Why Closed Captions and Subtitles are a Must for Videos
Video is one of the most powerful channels you can employ. Videos increase engagement, entertain followers and make your company more visible online. You already get a big audience from videos on YouTube and your own website, so what could possible make it bigger?
A way to make it more accessible… namely, closed captions and subtitles.
There was a time when subtitles seemed superfluous or even intrusive. We’re long past that point. These days, you can see subtitles on everything from cute puppy videos to Oscar-winning films. But what will they do for your video? They’ll expand your audience dramatically. Here’s how:
A Better User Experience
One of the reasons video is so powerful is because it engages multiple senses. That can also be a drawback when a multisensory experience isn’t possible. The deaf or hard of hearing need to be able to read text to follow along with the images. This is especially important if, for instance, you work with a public agency and the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates accessible content.
Even those with no hearing difficulties sometimes have a hard time following the audio track. If they’re not using noise-cancelling headphones or watching in a noisy area, they need textual cues. Closed captioning addresses this need.
It’s How People Want to Watch Videos
As mentioned above, closed captioning makes video content more accessible to those who have difficulty hearing it. As it turns out, it’s also popular among those who don’t need it.
According to recent studies, 92% of U.S. consumers turn the sounds off when watching videos on their mobile devices. The study also shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to watch a video when closed captioning is available. In other words, being able to turn the sound off makes your video more viewable.
Closed captioning not only makes the viewing experience more enjoyable – it also makes it more memorable. The same study shows adding captions improves the performance of ad videos, lifting ad recall by 8% and brand linkage by 13%. In short, adding closed captioning to your video advertising will make it easier to recall your ad’s message and boost your brand’s visibility.
Search Engines Can Find It
Video content performs well compared to other kinds of content – but not always in search engines. There may come a day when Google can rank photos and movement the same way it ranks text. For now, though, closed captioning is a terrific way to increase your placements in search engine results.
For starters, search engines read and index closed captions and factor them into their algorithms when measuring the relevance of your content. Plus, as mentioned before, consumers are more likely to watch content with closed captioning, and their increased views, shares and other engagements boost search engine rankings as well.
The higher rankings will lead to more views and shares, which will boost your ranking even higher. Just adding closed captioning to your video can grow your potential viewership dramatically.
It Expands Your Multilingual Audience
You may have created your video in one language, but its appeal likely crosses language barriers. This is especially true in countries like the U.S., where a growing number of residents speak other languages besides English. Adding subtitles means you can reach your target audiences, whatever language(s) they speak.
As we’ve seen, closed captioning has numerous benefits in terms of engagement, enjoyment and searchability. Subtitles extend these benefits to multilingual speakers. They’re more likely to find your videos using search terms in their primary language, more likely to view for a longer period and more likely to remember your content – and your brand – after viewing. The result is a larger audience and greater global appeal.
You want your videos to be seen and heard. Closed captions and subtitles make them more accessible and memorable.