Does Customized Instagram Alt Textual content Enhance Attain?

Social website positioning is a sizzling subject in the meanwhile; Instagram alt textual content could also be trending even more durable than ChatGPT. And whereas there’s a ton of content material explaining theoretical greatest practices, there aren’t a number of blogs that present somebody truly testing it out.

Right here at Hootsuite, we pleasure ourselves on training what the thought-leaders preach, displaying as an alternative of telling, and getting our dainty, digital palms within the theoretical mud. We’re social media scientists! We take a look at theories once we see ‘em!

And at the moment, we’ve obtained an experiment for you. Be a part of us in testing whether or not writing customized alt textual content on Instagram can enhance attain.

Speculation: Writing customized Instagram alt textual content will get my posts extra attain

Let’s get one factor out of the best way: Instagram alt textual content is a should for all entrepreneurs. Accessibility is vital, and inclusive design opens up your content material to visually impaired audiences.

However what if alt textual content may also enhance your social website positioning?

For anybody new right here, alt textual content is the extra descriptive copy used to explain the contents of a picture inside HTML code. It makes your content material accessible to individuals who use display screen readers and might improve your possibilities of showing in searches.

Instagram presents AI-generated automated alt textual content, however you can even write your personal.

We wish to know if customized Instagram alt textual content could possibly be a brand new weapon in your arsenal for battling the wastelands which might be Instagram website positioning. Or, simply you realize, enhance the numbers in your analytics just a little.

At this time’s speculation is that customized alt textual content will earn us extra attain than counting on Instagram’s auto-generated alt textual content.

Let’s see which textual content will prevail!


To check the alt textual content idea, I pulled up my Hootsuite dashboard and scheduled six completely different posts.

Three have unique, customized alt textual content, and three have Instagram-generated alt textual content.

I attempted to maintain the content material as comparable as potential to keep away from bias. For this experiment, I selected to publish guide opinions as a result of it’s my love language, and Instagram has a sturdy #bookstagram neighborhood.

I additionally let Hootsuite determine on the perfect occasions to publish (with every publish a number of days aside) to encourage engagement.

Now, my private Instagram account has a whopping 801 followers, so I used to be anticipating some juicy outcomes.

create new Instagram post using Hootsuite

I revealed the primary publish (on the guide Tender is the Flesh) with Instagram’s default alt textual content. Then, I alternated posts that includes customized alt textual content with posts that includes default alt textual content over the following week.

The schedule was as follows:

Title Kind Schedule
Tender is the Flesh Default alt textual content Revealed Wednesday, 12 PM
Younger Mungo Customized alt textual content Revealed Friday, 9 AM
I’m Glad My Mother Died Default alt textual content Revealed Monday, 11 AM
Know My Title Customized alt textual content Revealed Wednesday, 12 PM
Black Leopard, Crimson Wolf Default alt textual content Revealed Friday, 9 AM
Intercourse Cult Nun Customized alt textual content Revealed Monday, 11 AM

Every guide was reviewed in an identical caption size (no spoilers, after all), and I included the identical hashtags (#bookstagram and #goodreads).

Default alt textual content…

The default alt textual content for the primary picture is just “Photograph by Colleen Christison on February 22, 2023. Could also be a picture of guide.” The remainder of the default alt textual content is equally written.

…vs customized alt textual content

I wrote a way more detailed, keyword-rich picture description for the customized alt textual content.

For Younger Mungo, for instance, I wrote, “The picture depicts a guide mendacity flat on a peach-colored felt background. The guide is Younger Mungo by Douglas Stuart.

“You’ll be able to solely see the quilt of the guide, not the pages, which state the title ‘Younger Mungo’ throughout the highest of the guide in a big, white typeface. The underside of the guide, in the identical white however barely smaller typeface, reads, ‘Douglas Stuart.’ Then, beneath that, in an excellent smaller typeface, it reads, ‘Booker prize-winning writer of Shuggie Bain.’

“The picture on the guide’s cowl is of a caucasian teenage boy along with his mouth and nostril underwater. He has delicate options and full lips. You can not see the boy’s eyes, solely the decrease half of his face and his proper shoulder. He’s lit up by the solar shining by way of the water. The solar is refracted by way of the water’s floor, making patterns of sunshine throughout the boy’s face and shoulder.”

