Unsure about the ideal size of ebook lead magnets—those ebooks you give away for free to grow your email list?

You’re not alone.

Most marketers don’t have a specific answer to this question. And not only those who are creating their first lead magnet. Here at Magnnetic we have even seen experts using “ifs” and “buts” while responding to this query.

And for good reason.

Ebooks don’t belong to a one-size-fits-all category. One marketer could create a 3,000-word ebook and get tons of subscribers. Another could churn out 10,000 words and receive an underwhelming response.

That’s why we recommend you answer this question on your own. But doing so is easy. In this article, we’ll walk through a simple process to determine your perfect ebook lead magnet size.

Table of Contents

How to find out the ideal size of your ebook lead magnet?

Here’s a step-by-step approach to decide how long should a free ebook be:

Step 1: Research The Market

Ever read a blog post that convinced you the writer was reading your mind?

They probably did. Their market research allowed them to. It also enabled them to create a piece of content that would resonate with you, their target audience. 

When you “click” with your target market, you sell more products, populate your email list more quickly and see the number of sales and leads go through the roof. That’s why it’s imperative for you, as a product owner or service provider, to dig deep into your audience’s minds and find out what delights them.

Here is one our favorite tools for market research:


Reddit is called the front page of the internet for a reason. More than 430 million people from over 200 countries are active users, which means there is an excellent chance that your target market spends some time on this platform. 

To find your target market on Reddit, enter your keyword(s) in the subreddit search tool. For instance, if you were in the bodybuilding industry, enter ‘body building’ to see a list of subreddits related to your market: 

subreddit search results

Now, start clicking on the top five subreddits. 

Make sure to note down the titles of posts with the most amount of ‘upvotes’ – which tell how popular the post is. For example, judging by the upvotes it has received, this particular post is one of the most popular on the subreddit ‘bodybuilding’:

highly upvoted reddit post

Keep collecting data on similar posts until you feel you have enough information at your disposal to create content that your potential customers need and want.  

Pro Tip: Want to know about other market research tools? Then check out this helpful guide from Neil Patel.

Step 2: Decide On The Title

Done with market research? It’s time to apply everything you have learned about your target audience and use it to develop a title.

Make sure your title isn’t generic. It should solve a specific problem. 

Here are a few tips for creating an amazing title:

Use words that excite the reader’s imagination: They include words like ‘foolproof’, ‘guaranteed’, ‘amazing’ or ‘ultimate’. 

Use those words to create a catchy headline: For instance, if you were a car retailer looking to get your users’ data, a headline like ‘How Much Is Your Car Definitely Worth?’ will surely appeal to your readers’ imagination

Use a subheading to explain the heading: Using the example above, underneath the title ‘How Much Is Your Car Definitely Worth’, you can pin a subheading like ‘77% of Car Owners Get This Wrong!”

Here’s an example of an appealing title: 

Book cover of Hooked by Nir Eyal

It attracts your attention with the ‘HOOKED’ heading. Once you’re all eyes, the subheading ‘How to Build Habit-Forming Products’ explains what the book is all about. The bright yellow background also plays its part in helping the title stand out.

Step 3: Analyze Your Competitors

Unless your competitors are sleeping at the wheel, it’s likely they already have ebook lead magnets of their own. Analyzing your competition will let you know what’s working for them.

To find your competitors’ ebooks, enter the main keyword(s) of your ebook into Google. Then add “.pdf” after the keywords:

Google results for pdf search

If you need more keyword ideas to find even more ebooks, here’s a quick video on how to find keywords using some popular free tools:

Doing this will give you plenty of ebook lead magnets on your topic. Read some of them and take note of the breadth and depth of their material.

Step 4: Decide the size of your Ebook lead magnet

Based on competitor analysis, you’ll be left with two choices when it comes to ebook’s size:

Short Size (up to 2000 words) – Recommended

If you intend to give your readers a quick resource they can consume in one sitting, restrict the word count to just over 2,000 words.

That’s not just because short-length ebooks are easier to create.

They’re also more effective, as demonstrated by a study from GetResponse: 

GetResponse study on ebook lead magnet size

The creators of this case study interviewed 169 marketers. Almost 60% of the respondents said their short-form written content (short eBooks, checklists, and newsletters) had the highest conversion rates. Only four out of ten got the same results from longer ebooks and guides.

Long Size (up to 20,000 words)

Unlike a short-form ebook lead magnet, which is relatively easy to write, a long-form ebook often requires much more effort.

Will the added effort be worth it? The above-mentioned case study has found otherwise. This is why we recommend that you avoid big eBooks. They require much effort for their production and don’t give corresponding rewards in terms of conversion. 

Having said that, there are two scenarios where using long-form content may be best:

  • Your topic is dense and requires covering a lot of information to adequately provide value to your audience.
  • Your industry is dominated by long-form content and a lot of your competitors use it.

 In the above cases, long-form ebooks can be great, especially among all other forms of long-form written content. As the following chart shows, responses of over 140 marketers confirm that long-form ebooks/guides lead to more conversions than any other type of long-form written content: 

GetResponse survey results

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does my ebook lead magnet need to be?

Most ebook lead magnets are less than 10 pages, which confirms the findings of the above-mentioned case study. An ebook consisting of four to six standard-size pages will remain below or just over the 2000-word mark we recommended above.

What size should my ebook be for my lead magnet?

As far as page size is concerned, 6 x 9 inches or 8.5 x 11 inches are most common. When we design ebooks for our clients, we find these sizes are easy to read on computers, tablets and smartphone devices. 

The overall file size of the ebook, meanwhile, shouldn’t exceed a few megabytes. Otherwise, if the ebook size is too big, your potential customer might have trouble downloading or viewing the file.

Now You Know How Long Your Ebook Should Be

For most, the perfect ebook lead magnet size falls somewhere between four to six standard-sized pages, which translates to just over 2000 words. That size is long enough to let the writer explain the essential bits of the topic they’ve chosen. And it’s short enough to allow the reader to finish the ebook in one sitting.

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