YouTube claims that viewers watch videos with closed captions for 12 percent longer than videos without closed captions. When publishing videos to promote your business on YouTube, you should consider creating closed captions.
Do you use YouTube as a video marketing platform? Reaching 2 billion users per month, YouTube has become synonymous with video marketing. Research conducted by Buffer shows that over six in 10 businesses publish videos on YouTube.
Closed captions are snippets consisting of transcribed dialogue, as well as other sounds, in a video. They are displayed as an overlay that changes in real-time.
As the video progresses, its closed captions will change to reflect the current dialogue or sounds. Creating closed captions can maximize the marketing power of your videos in several ways.
1) Accessible to Hearing-Impaired Viewers
Closed captions will make your videos accessible to viewers who are hearing impaired. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 450 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
They either can’t hear or struggle to hear the dialogue and sounds in videos, so they rely on subtitles.
The latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), states that all videos, whether prerecorded or live-streamed, must contain captions. When a video has closed captions, hard-of-hearing viewers will be able to understand it.
2) Increased Search Rankings
Closed captions can increase the number of search queries for which your videos rank. Like with web pages, search engines rank videos for search queries used in their content.
The problem with videos is that they typically contact less crawlable text than web pages. Aside from a title and description, a video may not have any other text, so it won’t rank for many search queries.
Search engines can’t crawl the dialogue and sounds in videos, but they can crawl its closed captions.
Closed captions are included in a text file to which a video refers. When search engines visit the video, they’ll crawl this text file. Search engines may then index and rank the video for search queries related to its closed captions.
3) Increased Viewer Engagement
Another reason to create closed captions is increased viewer engagement. More viewers will interact with your videos if they feature closed captions.
Your videos will generate more likes, shares, and viewer comments, and your YouTube channel may attract more subscribers as well.
Closed captions boost viewer engagement by making videos easier to understand. If a viewer doesn’t hear or understand the dialogue in a video, they may feel reluctant to interact with it.
Closed captions ensure that all viewers can understand your videos, so they tend to positively impact viewer engagement.
4) Target New Geographic Regions
You’ll be able to target new geographic regions by creating videos with closed captions. According to YouTube, two-thirds of all video views originate outside of the respective content creator’s country.
Fortunately, YouTube allows content creators to upload multiple closed captions in different languages.
If you want to target viewers in a different country, you can create closed captions in that country’s first language.
Just open the original closed captions file, and transcribe it into the new language. After saving it with a new filename, you can upload the closed captions file to the video while specifying the new language.
Without closed captions, conversely, your videos will only be accessible to viewers who can speak the language in which the dialogue was recorded.
5) Longer View Durations
Videos with closed captions typically have a longer average view duration than those without closed captions.
In fact, YouTube claims that viewers watch videos with closed captions for 12 percent longer compared to videos without closed captions.
Closed captions keep viewers hooked so that viewers are less likely to abandon them before completion.
They’ll know exactly what’s going on in a video simply by reading the overlay text.
As they become immersed in the video, more viewers will watch it until the end.
6) Reach More Mobile Viewers
You can reach more mobile viewers by creating closed captions. When using a smartphone or tablet, many viewers prefer to watch videos without sound.
A survey conducted by Verizon Media found that over nine in 10 mobile viewers regularly watch videos without sound.
They either mute videos in the YouTube player, or they set their mobile device to silent.
Mobile viewers often prefer soundless videos because they don’t want to disturb the people around them.
A mobile viewer may be commuting on a crowded bus or sitting in a doctor’s office.
Watching videos with sound creates a disturbance, so the mobile viewer may take the silent route.
7) Easy Youtube Captions
Creating closed captions is easy. YouTube will try to make closed captions for your videos automatically by using artificial intelligence (AI) speech-to-text algorithm.
But these automatic captions are rarely perfect. Most of them are incomplete and contain apparent errors.
You can easily create your own closed captions in YouTube Studio. Available at studio.youtube.com, it offers a plethora of tools for managing and optimizing your channel’s videos.
To create closed captions, log in to YouTube Studio and select the “Subtitles” option on the left-hand menu.
Next, select the video for which you are creating the closed captions, followed by “Add Language.”
After choosing a language, select “ADD.” You can then type the closed captions manually, or you can upload a closed captions file.
There are also video transcription services available. Instead of creating closed captions yourself, you can buy one of these services.
With a video transcription service, one or more professional transcribers will watch your videos while converting the dialogue and sounds into text.
If you have a lot of videos, or if you have particularly long videos, you may want to use a transcription service.
Publishing videos on YouTube is only an effective marketing tactic if viewers can understand them. Some viewers have disabling hearing loss, whereas others prefer to watch videos without sound.
With closed captions, all viewers will be able to understand your videos.
Your videos will also rank for more search queries, generate more robust viewer engagement, and experience longer average view durations.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.