The Rise of Closed Captions: What Do Video Captions Mean for the Industry?
Video captions are starting to become more commonplace in several industries. Whether you’re sharing a promotional video about your company or featuring a series of interviews, there are many benefits to adding closed captions to your company’s branded videos. You’ll reach more people on social media who may be watching at work.
You can also capture a wider audience by appealing to those who are hard-of-hearing. There are 466 million people that have a disabling hearing loss—so you’ll be reaching a lot more people. You can impact cultures across the globe and provide clarity on any technical terms or names of people or brands.
Video captions also allow you to turn your video content into other marketing efforts, including email newsletter copy, infographics, and future social media posts. In addition, you can pull out video caption pieces from a video and create a blog post around it. It’s truly impressive how much additional content you can generate from simply including captions on your video.
It’s good news, then, that closed captions are on the rise.
The Rise of the Closed Captions Movement
Closed captions have been around for a while, but have really only gotten popular over the past 30 years. In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires businesses to make sure people with disabilities aren’t denied services or excluded from activities due to the absence of “auxiliary aids.” A closed caption is a type of auxiliary aid, so their use has increased quite a bit over the last three decades.
But closed captioning was first introduced nearly 50 years ago. The first preview was at the First National Conference on Television for the Hearing Impaired in 1971. It was demoed a few times throughout the following years as the technology continued to improve.
The very first time closed captioning was on American television was about a decade later, on March 16, 1980. The programs were the film Son of Flubber on NBC, a Sunday Night Movie airing of Semi-Tough on ABC, and PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. That’s some good CC knowledge if you ever face that question at trivia night.
In 1982, the National Captioning Institute first created real-time captioning. Court reporters that could write more than 225 words per minute provided instant captions for news, entertainment, and sports.
And just five years ago, the FCC approved the implementation of higher quality standards for text-based interfaces. The world of closed captions continues to improve. In fact, in the United States, regular Spanish-language television programming requires closed captioning.
The Shift to Online Video
Today, brands are wise to include closed captions in their videos. We’re seeing it happen more frequently because they know it makes life simpler for their customers. Increasingly, audience members are disappointed when captions aren’t available.
What’s important to remember is that people will use captions even if they aren’t hard of hearing. In fact, it’s estimated that four in five people that turn on closed captions don’t have any hearing difficulties. They could be in an area where they can’t turn the sound on. Or, there could be a lot of names and terminology that they’re unsure of. They’ll appreciate the presence of captions to help them more easily consume content.
Use of Closed Captions in Social Media
While closed captions are becoming more frequent on television, there’s still a way to go across social media. Only 51% of marketers say they always include captions or do so most of the time. That means nearly half of the video content out there doesn’t feature any kind of captioning.
On top of that, 64% of people say watching a video on Facebook has influenced their marketing decisions. Why would you alienate your audience when you can easily include captions?
Video captions are especially beneficial for social media websites. Facebook offers video caption capabilities and opted to let users integrate them without hassle. Why? Because Facebook knows video captions are a huge boon to its video service.
Think about this: 85% of videos watched on Facebook are played without sound, according to Digiday. Internal Facebook tests also show that captioned video ads increase video view time by 12%, on average.
The Power of Video on Social Media
If you’re posting videos on social media (and you should be), it’s imperative to also include video captions. Here’s why they’re so important:
- Instagram reports that posts with video receive 38 percent more engagement than still images, and more than twice as many comments.
- Tweets with video attract ten times the engagement as tweets without video do.
- 74% of the value of a video is delivered within the first ten seconds. If your video is watched without sound, it can be difficult for your audience to know what’s going on without captions.
- 80% of people react negatively to a video loudly playing when they’re not expecting it. If your video is on mute with captions, you’ll avoid angering a consumer right off the bat.
- Facebook offers an automated captioning tool. Previously, you’d have to go in manually to caption your videos, which could be quite time-consuming. But now, there’s no excuse not to do it.
These stats indicate that closed captions are no longer a “nice to have” feature. Rather, they’re a vital part of any marketing strategy, especially on social media. With how much attention is paid to video, captions are perhaps the best way to ensure you’re maximizing the scope of your content.
Reaching a Larger Audience through Video Captions
Closed captions allow your business to potentially reach many different, diverse audience members. Those 36 million Americans with hearing impairments (plus millions more across the globe) will be able to more easily consume your brand’s content through captions.
The same goes for ESL learners whose native language is something other than English. They’ll appreciate being able to read the content without having to scramble to keep up with a speaker that may use slang or a lot of technical terms.
Not only will captions help you reach a larger audience, they’ll help you more effectively promote brand awareness. Check out some additional benefits around having captions present.
- Captions improve audience members’ reading speed and fluency, word knowledge and recognition, vocabulary, and listening comprehension.
- Captions allow you to repurpose your content quickly and without trouble. Your video captions can be turned into a blog post. Or, you can design an infographic or social media images to further promote your messaging. That’s a wide amount of additional content stemming from one video!
- Any loud background noise, mumbling, or strong accents might make the dialogue in your video hard to understand. Captions can help clear up any confusion in what people are saying.
Now that you know the importance of captions, it’s time to take the next step for your business.
How do Professional Captioning Services Work?
While you could rely on automated captions or try to caption everything yourself, it’s far easier to call on a professional closed caption service. With Rev, you can add closed captions to all your videos in just three easy steps:
- Upload your video.
- Let the Rev professionals to go to work.
- Receive quality captions on your videos.
Rev accepts both video links and files from a variety of sources. This includes YouTube and Vimeo links and actual files via storage sites like Dropbox and Google Drive.
The folks at COMNIO created a quick tutorial video on how to upload captions. See just how simple it is.
First, you’ll login, then click “Place New Order.”
Next, you’ll choose how you want to upload your file, whether via pasting a URL or uploading a file from your computer.
After you’ve selected your file, hit the Upload button.
You’ll then be taken to the Checkout screen, where you can see your total cost. You can also add additional files or URLs to your order.
More than 100,000 businesses have trusted Rev with their video content. That list includes companies like CNN, CBS, BuzzFeed, and Google.
At just $1.25 per video minute, Rev is incredibly affordable. And you’ll get your caption file super quickly. Rev guarantees a 24-hour turnaround time, and it’s often much faster than that.
Why You Should Use Captions
Closed captions can benefit your video content in several ways. First and foremost, you’re expanding your audience. Captions make your content accessible to people that are hard of hearing, non-native speakers, or simply unable or unwilling to watch a video with sound on.
Plus, you’re able to turn your video content into text content for use on social media, email newsletters, your website, and contributed content. You can turn that data into infographics and other social media images, too.
By repurposing your captions into other content on your website, you’re also improving your SEO by using keywords and phrases that your audience might be searching for. And if you’re making life easier for your customers, they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand.
Ready to see how you can take your video content to new levels? Check out the Rev closed caption page to get started. Reap the benefits of reaching a wider audience with your video content!