Content Marketing, , Marketing Infographics, Search Marketing,

What’s the Ideal Length of… Everything?

What’s the ideal character count of a tweet? A Facebook post? A Google+ Post? A paragraph? A domain? A hashtag? A subject line? A title tag? How many words are optimal in a blog headline? How many words in a LinkedIn post? A blog post? How about how long the optimal YouTube video should be? Or podcast? Ted Talk? Slideshare presentation? According to Buffer, here’s their findings on what content was shared the most.

  • The optimal length of a tweet — 71 to 100 characters
  • The optimal length of a Facebook post – 40 characters
  • The optimal length of a Google+ headline – 60 characters maximum
  • The optimal width of a paragraph – 40 to 55 characters
  • The optimal length of a domain name – 8 characters
  • The optimal length of a hashtag – 6 characters
  • The optimal length of an email subject line – 28 to 39 characters
  • The optimal length of an SEO title tag – 55 characters
  • The optimal length of a blog headline – 6 words
  • The optimal length of a LinkedIn post – 25 words
  • The optimal length of a Blog Post – 1,600 words
  • The optimal length of a YouTube video – 3 minutes
  • The optimal length of a podcast – 22 minutes
  • The optimal length of a presentation – 18 minutes
  • The optimal length of a SlideShare – 61 slides
  • The optimal size of a Pinterest image – 735px by 1102px

Sumall and Buffer have tried to answer this question by analyzing a ton of data. I’m a pessimist when it comes to this kind of generalized approach to analyzing data and, while I think it’s a good overview of understanding overall behaviors, I’d argue against printing out the desktop cheat sheet and begin using this data to craft your own content.

Why?

Quite honestly, these analysis drive me nuts because they lead marketers astray from what they should be doing – optimizing content for their own customers. The data under this analysis says nothing about the content creator, the conversions, the complexity of the subject, the industry, the audience and their level of attention or education, the device, or even whether its purpose is to market, educate, entertain nor a million other factors that might impact the behavior of the audience.

I remember when people criticized our content for being too wordy, and then too short. But our publication is now a decade old and supports a growing business behind it. I remember when we started our podcast and people said we were nuts for going beyond 30 minutes… but we have 3 million listens. Sure, I love a 6 second video like anyone else… but I have made a purchase decision after watching videos over an hour long.

Here’s my advice. Write a headline that grabs attention and isn’t focused on the number of words. Write a blog post that explains what you’d like it to in the amount of words you’re comfortable in writing and your audience is comfortable in reading. Record a video that you’re comfortable with and that you’re proud of – and that drives viewers through to doing business with your brand. Test shorter… and measure the response. Test longer… and measure the response. You may even wish to vary the length to have combinations of both short and long to reach different audiences.

In other words – do what’s right for you and your audience, not everyone on the web.

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