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How to Add Captions & Subtitles to IGTV Videos

How To Add Captions to IGTV

RevBlogClosed CaptionsHow to Add Captions & Subtitles to IGTV Videos

To great relief-slash-fanfare, Instagram launched AI-powered video captions for IGTV last month.

In an effort to make the platform more accessible to users, the feature is available in 16 languages.

While the new feature is a huge time-saver for users, it’s also a fantastic way for Instagram profiles to be more inclusive.

According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that’s projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.

Learn how to add captions to your IGTV videos, why it’s important, and how to improve accuracy using human-powered captions below.

How to add auto-generated closed captions to IGTV

Enabling closed captions on your IGTV videos is super simple. Follow these step-by-step instructions to render closed captions for your Instagram audience:

  1. In your Instagram settings, click “Account”
  2. Click “Captions” and toggle on “auto-generated captions”
  3. Turn on auto-captioning in your IGTV settings, as well
  4. Upload your IGTV video, like you normally would
  5. Before publishing, tap on “Advanced Settings”
  6. Turn on “Auto-Generated Captions”
  7. Tap “Done” and bingo!

How to improve caption accuracy

IGTV’s captions are generated by automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, which then creates captions for your video files. The accuracy of automated-captions can vary depending on a number of factors and can range anywhere from 50-90% accurate.

While the accuracy Instagram’s captioning system is improving, it won’t be 100%. There are a few things you can do to improve your caption accuracy, like:

  • Reducing background noise
  • Investing in a great microphone or other recording equipment
  • Speaking clearly
  • Centering the recording device
  • Opting for a professional captioning service instead of using auto-generated captions

Reduce caption errors using professional captions

While Instagram’s captions are free, they’re imperfect. If you want to make your videos as accessible for your audience as possible, we recommend using human-powered closed captions. Here are three easy steps for getting your video captioned with open captions and ready to upload to IGTV:

  1. Order professional captions for your IGTV video
  2. Rev adds captions to your video file
  3. Post your IGTV video on Instagram

Let’s go through each step in more detail below.

1. Order professional captions for your IGTV video

The first step is to use a closed captioning service to get your video file captioned.

Go to the Rev Captions page and click “Get Started” to upload your video file. If your video is already up on IGTV without captions, you can even upload the URL to your IGTV video by clicking “Paste URL.”

Rev uses professional human captioners and guarantees 99% accuracy on every file. Usually your order will be completed within 1 day.

Pro tip: if you’re uploading a video file, you’ll want to make sure that your video is between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long (up to 60 minutes if you’re a verified account). Those are IGTV’s requirements for videos.

2. Rev will add captions straight to your videos

When you are checking out, be sure to check the “Burned-In Captions” checkbox. This means Rev will add captions straight to your video, and you can download your video file with captions added.

open captions

Pro tip: you can also order foreign language subtitles from Rev. We will translate your video and add subtitles to your video. This is a great way to expand your reach globally.

3. Post your IGTV video on Instagram

After you download your video file with captions, you’re ready to post your newly-captioned video to IGTV! You can post from Instagram’s app, the IGTV app, or Instagram.com on your browser. 

If you’re posting from the Instagram app, click on the IGTV icon (a little TV with a lightning bolt lying on its side) on the top right of the feed. View your channel by clicking on your profile photo to the right of “Search IGTV”. Then click +, choose your freshly-minted video, and hit next. Add a title and description, and then click Post. You’re done!

Posting from the IGTV app is the exact same, except you don’t have to click on the IGTV icon–just click on your profile photo and go from there.

If you’re posting from Instagram.com, go to your profile and click on IGTV. From there, upload a video, add a title and description, and post!

Why you should add captions & subtitles to video content

Captions and subtitles for video–especially social, long-form video like Instagram TV (IGTV)–are important for two reasons: engagement and accessibility. 

First, engagement. Instagram, like many other social media platforms, auto-plays videos without sound. They built feeds this way after getting feedback from users–videos auto-playing with sound was jarring. Someone might also be in a setting like a subway train without headphones, where they want to scroll through social media silently.

Most videos are incomprehensible without some type of description, like audio or captions. This means that without captions or subtitles, a big chunk of your viewer audience doesn’t get your jokes, doesn’t hear how great your product is, or doesn’t learn from your how-to.

The second reason to caption and subtitle your videos is accessibility. Many of the people who use captions on social media aren’t hard-of-hearing, but it’s also important to consider the portion of your viewers that are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions can also be useful for people whose first language is different than the language in your video.

Adding closed-captioning to your IGTV videos can be painless when you know the right steps and the right tools to use. The pros make it well worth it to do since you’ll reach a broader audience, your IGTV video will be more engaging, and every viewer of your video will take away more of it.