Video Captions: Your Secret Weapon to Success

3 Oct 2018

From brainstorming, scripting, storyboarding, shooting, editing, right the way down to colour grading, there’s a lot that goes into producing a video before you can actually hit the publish button.

With so many steps and deadlines to consider, sometimes you can end up focusing so much on the prep and production itself that you overlook the most important part; ensuring anyone who sees your video, watches it!

Of course, marketing plays a big part in this by optimizing reach and increasing impressions. But what if after all your work on the SEO side, people come across your video and aren’t able to consume it due to the environment they are in or what they are doing in that moment?

There’s a pretty simple solution to this, which won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but can encourage video views from those who come across it. We’re talking about adding captions to your video - something we hardly think about when producing content but the impact of which we really underestimate when posting online.

Now the first thing to clarify is, captions aren’t exactly the same thing as subtitles. Captions are a transcription of the audio content in the same language, while subtitles are mostly a translation of the dialogue into a foreign language. Captions will include background noises, sound effects etc. Standard subtitles won’t include those, as they assume viewers can hear the audio unless they are Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

There are two ways of including captions in a video:

  • Open Captions are baked into the video when exporting it and will be displayed at any time, in any context.
  • Closed Captions are the captions you can turn on or off at the click of a button.

It’s still important to include audio in your video, but a simple thing like captioning can really enhance the results and performance of your video. Let’s have a look at why!

Accessible video for a wider audience

This is the most obvious factor: by not captioning a video, you prevent anyone who could be deaf, hard of hearing, or not fluent in your language from enjoying it. And that could be millions of people. If you think about it, there are more ESL people in the world (speaking English as a Second Language) than native English speakers consuming online content - it’s that simple!

Boosting your SEO and making your video easy to find

Captions and transcriptions actually do improve your video’s SEO ranking as well. They work similarly to keywords in increasing the quality of your video for search engines as they crawl and index your content. This also works very well within video libraries and databases where your transcripts act as metadata and make your content much easier to be discovered.

Enhancing engagement and comprehension

It’s been proven that captions really draw our attention to what is being said and help our brain focus. So much so, that it’s very common for people learning a foreign language to watch videos or movies with subtitles, and that universities have found major benefits in including captions into their eLearning material. The message you provide in your video, the words you use to describe your service or product, are likely to stick with viewers more when they hear them AND read them at the same time. 

Making your video Social Media Friendly

Can you think of the effort put into sound design, high-quality audio recording, choice of music and sound editing? Despite this, a lot of video content today is consumed without audio.

Videos are watched more often through silent auto-play when scrolling through social media feeds, mostly on the go, in public spaces and during the commute when a lot of people don’t have headphones, and those who do are instead listening to music or a podcast. That’s why when videos have captions, people tend to watch them for longer (with up to 12% increased view time on videos without captions), because we can still consume the video without playing the audio out loud on the bus (although there is always one…). Needless to say, captions are key in these instances, to increase flexibility and to allow your message to break through any barriers!

Facilitating Translation

Last but not least, if you know your video will be viewed across the globe, you might consider translating your script or dialogue. Translating into subtitles will enlarge your reach even more, by making your video accessible to people who speak other languages and also allowing it to rank better in SEO searches in different countries through non-English keywords and searches. Having a transcript of your original audio in the first place makes translation all the easier.

Now that you understand the importance of captions, you just need the video, right? Contact one of our strategists today to kickstart your video marketing journey!

Claudia Verdecchia

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