Here at Adobe Spark we spend a lot of time (like a lot) thinking about how to create the best images for the ‘gram. But what about the caption? That often-overlooked space is hugely important for converting scrollers into followers. And more and more, we see savvy communicators putting that real estate to good work by offering like-worthy witticisms and even using it as a micro-blogging space.
Successful Instagram captions in 2020 will have an authentic message, use targeted hashtags, and be relevant to the images posted. A strong caption acts as the punchline to your image’s set-up, offers a window into who you are, or educates with longer copy. Here’s a breakdown on what you need to know about Instagram captions in 2020:
- Authentic messaging reigns supreme. The authenticity trend of recent years continues to grow, with audiences craving behind-the-scenes realness and vulnerability over pretend perfectness. Your audience wants to engage with a real person or story they can relate to.
- Voice consistency is key. A consistent tone and vibe in how you write your captions lets readers build a relationship with your brand.
- Hashtags are crucial. Using the right hashtags in your caption is just as important as your thoughtful words, even if you keep your captions separate from your message. Hashtags in your captions mean new followers know where to find you, you plug in with your online community, and you actively encourage engagement and discovery.
- Micro-blogging continues to gain traction. The length of Instagram captions has doubled since 2016, according to a research report by Fohr and Later.com. That same report found that, in 2020, average photo caption length will be 405 characters (about 65-70 words).
Want to get inspired to create killer Instagram captions? Here are more than 100 Instagram captions, written with your goals and common Instagram content in mind. Get your creative juices flowing with these ideas, but don’t forget to remix them a little for your unique voice and style.
Captions That Will Help You Get More Followers
To build followers and encourage sharing of your content, give viewers a call to action (CTA) to follow your account or to encourage friends to follow along. A few tips with CTA posts are to keep your captions on-brand, make sure your CTA stands out with white space around it (for easy visibility), use relevant emojis around your CTA to draw eyes, and show future followers how you will deliver value. Here are examples of CTAs to include in your photo caption:
- Tag your boo.
- Send to three friends and say nothing. (This one works best with funny or unusual content.)
- Tag the friend who [fill in the blank]
- Tag your girl gang
- Follow @yourbrandname for more [fill in the blank]
- Tag a friend who could rock this coat 😍
- Join the conversation by following along with the @prettyspiritualpodcast community
- Follow 👉 @yourbandnamehere & be the first to learn about new releases
- Receive loyalty discounts on our services by following @ourbrand
- Love makeup tutorials? ❤️ Follow @ourmakeupbrand for more how-tos
- Enter to win our #coolstuff giveaway by following us and then tagging a friend in the comments below!
- Join our travel journey! Learn travel tips each day by following @ourtravelaccount
- Get small business hacks and daily inspiration by joining the community @oursmallbusiness
- 💕 GIVEAWAY! 💕 We’re giving away X product! To enter, follow @ourbrand and tag a friend (each friend you tag counts as an entry!)
- Want us to feature your content? Follow @ouraccount and tag your creations with #ourbrand
Captions that Boost Comments/ Discussion
Posts that get comments and shares tend to show up more in people’s feeds, so it’s always a good idea to start conversations on Instagram. Write captions that boost engagement by knowing your audience’s interests and encouraging them to open up. People want to connect! All you need to do is give them Insta captions that prompt responses. You could try asking an open-ended question, or providing an easy one-word or one-emoji prompt to lower the barrier of participation. Make sure you’re keeping the good juju going by responding to those who answer your question Here are some examples of comment boosting captions that build a relationship with your audience:
- Comment with the emoji that sums up your #mood today.
- On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
- Describe your day in one word.
- Describe your day in three emojis. Here’s mine:
- Comment with your zodiac sign!
- Tag a small business you love to support.
- Need reccs for restaurants to try in #sf! Where should we go? Tag the spots you love!
- When was the last time you laughed?
- Riddle me this… [then share a word problem, asking for guesses]
- Name that movie!
- How do you handle bad days as a small business owner?
- Hey food family! Did you try the recipe I posted? Comment below if you loved it (or hated it!) and whether you tweaked any of the ingredients.
- Which image do you like most? (use this with a carousel of images)
- Where should we go next? What was the last great vacation you went on?
- Mac or PC? I love my Mac but everyone with a Chromebook raves about the low cost and how easy they are to use. My online business is dialed in with Mac but I’m willing to learn a new system. What do you think?
- How do you get over creative slumps? My newest novel apparently isn’t going to write itself. Caffeine? Yoga? Discipline?! Seriously, how do you get yourself back in the creative game after a slow period?
- How do you handle online criticism? 😭 Asking for a friend.
- Are you worried about climate change? What are you doing that we can all incorporate into our daily lives?
- Today we opened our second ice cream shop location and I’m overcome with sweetness! How do you celebrate your business successes?
- Is love at first sight real? I fell in love with this latte as soon as I picked it up. But I’ve never gone head over heels for a human in one glance. What about you?
- Would you open a brick and mortar? It’s such a big step to take your e-commerce site from online to in person. What would cause you to take it to the next level?
- OOTD Question! Which look should I wear for Valentine’s Day? 👗 1, 2, 3, or 4? Comment below with which look and why!
