Do People Read Instagram Captions?

Original Post By Alexandra on May 8, 2019: Instagram Tips

One of Instagrammers’ biggest questions: Do people actually read Instagram captions? Or do they just look at a photo, double-tap and scroll?

In our previous post we asked you what you thought was best: A good photo or a good caption?

If you missed the discussion, 1,000% recommend you check out everyone’s preferences.

Here’s what’s interesting:

A few people said that most people don’t bother reading the caption – so why bother writing a good one?

Good point!

Do we always read captions?

Share with us in the comments:

  1. Do you ALWAYS read people’s captions?

  2. Or do you mainly pay attention to a photo, not necessarily read the caption, (maybe comment if you love the photo), and then you keep scrolling?

  3. Or maybe you do read the caption depending on WHO is posting?

What do you usually do?

We did a poll on Instagram:
35% of people said always read captions
65% said they don’t always read captions

Uh oh. Interesting.

But wait, don’t think captions are useless!

Let’s go deeper because it gets even more interesting.

We asked you to share your thoughts. Your comments were very interesting.

Let’s get into it.

And at the end, I’m going to share what we can all learn from this.

Do you always read Instagram captions?

@naomikandrews: I read a lot of captions, but don’t have time to read them all. I’m more in the number 3 category (it depends on who posts). And if I’m tired I’m less likely to read.

@theshopfiles: usuallllly. But ALWAYS for certain people I really connect with!

@amelia_shares: I would only read caption if pic caught my attention.

@medleythink: If they catch my attention, I read the caption. I usually don’t like double tapping without reading at least part of the caption.

@mattengengroup: If I like the photo I read the caption. Always before liking or replying. To me it all goes hand in hand.

@rootingforyousocial: I allllways check out the captions. If it holds my interest, I keep reading.

@abbyberjes: It depends if the first line is catchy.

@laluna.clothing: Only if the first 3 words grab my attention. However, find a lot of the quotes so fake/trying too hard to be deep and meaningful. We all know they just copy it from pinterest, etc. Definitely a big NO for the long essay ones.

@joi.knows.how: I always give them a glance and if it draws me in, I read the whole thing. My captions are super long so it feels wrong not to read other ppl’s captions when I’m hoping they’ll read mine. Lol

@deegreene: I don’t always. It depends on the person. If I know it’s someone that tends to provide value I’ll take a look but unfortunately most posts are self centered so there’s no point in reading those. But I try to read when I can

@bellajmiura: Yes I read them if they are not super long.

@kinana_sager: Yes if it short caption.

@spacestoheal: Not if they’re tooooo long! I have a short attention span.

@thedevilandthedame: I rarely do. There’s particular accounts I know have information I want when I come across their posts, but I feel most people just have a generic fall back or something cute.

@miss.not.maam: It depends on the account and the picture for me! If the picture catches my eyes, I will at least glance at the caption. I don’t just read the first words, but I usually won’t have patience to read a long post either. I find that if it’s broken up into short paragraphs, or bullet points and has emojis I’m probably more likely to get through it

@thejennykline: To be honest, it depends on who’s posting!! For accounts such as this one that offer lots of advice, and I follow to hear from them, yes!! Always read!! Others that I follow for picture inspiration.. not so much!

@stephahuanlla: Depends on the account! I follow some of them only because they have good visual content and others because they have a story to tell or tips to give (like yours ). Also, if the caption is too long, I might just read only the first sentence and if it doesn’t sound interesting, I just continue scrolling.

@paperandaplan: Definitely 3. It depends on who posts.

@leoprince137: Sometimes, depending on who is posting.

@the_chic_iconic: I would choose 3 (it depends on who is posting).

@cheers_alexajean: I’m 3 all the way! I follow some accounts for purely the aesthetic or memes or whatever and that’s FINE if you’re that kind of account. But the ones I LOVE and always come back to I always read their comments and engage with as much as I can

@thisjustinne: 2 and a bit of 3. It’s usually the photo that makes me read the caption, if the photo looks like they’re telling a story, then I check the caption. But if I know the person who posts the photo and they just usually use quotes as caption, I skip it, might give it a like, but ignore the caption.

@connectioncollectiveco: Captions? Heck to the yes when people have shown that they provide a lot of value, authenticity or laughs in their captions. Combine photos & captions, I look forward to their content the most!

@dashia_aray: Usually I’ll read it if it’s good quality or want to know where they took the photo. Mostly to receive more information about the post not to read a random song lyric.

@rachelbarbara: If I see a long caption or a photo I’m interested, I’ll read the caption. Doesn’t mean I’ll read all of it! If I start reading a long one and I’m not interested. I’ll stop reading and keep on scrolling! I like writing long captions about destinations I’ve visited! Especially if there is cool history or fun facts about it!

