5 Ways Closed Captions Can Improve Your Marketing Efforts
With thousands of ads, videos, tweets, and headlines smacking your audience’s screen-weary eyes from every direction on a daily basis, equipping your marketing toolkit with tactics that actually work is paramount. Shouting louder or more frequently? Not the answer. Gimmicky tricks like, “re: … or “FWD: …” subject line nonsense? People are smarter than that. Now, more than ever, crafting high-impact content that grabs and holds your audience’s attention will give you the best shot at standing out.
That’s where video marketing comes into play. Bringing the power of storytelling to center stage, it delivers brand messaging in efficient and effective ways. But as platforms become saturated with content, more than just well-crafted videos are needed to stand out. You must consider your audiences viewing habits and that 85 percent of social videos are watched with the sound off.
Adding closed captions not only accommodates your viewer’s on-the-go lifestyle but also offers a wealth of marketing benefits. From improving SEO to supercharging content marketing efforts, we’re diving into a handful of our favorites below.
Closed Captions: Not Just For The Hard of Hearing
Adding closed captions is an invaluable step toward inclusiveness, providing deaf and hard-of-hearing people with access to your video content. Over five percent of the world’s population experiences hearing loss. Specifically, in America, 15 percent of the population is deaf or hard of hearing.
But those are certainly not the only ones benefiting. In fact, one study revealed that 80 percent of television viewers used closed captions for reasons other than hearing loss.
Think about all the movies you’ve seen with less-than-articulate characters (see: Fred Fenster from Usual Suspects or Kenny Mccormick in South Park, anyone?). Few things are more tedious than the painstaking ritual of pausing, rewinding, playing, then rewinding again until you (may or may not) catch the mumbled dialogue you missed in the first place.
Viewers who’ve learned English as a second language, especially, find them helpful when watching. The corresponding text provides clarity with technical terminology and uncommon words while helping develop an ear for more nuanced subtleties of the English language.
We’re living in a time where video is omnipresent. People consume content from their palms–at the gym, in their Uber, at a bar–anywhere with wifi, really. And it’s increasingly important to optimize for digestibility.
The simple truth is, if you’re not tailoring video content to move with your audience’s on-the-go lifestyle, you won’t get views. And without views, you’ll be losing out on valuable opportunities to drive traffic, create leads, generate sales and drive revenue.
It’s all deeply intertwined, and the common thread is closed captions. Adding captions to video is a high-value, low-cost hack that offers a multitude of benefits to your bottom line. It’s not just your video marketing efforts that will see the fruits. Let’s explore some of the top five areas adding captions to video directly impacts marketing.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a tough nut, and there’s no magic formula to secure that ever-so-coveted top spot on page one. But consider closed captions your virtual nutcracker, bolstering your efforts as you climb.
Because search engines can’t watch your videos, there’s no way to index them. And without indexing, they’re practically non-existent. Uploading professional closed captions nods to Google, signaling that you’re important with value to share. One study, conducted by Liveclicker, found a 16 percent revenue increase from web pages with transcripts. The surge in traffic was likely due to keyword searches matching transcript text. Not a bad trick.
Once you include a transcript, you have the opportunity to build links, both internally and externally. Internally, it’s smart to link to other domains, blog posts, articles, etc. on your site to improve navigation. Google looks at your inclusion of internal backlinks for ranking, so it’s important these increase value as opposed to adding clutter.
External backlinks, or sites linking back to your content, act as virtual street cred. They vouch for your site’s quality, so getting links from sites with high PageRank should be a focus.
Adding transcripts makes determining the value of your content simple for users. If you’ve produced industry-relevant content that offers value, you’ll make the decision to link a no-brainer for them.
2. Social Media Marketing
Video is officially killing it on the social media front. A couple years back, Zuckerberg remarked that we’re existing in a “video first” world, where social video will soon be at the heart of everything. It’s safe to say we’re officially there. When surveyed, 64 percent of consumers say that that watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchasing decision. There’s no denying the opportunities, but considering people’s viewing habits before investing time and money into production is important.
