How do the most popular brands on Instagram write their captions?

How do the most popular brands on Instagram write their captions?

Often underestimated, Instagram post captions are an essential part of finding engagement with account followers.

This space of expression made available is key to providing more information on the photos, videos and carousels that you could broadcast, because these are often not self-sufficient: we must understand what motivates your sharing, and the caption is made for that.

The words integrated in the first 2 lines are capital because they are the only ones to be displayed in the news feed of the users, but what follows is not to be put aside, on the contrary.

However, many questions can be asked about them: should we favor rather short or long captions? With or without emojis? How many hashtags is it relevant to add in these?

So, to guide you in your reflection, I will show you how some French brands very followed on Instagram use this space, and how you could also use it in a coherent way with regard to your marketing positioning and values.

1) Various lengths

Should we suggest a caption containing only ten words or share a block in the caption?

This is a real question for Community Managers on Instagram. When in the first case, the desire will be not to distract the visitor with too much written content in order to encourage purchase, in the other, it will be a question of keeping the person as much time as possible on our content, this which is well regarded by the algorithm of the social network.

Is there a rule about the number of characters to insert in captions?

To answer this question with concrete elements, I observed the length of the latest posts from companies to Instagram accounts with several hundred thousand subscribers and operating in the French market.

Here is what emerges from the last 6 publications of major brands:

In the cases presented above, I mostly observe the desire to offer captions of at least 5 lines, sometimes translated into English, and above all the desire to tell a little story.

However, the Zadig et Voltaire brand did not choose this approach by limiting almost all of its publications to 2 lines of legends. This immediately gives another atmosphere.

2) The key role of the first words

You should always consider the user experience of the application, and more specifically how to consume the news feed offered by Instagram.

Due to the only 2 lines displayed by default, the first terms inserted in the description of the publication are therefore essential.

The most popular brands got it right, making sure that one can understand instantly the context and purpose of the photo / video.

3) Emojis: not for all

There are really two schools of thought when it comes to the use of emojis (emoticons) in post captions.

When some Community Managers want to bring a more playful aspect to their publications, to show that the brand is “cool” and dynamic, the insertion of little men and drawn objects is very common.

The pricing positioning of the product lines undoubtedly has an impact on whether or not these emoticons are used.

This is what we see in the examples below:

4) Calls to action in spades

Whether selling or promoting discussion, there are different ways to get followers to take a specific action.

It can be:

  • like / comment on a post
  • buy a product tagged / featured on the post
  • participate in a competition

Often, these calls to action are at the end of the caption.

Here are a few examples:

5) Hashtags or not?

As you know, these keywords most often inserted at the end of the caption are intended to increase the visibility of a publication, in order to make it known to new people potentially interested in the products & services of the company.

However, do popular accounts think they can do without it and come up with a caption prettier to the eye?

In the examples below, we see that various cases arise:

  • inserted hashtags are brand hashtags
  • inserted hashtags aim to describe the post
  • there is no hashtag present
  • 0

    In any case, I’ve never seen blocks of 30 hashtags, the maximum limit imposed by Instagram.

    6) Legends that tell

    Finally, the last interesting point raised during my observations of the captions of popular Instagram accounts: this willingness to tell stories in order to arouse emotion in the reader.

    It can include seeking to arouse desire, inspiration, smile, joy, courage and more.


    In summary, there is no such thing as a perfect legend model, but I think that by taking inspiration from everything that we have seen during this article, you have all the cards to write some beautiful for you.

    To go further:


    Trainer & social-media consultant, I am the author of the” Box tools of the Community Manager ā€¯published by Editions Dunod. I have trained several thousand employees in the professional use of social networks since 2011.

    Join me on Twitter and Instagram .

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