@freespirit2211: 3! I follow a lot of animal profiles and the main point for me is to see the cute puppies or kittens or pandas, it doesn’t really matter what the caption says at that point. However, if it’s other accounts that I follow and the picture grasps my attention I might pay more attention to the caption and how it interacts with the picture.

@pomegranate_planet: Photo is important, but if there is a good image and no caption at all, I feel like the person doesn’t really care in connecting with the audience. Lots of fake accounts just post images without a word. I think no one authentic wants to look fake.

@debbiediscovers: I read depending on who’s posting! I like short witty pithy captions. But I also like longer captions where I’m asked to comment or feedback on a relevant issue that is not too user-egocentric (like which shoes should I buy) lol.

Interesting right?

Summary

Here is what we have learned:

  1. The majority of people will read captions, but it depends on a few things (keep reading).

  2. The photo is important: if it catches people’s attention, they are more likely to check out the caption.

  3. The first sentence in your caption is super important: it needs to be catchy.

  4. What you write about: it needs to be informational, helpful, inspirational or your personal story.

  5. People seem to prefer short captions, because their time is valuable.

  6. If your caption is long: it is fine as long as you are telling your story, your experience or sharing your tips.

  7. Captions = connections. People love to read captions to connect with you on a deeper level.

  8. Who posts is important: Which means that you (you, reading this right now) matter. People love to connect. They want to connect with you. To connect, you need to show up and be yourself. Embrace yourself and your passion to the absolute fullest. People will stick around if they feel like they can trust you, get to know you, get inspired or entertained by you, or learn from you.

Quick tip: The best way to connect through your caption is to write like you would speak to a friend. Because after all, you’re connecting with new friends from all around the world!

Meet Our Team: Collin Harmon, Journalist

 
Collin headshot.jpg
 

Where were you born? 

Newport Beach, California

What is your education background? 

Broadcast News Journalism degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Go Buffs!

What do you love about storytelling?

My love for it started when I was an 8-year-old with a microphone in my living room announcing Michael Jordan's game-winning shot in the NBA Finals. Whether it's speaking into a microphone or through writing, I love having the creative freedom to tell a story in different ways. There are so many interesting stories out there waiting to be told. 

What are you up to these days?

Soaking up the last days of quiet at home as my wife and I are expecting our first child, a daughter due in July. We're super excited.

Share an interesting fact about yourself

When some people see my last name, they half-jokingly ask if there is any relation to the actor Mark Harmon. Yes actually, he is my dad's cousin.

Instagram’s New Camera Design and Create Mode

May 16, 2019 by Taylor 
Images by Megan & Cristina

 Instagram has set out to make Instagram Stories even more dynamic and creative. You may have noticed that the Camera Design and Face Filter menu have a fresh new look! There are also several new face filters to choose from (including the Rainbow Mask designed by Austin’s very own @mattcrump). We’re going to unpack everything you need to know about the new Camera Design as well as the Create Mode.

Instagram’s New Camera Design

We love that Instagram is always rolling out new ways for us to flex our creativity. The new Camera update is designed to make adding effects and interactive sticker content even easier. The new view also has an arched filter menu and includes the options for what type of Instagram Story you want to post (i.e., Normal, Boomerang, Hands-Free, etc.). This makes it simple to switch back and forth from the different Instagram Story posting options without losing your filter.

What is ‘Create Mode’?

Create Mode essentially gives users an easy way to share Instagram Stories without a photo or video. It’s similar to ‘Type’ mode, except you can add filters, effects, and stickers. It’s convenient because it doesn’t require you to start with a photo or a video before posting content to your Stories. Create Mode isn’t available to everyone yet, so keep checking your Instagram account to see if you have access to the new feature!

We can’t wait to see how Instagram users utilize these new features to make their Stories even more engaging and unique. How will you use the new camera design and filter options for your Stories? We love combining @storiesedit templates with Instagram filters to make content that stands out and draws our viewers in.

Meet Our Team: Ray Bisnar, Videographer

Ray.JPG

Ray Bisnar loves witnessing the passion in the people around him, but it wasn’t until after college that Ray chose to use his own passion for videography to tell their stories.  Seeing the final product and seeing their stories come to life through video is what he loves the most about videography. 

Born in Angeles, Philippines, Ray is a graduate of Waipahu High School. When he’s got some spare time, he maintains another passion - music. A fun fact about Ray: he played in a pop punk band called All Heart and got to tour the mainland and Japan. Can you say “Rockstar”?

How to Take Awesome Pictures with Your Phone

By Joshua Payberah; Digital Branding Institute

Yes, we’re all about video, but knowing how and why good photographs are key to your success in digital content marketing is also important. And we want you to succeed. Because we like you. And this is a really useful article.

Phone cameras have come a long way, but they are not perfect. This is where you come in. The following tips will show you how to take awesome pictures with your phone.

You might be asking yourself “why should I care about taking pictures with my phone?” According to data from Skyword, a Boston company specializing in content marketing, articles with pictures get 94 percent more total views than articles without.