Sound is typically an essential component of video. It offers context, narration, and can influence a viewer’s mood with just the perfect song. However, the majority of social video is watched on mute. If your videos aren’t optimized to accommodate this hushed reality, it’s nearly impossible for viewers to know what’s going on. The drop-off in viewers is real, but the solution is fairly simple. Enter closed captions.
More than 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook. That’s a whole lot of juggling cats, yodeling prodigies, and How To Not Murder Your Succulent videos. As mentioned above, a whopping 85 percent of those videos are played without sound. With Facebook auto-playing, those videos on mute, marketers have seen drop-off numbers skyrocket. The good news is that captioning can increase average video view time by as much as 12 percent, according to Facebook.
And while Facebook added a feature in early 2017 that leverages speech-to-text software to add auto-captions of English videos, the quality is subpar. This prompted many content creators to take matters into their own hands, captioning Facebook videos themselves.
While the process isn’t complicated, the naming conventions on Facebook are strict and can be slightly confusing. The platform requires you to put a language suffix on all your caption files, even if your language is English. But we’ve made the process simple. When ordering captions, simply select Facebook Ready SubRip (.srt) as one of your Output File formats at no extra charge. Learn more about how to add captions to Facebook videos here.
With more than 500 million professionals across the globe congregating on the platform, LinkedIn can be a goldmine for lead generation, building brand awareness, and establishing valuable partnerships. Recent updates in July 2018 gave brands and marketers the ability to interact with target audiences by leveraging video for Sponsored Content and Company pages.
Further, you can now add captions to video in order to provide more context, as well as to help users who are viewing with the volume off. Publishing engaging content to your brand or personal page is a solid tactic to increase engagement. Ensuring all videos are optimized for sharing is a best-practice that could translate into more business.
Video has existed on Instagram since mid-2013, back when those clips took everyone’s favorite photo-sharing app to the next level. Now, users can upload videos that are anywhere from 3 seconds to 60 seconds. With stats highlighting average engagements for video posts increasing by 53 percent, many marketers are heavily focusing efforts on building momentum in the video space.
Like Facebook and Instagram, the users are scrolling in silence. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, the platform doesn’t support separate sidecar caption files to combat the quiet. To add captions, you’ll need to burn them into the file. Hold the blow torch, it’s not as violent as it sounds.
It’ll just require ordering captions and uploading via Adobe Premiere Pro. This lets those watching your Insta videos see the captions automatically.
3. Email Marketing
After a while, shooting off emails or newsletters, week after week, can start to feel tired and stale. If you know it’s a best practice, but aren’t exploring ways to breathe new life into those outgoing messages, it’s time to change course. If you’re underwhelmed by the emails, imagine how your subscribers must feel. Time to shake things up, yeah?
Few other marketing assets can convey your message as effectively as video can. Including video in an email can lead to open rates increasing by 19 percent. From customer testimonials to playful gifs, there’s a lot you can do to spice up your emails.
4. Content Marketing
You spend hours crafting beautiful content that’s compelling and insightful for your audience. But how many eyeballs are actually viewing it? To get maximum exposure, we like to use a strategy called “COPE”–Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Adding captions and transcripts to videos opens up a wealth of possibilities for repurposing those evergreen gems. Easily transform videos into blog posts with little-to-no effort. Pull quotes from podcasts and toss them on a graphics card to drive engagement on social media. Turn hard-to-read data into visually engaging infographics. Springboarding from a video transcript can maximize exposure with minimal effort.
5. Expand Your Audience
Captioning content significantly broadens your reach by making it more accessible. Over 36 million Americans are either deaf or hard of hearing. About 5 percent of the global population has some degree of hearing loss. None of these people are able to enjoy your content without quality, legible captions that are synched with your video.
Non-native English speakers are another demographic you’re potentially able to reach with closed captions. And to increase your viewership even more, you should translate your captions into other languages.
Multilingual subtitles give your YouTube channel exposure to a non-English-speaking audience. Your videos see serious benefits from SEO, getting indexed in every language you include.
The Final Word on Closed Captions in Marketing Videos
From a marketing standpoint, adding closed captions to your video content is an effective strategy that improves SEO, drives traffic, increases retention, expands your audience and increases engagement across social platforms. Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing executive looking for ways capitalize on the thriving video landscape, the opportunities for adding value with captions are clear.