Every post on Instagram has a story behind it.
While the photo or video may in some cases speak for itself, a good caption can still be very helpful in telling the full story. Captions help to:
- establish a narrative,
- provide context,
- add a dose of humor,
- show your brand’s personality,
- and encourage your followers to engage.
Advertisers often use Instagram captions to sell more. This might be through promoting their products, increasing traffic to their websites, conducting market research, or building a relationship with their audiences that boosts customer loyalty.
In this article, you’ll learn what Instagram captions are, why you should use them, and how to write your own. In addition, you’ll find a massive list of excellent captions from 2021 that you can use as inspiration. Just don’t forget to check your Instagram analytics to see which types of captions work best for your content!
Let’s get into it.
What is an Instagram caption?
An Instagram caption is a written description of an Instagram picture or video. They can include plain text, hashtags, emojis, and regular tags.
Instagram captions are limited to 2,200 characters (roughly 300 words) and up to 30 hashtags.
So, as you can see, Instagram allows you to write quite a lot of text. But should you?
Well, according to research by Fohr, the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016. And in 2021 we’re likely to see Instagram captions that average 65-70 words!
That may seem like a lot at first. But the evidence suggests the best Instagram captions in terms of effectiveness are longer. Those that are over roughly 100 words generate significantly more engagement than short Instagram captions.
In summary, you don’t have to write War and Peace under every pic you post on Instagram. But if you do make the effort to give your users plenty of detail and explanation, you should see an uptick in your follower count soon enough.
The benefits of Instagram captions
Instagram is an image-first platform. This means that your primary focus should be on taking creative, high-quality pictures.
That being said, the text remains a key component of successful posts even on Instagram. So, here are 3 BIG reasons why you should care about captions when it comes to your e-commerce company’s Instagram posts.
- Reason 1: Your posts will be more visible on Instagram. The combination of an eye-grabbing picture and a snippet of appropriate text will stop a scroller in their tracks and make them listen to what you have to say. And the more time a user spends engaging with your post via likes, shares, and comments, the better it will rank with the Instagram algorithm. If you do a good enough job, your post might even show up on the Explore Page.
- Reason 2: Customer loyalty. One of the very best ways to improve the profitability of your e-commerce store is to gain more return customers. That’s because it’s much cheaper to engage an existing customer than it is to attract a new one. And Instagram captions are great for building a stronger relationship with your audience. For this purpose, you might want to consider doing some lengthier storytelling or even “micro-blogging”. This can be great for showing off your personality and encouraging brand loyalty.
- Reason 3: Your competitors are thinking about Instagram captions. Still not convinced captions matter? What if we told you that the search term “Instagram captions” is a trending topic in search engines right now, and has been for years? In 2021, competition on social media platforms (Instagram included) is burning hot, which means that if you want to stay ahead, you should make use of every piece of optimization available.
If you take some time and actually master the art of writing compelling Instagram captions, getting new followers and retaining the ones you’ve already got will be that much easier! So, the next question is how do you write the best Instagram captions?
How to write Instagram captions
You can think of Instagram captions as a tool that helps you tell the whole story of the picture. With captions, you can go beyond the image to explore a larger point or idea.
So, Instagram captions are a tool for your storytelling. Captions give you a way to influence the overall message of your post and which ideas stand out most. Do you want your audience to notice your creativity, your quality, and attention to detail, your social consciousness, or something else?
Here’s a simple 5 step guide to writing an effective Instagram caption.
Step 1: Decide on tone
The very first thing to consider is tone. Do you want to tell a heartfelt story or make people laugh? Is the post meant to be thoughtful? Inspirational? Goofy? Knowing what you’re going for will make it much easier to come up with something that works for your picture. Plus, you should have an overall sense of how you want your brand to sound. Make sure the text of your Instagram caption fits within this overall brand voice.
