As content creators in the business or social media world, making the decision to caption your video content may not be the first thing on your mind. As the visual elements which help the viewer be engaged to your story are important, video captioning ensures that your viewers can understand any auditory cues and dialogue, making this accessible for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. If you’re looking to take your videos to the next level, keep reading.
Video Captions Increase Viewer Engagement
You may have heard the mantra “Content is king.” But let’s face it: if you really want your business to stand out in the online marketplace, video content is king.
According to VoiceBox Agency, video made up 74% of all consumer-based web traffic in 2017. With such a wide range of new video content being made available online, it’s all too easy for your content to be passed over in favor of a more engaging video. This is why it’s crucial to grab the viewer’s attention as quickly as possible by using video captions or subtitles.
Media companies and other online content providers such as UpWorthy and Mashable do a great job with hooking the viewer with their bright and energetic visuals and captions. Conversely, videos without captions or subtitles often lack excitement and visual context; all of which lessens the amount of engagement a particular video may receive.
Videos that are created with captions are often synonymous with being accessible in the social media world. Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms mute their videos by default. In fact, over 85% of all video watched on Facebook are often viewed with no sound. This makes it even more important for content creators to consider the use of video captions or subtitles in order to retain and capture an audience.
Facebook noted that videos which included captions or subtitles received a 12% boost in user engagement.
Video Captions Can Boost Your SEO Strategy
Yes it’s true, video that include captions can actually bring a boost to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, making it easier for people to discover your videos online. Unlike articles and other text-based content, videos can easily be lost in the vast algorithms of search engines – that is, unless they have searchable captions to bring the video to a Google search’s first page. This boils down to one crucial motivator for video marketers: without an audience, their video work will be for nothing.
Video Captions Provide Accessible Content for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Non-English Speaking Viewers
Video captions help both non-English speakers and the 350+ million people worldwide who are deaf or hard of hearing. By focusing on accessibility, content creators can increase a video’s reach among those who rely on captions and subtitles to understand and comprehend video content.
Additionally, video captions protect businesses and organizations for potential discrimination lawsuits. In fact, your business can be strictly penalized for not including captions in video content. Anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect the rights of individuals by prohibiting discrimination against individuals based on disabilities, race, gender, age, and other factors. In this case, the ADA works to ensure that all individuals have the same access to resources, goods, and services
Many businesses are required to provide reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. Businesses that don’t provide reasonable accommodations are often faced with lawsuits and other legal action. The US Department of Justice (DOJ), citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, has sued and negotiated millions of dollars in settlements with big brands such as Target, Disney and Netflix, for not designing their websites to accommodate the browsing needs of disabled customers.
Video Captions Allow Your Content to Be Viewed in Sound-Sensitive Places
Video captions aren’t just for the deaf and hard of hearing or LEP communities. There is also high demand for captions among those who simply find themselves in sound-sensitive places. Many people often use their smartphones to watch videos on the bus, at work, and in quiet libraries. They may choose to watch a video in silence, using the video captions or subtitles as a dialogue reference rather than cranking up the volume and disturbing others.
This is equally true for noisier areas. Video captions can help improve viewer comprehension when watch video content in frenzied train stations, bustling street corners, and even when you are surrounded by plenty of noise distractions in your home (we’ve all been there).
Video Captions Improve Comprehension
In order to test the efficacy of video captioning, a study was conducted by Dr. Bryan Dallas and his colleagues at Northern Illinois University. He presented two sections of his class with the same 15 minute video of a TED Talk, with one section viewing it with subtitles and the other section lacking them. There were no hard-of-hearing students in either group. Upon being administered a quiz focusing on the video’s content, the section with captions performed significantly better than those without captions.
A second study was conducted by Kevin at Automatic Sync Technologies, LLC to measure the effects of caption quality on viewers’ comprehension. Participants read subtitles with error rates ranging from 0-20% and rated the text’s clarity on a scale from 0-10. The murkiness of the text had a positive correlation with the text’s error rate, with even small error rates having an effect on participant’s comprehension. Error rates of 4-5% made the text almost unreadable.
While video captioning is undoubtedly important, the second study showcases that poor caption quality may do more harm than good. Content creators must ensure that the video’s captions or subtitles must be both present and clear.
So there you have it!
After putting in tons of thought into a video, you surely want it to shine. Taking the extra step – including video captioning – could make all of the difference. Be sure to contact our team for your next video captioning or subtitling audio/visual project! Also, be sure you check out this article, “Subtitle or Voiceover: Which is Best For Translating Video Content?”