If you want your customers and website visitors to see your content, you should try to include many high-quality pictures.

Including pictures in your press releases can even result in more views.

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Infographic by MDG Advertising

Unfortunately, DSLR cameras are expensive and can take some time to figure out. The smartphone has the DSLR and other “real cameras” beat in these two areas.

Chances are you already have a smartphone and you’ve already used the camera app. That’s great! Now it’s just a matter of learning a few tricks and practicing. Here are a few tips to help you take awesome pictures with your phone:

1. Use gridlines

Gridlines help balance your shot when taking pictures with your phone. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the quality of your mobile shots.

Turning on gridlines will place lines on your screen based on the rule of thirds, a composition principle which states a photograph should be broken down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. 

Rivertree_thirds_md.gif

According to the rule of thirds, if you line up your subject along the lines or at an intersection your shot will seem more balanced and pleasing to the eye. This is essential when using a smartphone since there is no optical viewfinder.

Here’s how to activate gridlines on iPhone cameras:

  • Go to “settings”

  • Select “photos & camera”

  • Find “grid” and turn it on

And here’s how to activate gridlines on Samsung Galaxy (Android) phone cameras:

  • Open the camera app

  • Go to “settings”

  • Scroll down and switch the “gridlines” option to “on.”

2. Get closer

When you use your smartphone camera’s digital zoom, you lose a lot of fine detail. Instead, try taking just a few steps closer in the direction of your subject and see if your picture doesn’t improve.

Image Source: digital photography school

Image Source: digital photography school

You’d be amazed by how getting just a little closer to the subject can make all the difference in the world in terms of picture quality.

Image Source: digital photography school

Image Source: digital photography school

3. Lose the filters

Filters were cool once upon a time, but these days they are seen as gimmicky. Rather than using the same pre-set filters used by countless teens around the world, try your hand at editing.

Mobile apps like SnapSeed, Photoshop Express, and iPhoto are all excellent for fine-tuning your photos without compromising their integrity.

4. Clean the lens

Your phone’s camera doesn’t have a lens cap to protect it from all the lint in your pockets or fingerprint smudges. This build up of gunk on your camera’s lens can lead to hazy images that no amount of post-production editing can fix.

I recommend buying a lens cloth and some cleaner. Even wiping the lens with your t-shirt is better than nothing.

5. Try taking pictures with your phone from weird angles

Taking pictures from weird angles can result in some of the most memorable photos. This is all about seeing from another perspective and to do this will require some creativity.

Image Source: Anthony Vitale

Image Source: Anthony Vitale

Think about bird’s eye view/ the overhead — to capture that shot one would need to position themselves above the subject. To do this you can try taking pictures from rooftops, or even ladders.

Image Source: iPhone Photography School

Image Source: iPhone Photography School

What about taking a reverse bird’s-eye? — to capture this shot you’ll have to lie on your back.

Image Source: Michael Kestin

Image Source: Michael Kestin

Think about the perspective of a child or a dog — to capture this shot you’ll want to crouch or lie down on the ground.

I know a journalist whose signature shot is to get behind someone giving a speech to capture the faces of the audience. He was one of many journalists to cover the 2016 presidential election, but because of his signature style of taking pictures, I can recognize his work even without reading a byline.

Image Source: Alan Mittelstaedt

Image Source: Alan Mittelstaedt

6. Forget the flash

If you want to take good pictures with your phone, you should forget about the flash.

The light used is a small LED and this, combined with the fact that it’s not even an inch away from the lens, makes for blurry photos, strangely lit subjects (seriously, the flash makes people look like they have jaundice) and red devil eyes.

So what do you do if it’s dark? Well find another source of light, but do not switch on the flash unless it’s to capture the elusive Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster.

Image Source: Patrick Janelle

Image Source: Patrick Janelle

For alternative sources of light, you might have to wait for the right opportunity and try to work with your environment. For instance, if you’re walking the streets, you might wait for a passing car’s headlights, or a street lamp to illuminate your subject. If you’re in a dark club, you can try to sidle up to the well-lit bar.

Natural light is almost always better than artificial, so practice good time management skills so you can take pictures with your phone while you still have daylight.

7. Turn your phone on its side

The web is a horizontal medium. We consume content horizontally, not vertically. As a content creator, you should aim to produce horizontal pictures that take up the entire screen and not just a tiny slice.

8. Use the volume button

Turning your smartphone on its side has an added benefit — you can use the “volume up” button as the shutter. This is a benefit because using the standard shutter button will often throw your perfect picture off balance.

By turning the phone on its side and using the volume button as the shutter, you will be forced to use both hands. This will increase stability and reduce shaking.

In Conclusion:

The key to photography, like any art, is to keep learning and practicing.

Good pictures are vital to your content strategy.

While DSLRs and other “real cameras” are nice, they are not always the most affordable nor convenient pieces of equipment. It is up to you to take truly awesome pictures with the equipment you have — your phone.