Then, I rinsed and repeated this technique for the opposite posts.


The outcomes are in! As you’ll be able to see, there have been two runaway stars of the present: I’m Glad My Mother Died and Intercourse Cult Nun. (Two of the spiciest titles of the bunch.)

Title Kind Outcomes
Tender is the Flesh Default alt textual content Attain: 273

1 non-follower

Impressions: 324

1 of which was from the Discover web page

Submit Interactions: 28

6 Feedback
1 Save

Younger Mungo Customized alt textual content Attain: 273

1 non-follower

Impressions: 316

Submit Interactions:

2 Feedback
1 Save

I’m Glad My Mother Died Default alt textual content Attain: 451

6 non-followers

Impressions: 493

3 have been reached from hashtags
3 have been reached from Different

Submit Interactions: 46

5 Feedback
3 Saves

Know My Title Customized alt textual content Attain: 239

6 non-followers

Impressions: 264

4 have been reached from hashtags
2 have been reached from Different

Submit Interactions:

5 Feedback
0 Saves

Black Leopard, Crimson Wolf Default alt textual content Attain: 227

2 non-followers

Impressions: 249

3 have been reached from Different
1 was reached from Discover

Submit Interactions:

3 Feedback
2 Saves

Intercourse Cult Nun Customized alt textual content Attain: 342

1 non-follower

Impressions: 360

1 was reached from hashtags

Submit Interactions:

2 Feedback
0 Saves

Listed here are the attain outcomes from this experiment in Instagram’s personal analytics.

instagram content photos of books with impressions


Bonus: I additionally elevated my total followers by a whopping 1.7%.

What do the outcomes imply?

Alright, so we’ve obtained our numbers. However what do they actually imply?

The TL;DR of it’s that the numbers don’t inform us (with out a shadow of a doubt) whether or not or not customized alt textual content performs higher than default alt textual content.

The experiment was inconclusive…

Sadly, the outcomes have been pretty comparable, with one stand-out piece of content material: The guide assessment of Jenette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mother Died. This could possibly be due to a couple elements. It could possibly be as a result of the guide was trending final 12 months (attributable to her stunning title) or extra of a “proper time, proper place” state of affairs.

The publish that got here in second, Intercourse Cult Nun, additionally has a stunning title and was posted similtaneously the first-place publish, Monday at 11 AM. Hmm.

The primary-place publish had default alt textual content, whereas the second-place publish had customized alt textual content.

To check the theories of success additional, I may assessment different books that have been trending in 2022, others with stunning titles, or attempt to publish once more on Mondays at 11 AM and see how my content material carried out. I might proceed to alternate customized alt textual content with default alt textual content till I noticed patterns emerge.

It might take additional a/b testing to search out out simply why these two posts have been within the prime place.

…however that doesn’t imply you shouldn’t write your personal alt textual content

The advantages of alt textual content go far past attain and engagement charges on Instagram. Alt textual content permits your content material to be consumed by the visually impaired, making a extra equal expertise throughout social media.

Plus, together with people on this demographic in your content material technique opens up your potential attain to a wider viewers. Be inclusive on social media; it’s the cool factor to do.

Hashtags are nonetheless related

You’ll be able to see from the outcomes that customers nonetheless discover content material to interact with by way of hashtags. Sustain the nice hashtagging work!

There are a number of disclaimers we have to make

There are a pair elements we’d like to bear in mind when contemplating these outcomes.

The primary is that my final Instagram publish was from September of the earlier 12 months. The extra lively your account is, the extra possible individuals will interact along with your content material. And the extra possible Instagram is to share your content material on their discovery feed. So, this was a little bit of an uphill battle at first, which may have affected the outcomes.

Psst: Don’t be like me. Schedule your posts upfront with Hootsuite and keep related, engaged, and on prime of your content material.

Additionally, my captions have been fairly lengthy, as I used to be utilizing them to assessment the books I posted. The splendid caption size for Instagram is 138 to 150 characters, so I went a bit overboard with my zealous guide opinions. Sooner or later, I’ll be experimenting with caption size.

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