Caption This: How Captioning Improves Access to Your Content
Think about all the times you encounter video in an average day. How many of those videos do you see when you aren’t necessarily able to listen to the video? With the explosion of video content on our devices, we have more options than ever to watch video where and when we like.
However, it’s not always easy for your viewers to watch video how they’d like. Whether they’re differently abled, watching on the train, or forgot their headphones at home, viewers may not always be able to hear or see the whole video/audio package.
Why make videos that viewers can’t experience fully?
Captioning your video content solves many of these problems, and it saves you from making video content that your viewers can’t access. Incorporating captions into your content from the start not only creates accessibility for differently abled folks, it also makes videos more accessible to viewers who encounter your content through social media platforms.
Many people need captions
At least 48 million Americans experience hearing loss, according to the National Association of the Deaf, and many others have auditory processing difficulties or a limited understanding of spoken English. For a large demographic of your viewers, captioning makes their lives easier and allows them to access information in a more comfortable way. Additionally, some businesses in insurance, medical, or hotel industries are legally required to be accessible. Adding closed captioning to your content from the start saves you time and money, and enables more viewers to access your content.
Attracting attention and accommodating autoplay
By 2021, more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video content. We’re surrounded by video, but we’re interacting with it in new and unexpected ways. It’s quite common for viewers to watch video without the volume, because they’re in places or environments where they want to be quiet or unobtrusive, especially now that videos autoplay on many social media sites. Several video content creators on Facebook noticed that 85% of their video content is watched without sound–a good thing for distributing your video, but not so great if your videos aren’t captioned. Most videos and video ads still aren’t captioned, meaning that creators are only transmitting part of their message to a large part of their audience. Adding captions means that your content will make sense to viewers in as many situations as possible.
Additionally, adding captions to your video makes it more likely that viewers will interact with them in the first place. Recent data from Facebook show that videos with captions receive 12% more view time, and that viewers react very negatively to uncaptioned videos that require sound. So if you want to attract and keep viewers’ attention for longer, captions can help you do that!
Google can’t see everything, even if it feels that way sometimes. Search engines can’t search video or audio, but they can crawl through captions and transcripts on these media. If you want to keep your content accessible to viewers through search engines, attaching transcripts or captions means that your videos will get 10% to 40% more views. And who doesn’t want that kind of increased traffic?
It’s worth investing a little time in crafting professional captions or transcripts, since these are most likely to optimize searching and indexing functions. Automatic subtitling programs don’t always get it right, especially if the audio is indistinct, heavily accented, or sung. Captioning your videos in advance circumvents this problem, allowing you to deliver the message you want your viewers to get.
Making your content mobile
Once you decide to add captions, transcripts, or subtitles, your content is ready to travel around the world. These captions can be easily translated or localized and inserted back into your video content. This means that audiences around the world can easily engage with your video content.