Of all types of online media, video has come to dominate in recent years as the preferred format of choice for everything from advertising to corporate videos and infomercials. However, while the video has undoubtedly become the most powerful media format online, there are some important considerations you should bear in mind when making your next video production – not least of which is the inclusion of subtitles in your files.
Subtitles and the increasingly mobile web
Since 2017, mobile internet use has accounted for around 50% of all web traffic – with that figure recently climbing to 54.8% in the first quarter of 2021. While once it was the case that you could be relatively confident that your viewers would have the option to turn up the volume on your production, with the mobile web it’s quite likely your audience could be watching where loud sound might be frowned upon.
Captioning is good for SEO
It’s estimated around 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it harder and harder for producers to make their content stand out and entice a new audience of followers (note, similar figures and problems apply with all the major social platforms).
However, when you consider YouTube is owned by search giant Google, it should come as no surprise that the service employs extremely sophisticated algorithms to power its search results. In such a competitive environment, anything you can do to help YouTube understand the subject of your production and prioritize it higher will be of benefit in the long run – and one of the best ways to separate yourself from your rivals is by including professional closed captions.
As subtitles are still relatively rare when it comes to online video, including them will give you a competitive edge and help you rank higher in searches. Also, if you include a transcript of the audio in the description field, you will give the platform a much clearer idea of exactly what your video is about.
Subtitles help users grasp complex concepts
Research shows that the inclusion of subtitles can help viewers retain important facts or key points and grasp more complex concepts. By including subtitles (and the transcript), it’s far more likely your viewers will remember the more salient points of your presentation.
Captions improve accessibility
Worldwide, there are approximately 466 million people who are either deaf or suffer hearing problems – meaning, without subtitles, you could be alienating this entire demographic. It’s also worth remembering the global nature of the internet means your video could be viewed anywhere in the world – whether the user has a strong understanding of English or not. Subtitles can help non-fluent language speakers by giving them a visual representation of words they might not fully understand.
Adhering to industry standards and improving visibility
With so much media readily available these days, it’s highly possible your users will unwittingly scroll past content that isn’t subtitled – even if it contained information that could have been of interest to them. By including subtitles early in your file, you’ll give them a quick taster of what your video is about, encouraging them to watch longer. When you consider around 8 billion videos are watched per day on Facebook – and around 85% of them without sound – failing to include subtitles is a sure-fire route to having your content ignored (no matter how good it is).