Step 2: Hook their attention
Next, you’ll need a killer first line. Or two lines. Or three. There are no hard and fast rules here, just your imagination. The point is to get out something punchy before the caption is truncated, so that other user would see it without having to click “more”. Your options here are pretty much limitless. You can start with a question, a bold or intriguing statement, drop some eye-popping stats, announce a deal or discount, or open with a thought-provoking quote – the list goes on.
Step 3: Provide value to your audience
Now you have your audience’s attention, you need to provide them with something useful. So, when it comes to the body text, do your best to speak with authenticity (no one likes stilted phony-baloney on social media) and provide real value to your – existing or potential new – followers. You can share a story, offer tips and tricks, make a how-to, say something funny or inspiring, or otherwise give people a reason to engage with your content.
Step 4: Make the caption visually engaging
Instagram is a visual format, so make sure your texts look nice. Alternate between short, one-sentence paragraphs and long chunks of text. And use line breaks to give your caption a cleaner, more professional look. Also, don’t forget to add a handful of emojis per caption to give it some color.
Step 5: Tell them what to do next
To top it all off, add a call-to-action (CTA) at the very bottom and you’re golden! This could be an invitation to tag a friend or visit your website, leave a comment, sign up for your newsletter, or… you name it! (If you’d like more advice on how to write a compelling call to action, check out this detailed guide which includes 50 calls to action phrases).
Just like writing in general, writing good captions is a skill, so don’t worry if you fail to generate a masterpiece of social media literature right away. Practice, cultivate patience, keep track of what works, and you’ll get there!
To recap, here are the 5 steps:
- Pick a tone that matches the intent of your post
- Write an eye-grabbing first line
- Provide real value to other users (an interesting story or tutorial, some nifty tips, and tricks, etc.)
- Break up the caption with page breaks and make the text visually appealing
- Write a concise call-to-action (CTA) at the end to guide your audience on what to do next
250 best Instagram captions to use in 2021
So, we’ve covered the theory. Let’s get practical.
Here are 250 of the best Instagram captions to use right now. We’ve collected these by scouring Instagram and the web for the most popular and engaging captions. They’re suitable for your e-commerce business (of course, make sure they fit with your brand’s tone of voice), and you can even sneak them into your personal account too.
Another ingredient we looked for (depending on the topic) was humor. Instagram is big on puns and jokes overall. And what better way to engage someone than by making them laugh or smile (or at least appreciate the effort)?
So, without further ado, here are the 250 of the best Instagram captions for 2021.
Instagram captions about friendship
- “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.”
- “A best friend is like your favorite bra: supportive, comfortable, hard to find, and close to your heart.”
- “Victoria’s Secret models, we comin’ for your careers.”
- “We will always be best friends until we are old and senile. Then we can be new friends.”
- “Friends are like stars, constantly coming and going, but the ones that stay burn as bright as the sun.”
- “I don’t know what’s tighter – our jeans or our friendship.”
- “Meet my Partner in Crime!”
- “Everyone else is just peanut butter and jelly-ous of us.”
- “Friends come and go like waves in the ocean. True ones say… like an octopus stuck to your face.”
- “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.”
- “I would never let my best friend do anything stupid… alone.”
Funny Instagram captions
- “Namast’ay in bed.”
- “We all have that one friend…”
- “I had fun once, it was horrible.”
- “You never realize how boring your life is until someone asks you what you do for fun.”
- “I invented a new word: Plagiarism.”
- “In my defense, I was left unsupervised.”
- “After Tuesday, even the calendar goes WTF.”
- “I don’t always study, but when I do, I don’t.”
- “*insert funny Instagram caption here*”
- “Sleep like no one’s watching.”
Instagram captions about couples and relationships
- “We are totally #couplegoals.”
- “What made you fall for him? He never asked me to justify my past.”
- “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle
- “I’m wearing the smile you gave me.”
- “Sometimes relationships end so love stories can begin.”
- “Love you to the moon and back.”
- “Thank you, Tinder.”
- “We go together like hot sauce and everything.”
- “Forget the butterflies; I feel the whole zoo when I’m with you.”
