How does the Size of Your Written Content Impacts Shares?

If you write articles or other types of content that you would like to have shared, then this article is for you. We will explore how the size of an article impacts how many times it is shared on social media channels.

Analyzing this type of data is very helpful when it comes to your marketing efforts. You should use media monitoring and other types of analytics and data capture to track how well your marketing efforts are doing. 

This data comes from the Blog where they analyzed the average word count of some of the biggest stories from five of the top sites on social media in December 2016. The results are quite interesting and you can learn quite a bit from them.


The stories were ranked by total engagements they received on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest combined. Then, they calculated the average word count for the top ten stories. Headlines, subheadings, pull quotes, and calls to action were not counted into the average word counts.  

The graph above below shows the average length of the top ten most engaged stories from these five publishers in December:

How Long are the Most Shared Stories on Social Media?

Each publisher had different averages. With the exception of Fox, the other outlets averaged higher word count numbers. The difference for Fox is that their articles included a high number of visuals like video, photos, or other interactive content. Thanks to increasing mobile data plans, more users are able to consume more video and images.


What Is the Perfect Word Count for Articles?

Of course, the pressing question is what’s the magic number? Unfortunately, even with all this data, it is too difficult to say for sure what that number is. However, the best way to find your magic number is to test different article lengths with your own audience and the gathered data to formulate your best number. 

The New York Times recently released a 2020 journalism report. In it, they commented that “too much of our daily report remains dominated by long strings of text”.

Here is a chart that shows how The New York Times has been increasing visuals over time since NewsWhip has been monitoring this back in 2014:

This shift for including more visuals and visual based content has been a growing trend. There are many reasons to use imagery in addition to text. It often gets the point across quickly, captures the reader’s attention, and studies have shown that images trigger a part of the brain that helps people retain the information faster and for longer than text alone. When you test content with your audience, you will find what works best for your readers or users based on your business.

That could mean writing shorter and longer versions of the same content and testing which performs better socially. You might also right from different angles to discover which resonates with your audience.

When you gather the data and analyze the most common themes in your content, you will continually increase your success rate with social shares and viral content. Media monitoring and listening can help you identify what your audience thinks and help you design the right length and right blend of content that is ideal for your company.


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