Subtitles and captions have become the norm on the videos we watch today. As well as film and TV, we have seen the rise of captions and subtitles in corporate training videos, advertisements, eLearning, social media, and more. In fact, most video content could benefit from applying these techniques.

As a result, different industries have seen successful effects. So, what are the benefits and how will it help your video content?

1. People watch videos with no audio

It seems like somewhat of a shocking statistic, but think about how many times you scroll through videos on Instagram and Facebook on your phone. If you’re doing this in public, chances are, your phone is muted. In addition to not disrupting others around you, there are other scenarios. For example, your TV is on in the background. Whatever the case may be, the stats show the need for subtitling and captioning your content because of the large number of people muting their devices. If a video is not accessible to someone in this way, it’s likely they won’t watch it. Meaning, you’re video is missing out on a large audience because it isn’t “viewer-friendly”.

2. Language barriers

The rise of foreign language subtitles was brought to light with the release of Parasite. The Oscar-winning Korean drama was a prime example of breaking down language barriers. Not to mention the growing number of foreign language Netflix Originals that are continuously being released. By localizing your video content with subtitles, the new audiences are able to enjoy it. While the most commonly used language on the internet is English, Spanish and Mandarin are following closely behind. Take your target audience’s language into consideration and add subtitles. In addition to the many ways, you can add subtitles these days, it is also the cheapest localization method. The more languages you add, the more eyeballs on your videos.

3. Increase engagement on your video content with subtitles and captions

  • A study by PLYMedia found that 80% more people watched a video until the end when it had subtitles or captions.
  • Whereas, videos without subtitles were watched to 66% completion.

With a 14% increase, this stat proves that adding dialogue text will get your content more viewers, who actually fully watch your video. If your analytics are low for the time watched, it doesn’t hurt to take this statistic into consideration. Moreover, look at your options around subtitling and captioning. And, test it out.

4. Learning with subtitles and captions

Many people enjoy watching video content with captions, as it allows them to absorb the information better. Those who learn through reading will engage more with a visual that they can read along to. For example, some enjoy adding captions to a video, even when they aren’t needed, or the video isn’t muted. 

5. Accessibility

  • According to the World Health Organization, there are 466 million people worldwide with a hearing impairment. Including 34 million children. That’s 5% of the world’s population!

Therefore, it is paramount for content creators to offer accessible content for this audience with subtitles and captions. In fact, anything that has ever been broadcast on television must be closed captioned by law. With this in mind, consider your audience and reach. By not doing so, you are not providing accessibility for your videos.

6. SEO benefits

Search engine optimization has built many companies. From optimized images to web pages, adding relevant keywords helps people find your content by ranking higher on search engines. As well as the many ways we normally use SEO, video captions can actually boost your ranking too. Google actually indexes subtitles and captions that you have added to your videos. It is essentially an organic marketing method that gets more eyes on your video content.

How can you add captions or subtitles to a video?

As we have seen, subtitles and captions add so much value to your video content. When it comes to adding them to your media, you have three options.

  • DIY – Subtitling and captioning software
  • Subtitle and caption services from a localization provider
  • Hire a freelancer

In the past, you didn’t have all of these options. However, the benefits of adding text have led many industries to utilize these techniques.