How Instagram Captions Drive Engagement?

Instagram Analytics
Siddharth Dwivedi May 29, 2024

You certainly have heard this before: A picture says a thousand words – and the only way to give voice to those words (visual content) is through captions.  

Instagram captions tell your followers what the photo is about! It can literally make or break a post!

A good Instagram caption adds personality to your posts, making them more delightful and shareable while adding a pinch of flavor to them.

But there’s a catch: Not all captions on Instagram work for marketers

Anytime celebrities or popular Instagram accounts to post photos on Instagram – they get thousands of likes and comments even if they leave their captions blank. Thanks to their millions of followers.

 But that cannot be said to be true for marketers and businesses. Most newbie brands are not blessed with that celebrity factor. As a result, they can’t bag the same level of engagement by merely “showing up” with a post. And this is where captions on Instagram come into play for marketers

A well-crafted Instagram caption gives brands the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their audiences, inspire followers to take action, champion storytelling and authenticity, and drive great Instagram results.

If you’re a marketer and want to know how to write Instagram captions effectively – this is THE PLACE for you!

How To Write Instagram Captions?

Now that you are enlightened about the importance of creative captions for Instagram – the very next step is to know how to write them in a way that will improve engagement with your target audience. And we have 5 tips for you!

Before we jump into it, you must know that your captions are driven by your campaign goal and Instagram strategy. Figure that out first.

Is your goal to increase awareness? Maybe Increase visibility? Promote a sale? Or launch new products?

Once you’re sorted on your Instagram campaign goals, the next step is to get the wheels going in the right direction.

5 Tips To Write Appealing Captions For Instagram

Bag these tips to write your perfect captions on Instagram for your brand:

Make The First Sentence Count With A Killer Line

The first sentence of your Instagram caption is on par with the subject line of an email or the heading of a blog. Thus it has to be snappy and attention-grabbing. 

Also, considering the current structure of captions on Instagram posts, curtailed with “…..more” after two to three lines – you have to be smart and make the first lines of your captions super-engaging, and super enticing to pique your audience’s curiosity – without having to click on “more.”

It is the only sure-shot way to boost the amount of time people spend viewing your post. Remember, since only the first sentence will be visible on your user’s feed – make it count! 

Lead with a hook, use questions, hard-hitting facts, bold statements, emojis, and front-loaded captions  – triggering your audience to want to see more!

You CAN NOT MISS The CTA (Call-To-Action) 

Each post in your campaign is created with a purpose and an intention. The simple act of adding CTA to your captions (for instance inviting them to like or comment on your post) improves engagement with your business website and builds Instagram conversions. 

Also, as a marketer, you must be aware that Instagram allows only one clickable link in an account (usually on the bio). And to get people to click on the link and take action – CTA is the only way to lead them in that direction.

A good CTA informs your audience that they can navigate your profile and access the link to complete the action, like signing up for a newsletter or shopping online.

 Here are some creative CTA ideas to nail your Instagram caption game:

  1. Increase engagement by encouraging people to ‘comment’ with their own experiences.
  2. Invite your audience to tag their friends.
  3. For shoppable posts, ask users to “tap to purchase.”
  4. Invite people to enter a contest.

These are just a few examples. There are endless ways to write a CTA in Instagram captions for engagement.


Meld Your Brand Voice With Instagram’s Lighthearted Tone

You must know: every social media platform has its own unique voice. For instance: LinkedIn has a more heavy, serious, jargon-filled voice. Whereas Instagram has a lighthearted, fun tone – and as a business, you must leverage this tone to showcase your brand’s authentic, human, and personal side. 

Corporations with an already lighthearted brand voice will have ease adopting this tone. At the same time, businesses with a serious brand voice must adopt a balance between sincerity and relatability.

Being consistent with Instagram’s tone will help your brand build a strong presence on the platform.

When in doubt, go for a pun! Cleverness is next to godliness on social media. People love brands that crack jokes or have fun with the play of words. 

  • Use Eye-Catching Emojis And Have Fun With It 

Everyone loves emojis! These cartoon-like characters are available to all smartphone users – and add color to the captions. 

Using the right emojis brings flare and extra flavor to the captions. Also, it is a fantastic way to get readers to take specific actions. And the best part of all: you can use them in any part of your engaging ig captions.