- “I love that you are my person, and I am yours, that whatever door we come to, we will open it together.” – A. R. Asher
Motivational Instagram captions
- “If you want opportunity to knock, it’s time to build a door.”
- “Keep your face toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman
- “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
- “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
- “Dreams don’t have expiration dates, keep going.”
- “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”
- “Opportunities are like sunrises, if you want too long you can miss them.”
- “So many books, so little time.” – Frank Zappa
- “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Instagram captions for selfies
- “Me, myself, and I.”
- “I don’t always take a selfie, but when I do…”
- “I woke up like this.”
- “Me doing me.”
- “Sometimes you gotta be a beauty and a beast.”
- “What do you think of this look?”
- “Things I do in the gym: 20% workout, 80% selfies!”
- “Confidence level: selfie with no filter.”
- “If I send you my ugly selfies, our friendship is real.”
Quotes for Instagram captions
- “Lose your dream, you lose your mind,” – The Rolling Stones
- “A sass a day keeps the basics away.”
- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
- “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
- “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
- “Look for the magic in every moment.”
- “I’m not high maintenance, you’re just low effort.”
- “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
- “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
Instagram captions about the summer
- “Suns out, buns out.”
- “This is my resting beach face.”
- “No pants, no problem.”
- “It is always summer somewhere.”
- “Life’s a beach.”
- “Seas the day.”
- “Lake hair, don’t care.”
- “Queen of the (sand) castle.”
- “Mentally on the beach.”
Song lyrics for Instagram captions
- “I’ve loved and I’ve lost, but that’s not what I see.” – Ariana Grande
- “You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer.” – Nicki Minaj
- “It’s hard time finding your freedom.” – Slushii
- “Keep switchin’ your alibi, or stutterin’ when you reply. You can’t even look me in the eye. Oh, I can tell, I know you’re lyin’”. – The Chainsmokers
- “I’m a babe, I’m a boss and I’m makin’ this money.” – Avril Lavigne feat. Nicki Minaj
- “I would sell my soul for a bit more time.” – Halsey
- “Farewell tequila, so long margarita. And lady sativa, I hate to leave ya.” – Bebe Rexha
Cute Instagram captions
- “Always wear cute pajamas to bed; you never know who you’ll meet in your dreams.”
- “You’re otter this world.”
- “Home is where bae is .”
- “7 billion smiles, and yours is my favorite.”
- “Not all dogs are good boys. Some are good girls!”
- “I know how to purr my way out of everything.”
- “I’ve fallen in love many times… but always with you.”
- “I’m coconuts about you!”
- “Don’t give up your dreams. Keep sleeping.”
- “I walk around like everything is fine. But deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.”
Instagram travel captions
- “Just gonna cross this off the bucket list…”
- “The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever.”
- “Life is an adventure, not an all-inclusive retreat.”
- “Stung by the travel bug. There’s no way back.”
- “If traveling was free, BYE!”
- “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
- “Work. Save. Travel. Repeat.”
- “Born to roam. Everywhere is home.”
- “Happiness is landing in another country.”
Success captions for Instagram
- “Work hard. Then work harder.”
- “The impossible just got possible’d.”
- “All do some. Some do it all.”
- “We did it!”
- “And they said it was impossible!”
- “Never thought I’d see the day!”
- “Sweat – wiped off. Goal – in the bag!”
- “It’s finally over! But was it really worth it? I mean… Just kidding, of course it was!”
- “Perseverance pays… a lot!”
- “None of this would’ve been possible without all of you!”
Sassy Instagram captions
- “Me sarcastic? Never.”
- “It is so weird being my own role model.”
- “I got a good heart, but this mouth…”
- “It’s okay if you don’t like me. Not everyone has good taste.”
- “What, like it’s hard?”
- “Sometimes I wish I could be you, so I could be friends with me!”
- “Home is where the bra isn’t.”
- “I’d rather die my way than live yours.”