Captions to Use for Selfies
A kick butt first line is crucial for any caption, but especially for your selfie. First think about your selfie and what emotions or vibe your picture conveys. Is it silly, self-effacing, courageous, vulnerable, excited? Capture the mood with a famous quote or an on-point caption. You can also ask questions about your location or outfit to encourage encourage comments from your audience. Try some of these ideas out:
- This is me in all my glory
- Felt cute. Won’t delete later.
- New look, same me.
- New #selfie. Who dis?
- Feelin’ myself.
- This light, tho.
- Me #nofilter
- Believe in your selfie.
- Portrait of an artist as a social media share.
- Me in this moment, feelin’ [fill in the blank]
- This is [fill in your age].
- I’m full of gratitude for all of you! Thank you for being part of my journey 🙏
- Just test-driving these face filters. Which one is your fave?
- Haters will say it’s Photoshop… it’s actually just commitment to the gym.
- Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s hard work.
- Why live in reality, when you can augment it? (Best used with a ridiculous Instagram Story filter)
- Look for the magic in every moment
- Why grow up when you can glow up? 😂
- “Some say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” — John Lennon
- “Here’s looking at you, kid” — Humphrey Bogart
- “Live for today, plan for tomorrow, party tonight.” — Drake
- Which look is best for date night? Outfit 1 or outfit 2? Comment below with your fave!
- New day, new hair! I chopped my locks and now I’m nervous. What do y’all think?
- Looking good, feelin’ even better.
- Kiss me, I’m Irish
- When you have a good hair day, you have to share
- I made it to the top of the mountain! Now where’s the next peak?
- I wish everyday was pajama day. Oh wait, pj day isn’t a thing?
- “Feeling good, living better.” — Drake
- “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Ghandi
- “Phenomenal woman, that is me.” — Maya Angelou
More selfie templates
Captions That Help Drive Traffic
Get more traffic to your website with captions that draw people to your bio and encourage them to click that link. From the link, send them to your website, Youtube page, or other locations. An awesome caption provides enough value and enticement that people stop their scroll, click to your bio, and then click through your link. If you have a shoppable Instagram account, your photo captions should get people to click into and shop the photo.
There are a few copy tactics you can employ to entice people to click through: 1. Be explicit and clear about what you’re offering if people click through. 2. You might also try offering a snippet in your caption. If your blog post has ten tips, give IG scrollers two, so they’re hooked into clicking your link to read more. 3. Leave them wanting more! Be a little mysterious; hint at a surprise or awesome deal or mind-blowing fact, but don’t give it away entirely. If you employ this tactic, just make sure your content delivers after the jump, so you’re not guilty of click bait. Here are some examples:
- Nervous negotiating a raise? We’ve been there. Click link in bio 👆🏾to read our blog post featuring successful females who share proven tips on negotiating a salary raise!
- “Awesome quote from your awe-inspiring travel blog.” Read the rest of this travel tale via the link in my bio.
- “Killer quote from your newest podcast episode,” featuring @guest! To hear this whole amazing episode, click the link in our bio!
- We’ve got a secret… Tap the link in the bio to find out what it is!
- This photo is only half the story. Tap the link in bio to see what was cropped out.
- Like what you see? All this and more at the link in our bio.
- *Contest* Win a free #beautykit! It’s easy, just follow @ouraccount & then visit link in bio to see our newest lipstick color. 💄 Make up a name for our new #lipstick and enter it in the comments below! If we pick your idea you’ll win the prize!
- Leopard coats all day, every day! To shop the look, click the image. (For shoppable Instagram accounts)
- Kickbutt Instagram captions can be easy to write! For help, scope our free tutorial on Youtube…we’ll make ya laugh and teach you things. Link in bio
- Want a first look at what properties are on the market? Subscribe to our real estate newsletter for the freshest listings. You’ll see them first. Link in bio 🏠
- Faux fur for days…only the best for our crew! Love the look? Shop the latest trends via our link in the bio! Use 10% off coupon code OURBFF
- Tired of creating infographics from scratch? Try one of our free infographic templates. Just click through the link in the bio for a free download of 10 terrific templates
- Easy to implement secrets for Instagram success. Our free e-book teaches you how to create a shoppable IG account, structure captions to get followers, and find the right hashtags for your biz. Download it via the link in bio!
- How to wear a headscarf! We’ve got three easy ways to tie and wear a headscarf, check out our easy to follow video on our website. Link’s in the bio
- Ready to take on TikTok? Our latest blog walks you through account setup, how to use, and easy ways to get TikTok followers…just follow the link in our bio
Inspire, connect, and encourage engagement with quotes that speak to your audience. There are two great ways to share quotes. 1) Share a quote as your Instagram post (use Spark Post to make it look great), then reflect on the quote in your caption. 2) Post a photo that’s evocative of your quote, then add the quote into your caption. Add white space below the quote, then add your personal reflection on the quote. Be authentic and, if you like, be vulnerable! Use this as a way for your audience to get to know the people behind your brand.