Sprinkle emojis to animate your captions. If you are not using it to draw the audience’s attention to the CTA, use it to add personality to your captions for Instagram. You can also add them mid-sentence to punch up a point or end of a thought – as a creative form of punctuation.

 At the same time make sure the emoji you use jibes with your tone of voice and branding. But don’t overdo it (adding too many in a row).

emojis examples
  • Divide Your Texts Into Small Paragraphs

Keeping your captions on Instagram short and punchy is undoubtedly the best way to get your message across – but what if the post has a lot to say?

Putting your captions in one long paragraph puts a lot of strain on your readers’ eyes and simply turns them off. Chances are, they won’t even care much about it. 

The trick to writing engaging captions for Instagram is to divide them into short paragraphs so it becomes easy to digest – even if you have several points to cover.

Factually there are no such set rules for formatting on Instagram. Use bullet points, paragraphs, big leader dots or dashes, big space breaks – whatever appeals to you aesthetically. Whatsoever, it does not affect algorithms.

Is There A Perfect Length For An Instagram Caption?

You already know that captions on Instagram are an effective (and essential) way to give greater context to a photo, video, or Reel. 

But what is the optimal length of Instagram captions for engagement?

According to statistics, 2021 witnessed Instagram brands tap into the power of long-form captions to engage their followers.

But if you see it intuitively, Instagram is a platform for photos and videos – not to read endless text updates. So a short paragraph caption looks good!

Having said that, it is predicted that descriptive (mini-blog) captions on Instagram bring brands higher engagement. Brands can really use this opportunity for storytelling – delving beyond product information and building a stronger brand affinity with their audience.

Surely you can use short Instagram captions for engagement. But that doesn’t mean you should abide by it every single time.

So what’s the sweet spot?

To know this answer, look at the content you’re posting. Is it purely visuals/ entertainment? Or is it educational?

If it is solely for entertainment, it’s better to let the picture do the talking and create a snappy caption to go with it (around 138-150 characters).

But if it’s educational content or about mindfulness and self-help, aim for longer captions (400-500 characters).

The trick of the trade is to know what caption length your competitors are leveraging on their Instagram posts. And Vaizle’s social media tool is an excellent way to uncover this answer. Their “smart insights” lay before you the top performing posts for your competitors – and then you can compare the caption to the length of various competitors and easily find the ideal length for your captions. 

Importance Of Hashtags In Instagram Captions

Just like Twitter and Facebook, hashtags behave the same way for Instagram: tying the conversation of different users into one stream. Obviously, this makes it a powerful tool for brands to increase visibility, rise in the ranks and gain followers. 

Wait, it doesn’t end there. Hashtags are used as a reference for the Instagram algorithm to label and categorize your content and suggest it to users it thinks will be highly interested in your content and your brand. 

But do hashtags still work in 2022?

Well, that has been the heart of much debate, especially following Instagram’s recent recommendations to use only 3 to 5 hashtags.

 As Instagram is slowly but gradually pivoting towards semantic keyword search – meaning every word in your captions or topics will be searchable – this opens doors of endless possibilities for marketers and brands. Take advantage of Vaizle’s smart insights feature of the social analytics app. Here you can get a detailed overview of the hashtags your competitors are using in their captions – and devise a robust Instagram hashtags strategy based on these invaluable insights.

vaizle comparison


Indeed hashtags are a fun way to get in front of a bigger audience and gain more reach. But it MUST BE used sparingly. Polluting your captions with too many hashtags – will definitely make people think it’s lame. So limit it to a maximum of three or four, max.

That’s A Wrap!

Now that you have all the information you need to curate effective Instagram captions, the following step is to make real use of these tips and valuable information. With over 300 million active monthly users posting 70 million images and videos a day – we know it’s not an easy landscape for brands to create their presence. But knowledge, strategy and consistency is the key to take your Instagram business to the next level. Don’t be afraid to experiment with captions!

About the Author

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth built two bootstrapped companies from the ground up: Vaizle and XOR Labs. He’s personally managed over Rs 100cr in ad budget across eCommerce, D2C, ed-tech, and health-tech segments. Apart from being a full-time marketer, he loves taking on the challenges of finance and operations. When not staring at his laptop, you’ll find him reading books or playing football on weekends.

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