- “Life is short. Smile while you have teeth.”
- “I tried to be bored, but I got bored.”
Question captions for Instagram
- “Yes or No?”
- “Miss me?”
- “Which [fill in the blank] are you?”
- “What time is it?”
- “If you could be doing anything right now, what would you do?”
- “Didn’t see this coming, did ya?”
- “Anyone with me?”
- “How are you guys doing?”
- “Trivia Time: How many people have tried [fill in the blank]?”
Food Instagram captions
- “Donut kill my vibe.”
- “Followed my heart and it led to the fridge.”
- “Pop the bubbly.”
- “In the mood for noods.”
- “Ain’t got muffin on me.”
- “Pasta la vista, baby.”
- “Waffles are just pancakes with abs.”
- “Don’t go bacon my heart.”
- “Keeping up with the Carbdashians.”
- “You’re a real pizza work.”
Coffee Instagram captions
- “Fall? Pumpkin spice lattes reign supreme, obvi.”
- “Spring brings us growth and lavender lattes.”
- “Sip sip, hooray!”
- “I like big cups and I cannot lie.”
- “Too much Monday, not enough coffee.”
- “Resting coffee face.”
- “Rise and grind!”
- “High on pot.”
- “Mugs and kisses.”
- “I’m sorry for what I said before my morning coffee.”
Feel good Instagram captions
- “Be happy. It drives people crazy.”
- “Keep your chin up, so your crown don’t slip.”
- “My sunrise on the darkest day.”
- “This all started with Netflix and chill.”
- “Be the type of person you want to meet.”
- “Cue the confetti.”
- “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything.”
- “When life gives your lemons, freeze them and use them to throw at your enemies using some sort of trebuchet.” – Jenny Lawson
- “Life begins today. Always.”
- “When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”
Cat captions for Instagram
- “Omg! Mom! Is that furr me?”
- “Grocery shopping today with Hooooman.”
- “Purring myself up by the floofstraps.”
- “I’ll take my next treat right meow.”
- “The road to my heart is paved with paw prints.”
- “I used to have lofty goals. Now I have cats.”
- “Did you know that cats have 32 individual muscles in each ear, to help them ignore you?”
- “Whisker while you work.”
- “Zero fluffs given.”
- “A furmidable opponent.”
Dog captions for Instagram
- “Such wow!”
- “Puppy love.”
- “He protect, but he also attac.”
- “Love is a four-legged word.”
- “Dogs are my favorite people.”
- “My dog thinks I’m kind of a big deal.”
- “People don’t deserve dogs.”
- “Dog hair is part of the décor.”
- “Work mode disengaged. Cuteness overload.”
- “Ya gon’ finish that?”
Sad Instagram captions
- “When life gives you lemons.”
- “Taken. Taken for granted.”
- “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
- “Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”
- “I always found the right one at the wrong time.”
- “People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.”
- “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse
- “These days flattery wins friends, truth begets hatred.” – Terence
- “Want to be happy? Care less.”
- “Learning is a gift. Even if pain is the teacher.” – Maya Watson
Clever Instagram captions
- “They call me ranch ‘cuz I be dressing”.
- “I just rolled my eyes so hard I saw my brain.”
- “If the world was created in 7 days but it took 9 months to make me, I’m clearly a big deal.”
- “Be a stiletto in a room full of flats.”
- “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to Instagram it, will it end up on Facebook?”
- “Friday is my second favorite F word.”
- “I liked memes before they were on Instagram.”
- “Recommended by 4 out of 5 people who recommend things.”
- “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s the Clarendon filter.”
- “If I don’t post a picture, did it even really happen?”
Birthday captions for Instagram
- “Experience level: [age].”
- “In dog years, I’m only 7!”
- “Here’s to another trip around the sun.”
- “It’s my birthday and that’s the tea.”
- “Hugs, kisses, and birthday wishes.”
- “Still got it!”
- “Don’t tell me to act my age because I haven’t been this age before.”
