The Proper Length

In a 140-character world, how long is too long?

Earlier this year, Buffer’s Kevan Lee pieced together a research-based guide that pinpointed the ideal lengths of different forms of online content. (In case you’re curious, your tweets should be 100 characters.)

In total, Lee examined three social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook and Google+), and six universal content elements (headlines, paragraph width, email subject lines, presentation length, title tags and domain names). While incredibly useful, Lee’s work is also somewhat contradictory—his findings are spelled out in a lengthy, 2,600-word article!

Seemingly realizing his mistake, Lee teamed up with analytics company SumAll this month and produced a beautiful, fun infographic to display his findings. Lee also used this opportunity to revisit and expand his list topics:  the infographic now includes guidelines on the lengths of YouTube videos, podcasts, SlideShare presentations and LinkedIn posts.

Here are a few infographic highlights:

  • LinkedIn: “If you’re marketing to businesses, write a 16-25 word post.  If you’re marketing to consumers, though, a 21-25 word post could get the most shares.”
  • YouTube: “The most popular videos are pretty short.  After analyzing the length of the top 50 YouTube videos, the average length was 2 minutes 54 seconds.”
  • Facebook: “Posts with 40 characters receive 86 percent more engagement than posts with a higher character count.”

You can view Lee’s infographic here.  And remember: simplicity is key!

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