Articles: Blogs

Aiming for accessibility: Using video captioning to widen your audience

Video - 5th January 2023

Going into 2023, many companies have developed their video strategies to ensure content is both varied and appealing to target audiences. However, an often-overlooked variable in developing content is whether it is accessible to as many stakeholders as possible.   

One crucial way to ensure your video content is both accessible and retains audiences’ attention for longer is by including captions. This is quickly becoming a fundamental feature across all social media platforms.  

This blog will explore the advantages of captioning video content and the tools available.  

Video captioning: a common user preference 

Social media is incredibly fast-paced. Users scroll through their feed quickly and often do not click directly on a video to find out more.  

In a study conducted by Verizon Media and Publicis Media, 80% of consumers said they were more likely to watch a video to completion if captions were available. Half of the respondents then emphasized that subtitles were important to them because they usually watch videos with the sound turned off (due to travelling, being in public etc). To give you even more of a reason to consider adding subtitles to your videos, Facebook statistics show that adding this feature may increase view time by 12%. 

Additionally, for more advanced or technical content, using video captions adds another level of comprehension to allow audiences to not only watch your content, but also absorb the messages being conveyed and providing a better opportunity to engage.  

From a non-business perspective, the importance of captioning is growing due to an increase in the deaf and hard of hearing population. If you are not providing accessible content to an entire demographic, then these customers will be alienated from your messaging and the ability to learn more about your business.    

How video captioning can improve your SEO 

As well as reaching more of your audience, including video captioning and transcripts can improve your search engine optimisation (SEO).  

Search bots cannot detect text in the same way they do for written pieces of content. Captions and transcripts allow Google to crawl through everything that is mentioned in your video. This increases not only your keyword density, but also your keyword diversity. Additionally, as people spend more time online watching videos this will also improve your website’s search rankings.  

Tools to optimise captioning and accessibility  

You may now be asking yourself – where do I begin if I want to add captions and transcripts to my video content?  

Luckily, social media platforms are making this feature increasingly easier to implement. Through the development of AI technology, many platforms use speech recognition to automatically translate what is being said in your video into written subtitles.  

YouTube, for example, introduced its automatic captioning feature in 2009, which users can apply to their videos by simply allowing the feature. As speech recognition may not be accurate 100% of the time, these captions can be reviewed on a video-by-video basis to ensure that the subtitles are aligning correctly to what is being said on-screen. The same logic applies for transcripts which YouTube can provide automatically, working most effectively on videos which are under one hour long and have good sound quality.  

Other platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have followed suit in allowing users to automatically caption content.  

In conclusion, it is highly recommended to consider implementing captioning into your long-term video strategy. The results will not only improve your audience engagement, but also improve your company’s overall SEO.  

To find out more about how 8020 can support you with optimising your video content strategy, email: 

Amber George