Ah, captions. Who knew such a short string of words could cause this much frustration? Captions have gone through many evolutions over the years. There was a time when creators were filling up the entire 2,200 characters allotted for a single Instagram caption (some even continued in the comments, because that essay just wasn’t enough). Then there was the time when we all squeezed in as many hashtags as the platform allowed. Nowadays, simplicity is the name of the game. With TikToks and Reels being the main content formats of the year, creators aren’t agonizing about their captions as much. The videos carry most of the context, so captions just don’t seem that important anymore.
Here’s the truth, though– captions are becoming a place for whatever you can’t say in your videos. Short form video is, well, short. You only have a certain amount of time to get the point across. They’re short and snappy, which can sometimes make them confusing to viewers.
When’s the last time you saw one of those short “hot take” videos and didn’t click the caption to figure out what the creator is saying and why they feel that way? Probably never.
And if you do have enough time to convey your full message while filming, you can use the caption to add a little extra something special, like a CTA or URL.
Making the perfect short form video caption comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish with your video.
Whatever you’re trying to promote, your caption can help you get the point across.
You can add link stickers in Instagram Stories, but Reels don’t have that feature (yet– you never know what Mosseri has up his sleeves these days).
In cases where you can’t give your followers a direct, clickable link, use your caption copy to guide readers to your desired destination. Your CTA can instruct users to head to your Stories or the comments section to find the link you reference in your video.
The caption opportunities don’t stop there. Boost your engagement by sparking conversation in the comments. Asking questions is a great way to get your followers chatting in your comments section.
Starting your captions with a verb is a great way to inspire action. Just make sure you sound human– nobody wants to take direction from a robot. You can even throw in a few emojis when they fit the context.
Reels viewers can only see the first line of your caption as they scroll. If you have a lot to say, use that line to request your viewers click to read the full caption. Otherwise, it’s best to keep your CTA short and sweet.
Streamline your next short form video caption writing process with short form video caption templates like these:
Your caption doesn’t have to stop there! You can add additional context and any relevant hashtags after the CTA.
For even more CTA Instagram templates/ideas, check out our guide filled with 150 caption templates that cover all the basics.