January 21, 2019

Have you noticed that Instagram bios are now getting cut off with a “… more” after about a line or two? Yeah, it’s happening and yeah, it sucks.

This is what my truncated bio looked like recently:

Now, in reality, I had a good descriptive bio that told a whole story about who I am and what I do. That bullet point about “straight-talking, Instagram-loving, high-heel-wearing” was only one small component of that complete bio.

When you see the whole bio, you get a good sense of not only my personality, but my professional expertise as well. That bullet point about being a blogger, speaker, and consultant was lost in the new truncated bio display.

I’ll admit, at first I hoped this was some weird test and they would go back to full bio descriptions. But it seems to be getting more rampant in who is seeing these chopped off bios.

And, like me, most people hate it. Now, there are a lot of things people “hate” about change and when Instagram changes things, a lot of people usually freak out. I try not to and I look for the advantage to the changes. But this one I’m really struggling with. You see, when they truncated the captions in the feed, I was like, ok, I get that. Instagram is meant to be visual and when these long, wordy captions were appearing in full, you were left scrolling past tons of text, detracting from the visual impact of the platform. So I understood that change and saw how it was meant to enhance our experience on the platform.

But this change to the bio. I just don’t see any good reason. None.

Because most people who come to your profile do so the FIRST time they ever find out about you. Whether they found you in search, on a post or a tag, or because they met you and you told them to go check out your profile, they are coming to find out MORE about you. They want to see your bio. Learn who you are and what you do. They don’t get that if the bio is cropped out. Your bio is your first impression. Your 30-second elevator pitch to connect with someone. Why or why would they take this away?

But maybe, there’s a formatting issue at play, I said to myself. Maybe they need more space for the highlight bubbles, and the Action buttons, in order for the gallery images to still appear on the profile screen. I tried to rationalize this, but I can’t. IF and I mean IF this was the issue, they could make the Action buttons take up less vertical space. Or they could make the highlight bubbles smaller. Or they could decrease the white space between the different segments of the bio.

And, besides all of that, even with the truncated bio, the first row of images still doesn’t appear wholly on the screen so it didn’t even achieve that outcome (if that was the goal – I don’t know that it was). And, more new devices are getting narrower and longer (taller than the 9:16 ratio that was normal a while ago) so there’s more vertical space to work with anyways.

So, why the f$#k are they cropping our bios?

Deep breaths…. ok.

The reality is I don’t know why they did this. And no, I don’t like it. But complaining about it doesn’t fix it. So now we have to get strategic.

It’s probably time to rewrite your Instagram bio.

But what should you be aware of? Here are some criteria to consider in your new bio:

  • There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the length where it gets cut off. I got 50 characters on my new one before I got cut off. And the three examples below all vary in characters and length.
  • If you write a long paragraph bio, you seem to get more real estate before cutting off – compared with those using a bullet point layout
  • Your first sentence or bullet point is now the most critical thing you want people to know about you. Assume they will never tap the “… more” – what do you most want them to know the first time they visit your profile
  • Aim to make that first sentence or bullet point intriguing enough for them to tap the “… more” (to be honest, I thought about how I could write something that would lead to “and there’s … more”)
  • Simply making your bio shorter is not necessarily the solution

I did recently rewrite my bio to better fit this formatting. I came up with a reorganized layout that still conveys essentially the same thing but in a way that better appeals to those first time visitors:

So, while a new visitor won’t see all the unique things that make my personality understandable, at least they’ll know who I am professionally at first glance.

And, I won’t lie, it was a pain in my rear end to get this formatted appropriately. I had to edit the bio multiple times to find the spacing and length that would show up properly on the truncated view. I would have to edit, go to the preview, go back the edit screen, edit again, go back to the preview screen, and repeat multiple times until I found something that worked. But I’m happy with how this works, given the new format.

You probably won’t be happy with this new shortened bio either, but you can find a way to make it work for you if you get creative and strategic. Just remember that your bio is your chance to impress new visitors so focus on what they need to know most about you in that first sentence or couple of lines.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Hey there,
    Great post.
    To be honest, My Instagram bio list is having only one line. I know, it sounds little trashy. But that is the truth.
    After reading your post, I gonna make my bio list with loads of words. Your post makes me do that with the help of images which you have posted in the blog.

  2. Great Post. Thanks for sharing a useful article. keep up the great work. let me look at my bio as it’s not enough after reading your post.

  3. Bio plays an important role for sure but do you think app like linktree can negatively impact our result on Instagram? Do you recommend app like linktree?

    1. There is no direct negative impact for using Linktree. I don’t think it’s the best option because it’s another step between getting visitors to your website. I think it’s better to use a dedicated landing page on your own website that acts like Linktree.

  4. Instagram bio explains who you are to the world. It should have some impressive facts depicting your personality, likes, and dislikes. Be creative and strategic while composing your Instagram bio.

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