.

That’s not entirely false. As a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand‘s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context.

People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which, according to the official help site, is limited to 1,000 characters.

But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.

In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat.

Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.

Show Your Character

As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind.

Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.

Like anything else in marketing, it’s never an exact science despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines but don‘t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work.

Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs.

From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received by your audience.

 

Source: Hubspot