- “It is scientifically proven that people who have more birthdays live longer.”
- “I’m just here for the cake.”
- “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”
Quarantine captions for Instagram
- “All dressed up with nowhere to go.”
- “I want to get quarantined with you.”
- “I’m smiling, I swear.”
- “In case you lost track, today is April 97th.”
- “Let me know when outside is legal.”
- “If the WiFi goes out, I guess I’ll have to call myself.”
- “Lazy is a strong word. I call it ‘selective participation’”.
- “It’s only Quarantine if it’s in the Quarante province of France. Otherwise it’s just Sparkling Isolation.”
- “Me walking out of my house once social distancing is over.”
- “It’s all zoom and gloom right now.”
Halloween captions for Instagram
- “Creep it real.”
- “Tick of treat?”
- “Pumpkin and spice, and everything nice.”
- “I cannot be held responsible for any missing candy.”
- “New mask, who dis?”
- “Ghouls just wanna have fun.”
- “Bugs and hisses.”
- “Only bad witches can drive stick.”
- “Howl about them apples?”
- “The ghostess with the mostest.”
Christmas Instagram captions
- “Silent night… Oh, well we tried.”
- “Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle.”
- “Sweater Weather is Better Together.”
- “Make it a December to Remember.”
- “I love you snow much!”
- “If kisses were snowflakes, I’d send you a blizzard.”
- “Better than all the presents under the tree.”
- “The holly to my jolly.”
- “Sleighing it!”
- “It’s like they WANT stockings full of coal.”
New Year’s captions for Instagram
- “Page 1 of 365”.
- “It’s only January 1st and I’ve already failed at my resolutions…”
- “What’s coming is better than what’s going.”
- “Sorry in advance for writing ‘2020’ on everything for the next six months.”
- “May your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”
- “Why was 6 afraid of 9 on New Year’s Eve? Because 9, 8, 7.”
- “Less bitter, more glitter.”
- “New year. Same me. Bigger goals.”
- “Headed into the new year like…”
- “Thank u, next.” – Me to 2021
- “I can’t believe it’s been a year since I didn’t become a better person.”
- “Pop, fizz, clink!”
- “A little party never killed anybody.”
The Best Instagram captions 2021 - Takeaways
So, we’ve been through why Instagram captions matter and how to write them.
Plus, you now have 250 of the best to use as Instagram. These range from funny Instagram captions to selfie captions, cute captions, and Instagram captions for couples. So, just pick the type of caption that best fits your brand, product, and post, and you’re good to go.
Once you’ve got your caption game tightened up, why not boost engagement with your posts even more by adding some trending hashtags? Here’s a handy guide to the 50 most popular hashtags on Instagram in 2021 and how to use them.
What is an Instagram caption?
An Instagram caption is whatever text accompanies your Instagram post. This can be plain text, hashtags, emojis, and regular tags.
What is Instagram’s character limit for captions?
The limits are 2,200 characters (roughly 300 words) and up to 30 hashtags. Given the popularity of longer captions, it would be a good idea to aim for at least 65-70 words per post, depending on what you’re going for. You may also want to consider “micro-blogging” to really dig into a particular subject and provide more value to your audience.
What are the benefits of writing Instagram captions?
With Instagram captions you can share a story, ask your followers a question, direct them to your website, collect information, and much more. Adding captions to your posts will increase the chances that people who would’ve likely scrolled past to someone else’s account stop and take notice! And captions provide an opportunity to engage with your audience on a more informal level, and gain some extra likes, shares, and comments.
How do you write good Instagram captions?
Begin by deciding what tone is the most appropriate for this post. Next, come up with a catchy first line to grab people’s attention. Ideally, this part should be in full view before the caption gets truncated – if a user needs to click “more” to see it, consider making it shorter. Then, make your caption visually appealing by breaking up long chunks of text, and adding page breaks and emojis. Finally, add a call-to-action (CTA). This might be a request for comments or likes, a link to your store, or an invitation to sign up.