If the caption is long, use line breaks (white space) to make it easy to read. For example, after a quote about staying strong during hard times, you could post something like: “Have you ever felt like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere? This week our work has been full of challenges and it’s like I can barely keep my head above water. How do you stay afloat during rough work weeks?” This shares your personal experience with a famous quote so your audience can connect with you. Here are a mix of quotes about inspiration, keeping the faith, and reaching for success:
- “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
- “If you’ve got a plan, it’s not just like a pipe dream. You have a step-by-step list of things to do to get to your goal.” — Nipsey Hussle
- “None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” ― Paulo Coelho
- “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
- “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”― Herbert Bayard Swope
- “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
- “You need to have faith in yourself. Be brave and take risks. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.” ― Roy T. Bennett
- “Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
- “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ― Shel Silverstein
- “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
- “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.” – Jonathan Winters
Captions Perfect for Selling
Dial in your first line so scrollers want to read more and convert to a sale. Have an event? Amp up the excitement. Doing a collaboration? Tag your partners and get their followers on board. Have some hot tips? Offer how-to value by showing followers how to use your product and why it’s desirable. Here are some examples of captions that help sell:
- Hey #SanFrancisco! Popup tonight @partnerbusiness. Come by to meet the makers!
- Last day for 25% off all winter boots 👢Shop the link in bio by 11:59pm EST to get in on the goods!
- New year, new you! Freshen up your skin in 2020 with a facial or microdermabrasion! Our skilled estheticians will have you looking a decade younger 😍
- February 2020 only! #BOGO leggings
- Valentine’s Day is coming. Our jewelry will win even the most naughty lovebird major points
- Add three drops of lavender oil to your next bath 🛀 for the perfect mix of relaxation and rejuvenation or freshen up your laundry scent by adding two drops to your next load of laundry
- We partnered with @partnerbusiness to create a wear anywhere travel bag. Where would you wear this?
- They’re back! “Special seasonal item” is on our site now. How will you use it?
- We’re loving @influencer in our #specialproduct. Hello gorgeous!
- This just in! Our Super Sneaker in Candy Red is available in partner stores starting “this date”
- Get featured in our IG Stories by adding #ourbrandedhashtag in your next photo where you’re rocking our bucket hat
- Summer is almost here! Are you stocked up on our swimsuits? 👙 The #favoritecolor is selling out fast!
- Guest chef @partnerbusiness is creating a special menu next week at @ourcafe. Reserve your spot to taste her fab food
- Our @partnercharity is sponsoring pet adoptions at @thedogshelter all month! Come find your best friend and give them their furever home
- This weekend only, @ourfavoriteauthor is signing books in @ourbookstore. Come meet the writer behind your favorite fantasy series
Funny Instagram Caption Ideas
People love to laugh, so giving people the giggles is always a good thing. Even businesses with serious brands can have fun on Instagram, too. Just be sure to tie your funny Instagram captions into the photo you post. You want to make sure everyone is in on the joke. Animals being silly are always awesome, or make a clever play on words that juxtaposes well with the pic you post. You can also re-post a meme (tagging the originator whenever possible) and caption it with your own funny take on the post that aligns with your brand. Here are a few ideas for making your followers smile.
- What #FaceTune?
- This is us before coffee
- Me at work after a 3-day weekend
- All you need is love. And a business loan. We definitely needed a business loan, too.
- Cupcakes are a perfectly reasonable meal
- Call me when the rush is over
- Where’s my cape? I need it to be a superhero day
- Can we make Friday nap day?
- Did small businesses exist before coffee?
Trending Instagram Captions
Trending captions are popular for a reason. People love them! Whether they’re linked to a common theme, like the nostalgia of Throwback Thursday, or they help express people’s #mood, these are IG fan favorites. When all else fails you can’t go wrong when you throw one in, just remember not to rely on them too, too much.
- Waiting for _____ like… (Insert your sassy commentary here from waiting for the release of a new product launch to waiting for your Lyft. Be sure your comment plays off your pic!)
- ______ “That’s it. That’s the caption” (insert a one-liner or short descriptive statement into the blank!)
- It’s a vibe.
- But first, _____
- TBT (stands for Throwback Thursday, and share a nostalgic photo)
- Selfie Sunday
- Motivation Monday (and share a motivational quote or photo!)
- TFW (That Feel When…)
- FTW (For The Win…)
Writing Your Own Captions
Ready to get started writing Instagram captions? Here’s how to incorporate the trends. To experiment with a message-first approach to content creation, write your caption before you choose your photo. Think about what being authentic and vulnerable means to you and your brand. Don’t force anything, just let your words drive the post. When it comes to hashtags, research which hashtags are best for your small business or brand and be sure to use them! These are the portals that bring people to your homepage. Try these additional tips for writing Instagram captions that people will care about:
- Hook readers in with an exciting first sentence that will get them clicking…more.
- Write your captions on a computer first to avoid typos and for easy editing.
- Be consistent with your brand voice and wording.
- Use white space to break up longer captions into readable chunks.
- Weave in a call to action. Try copying and pasting an intriguing snippet of a blog post into your caption then direct people to your website.
- Work in creative spurts, writing multiple captions in one go instead of trying to brainstorm meaningful content off the cuff.