Six Reasons to Add Captions to Your Videos!

 In Knowledge Center

Captioning videos is a huge win/win for audiences and video producers.

Read on to learn why its best practice to add captions to all your videos.

But first: what’s the difference between subtitles, open and closed captions?
People often throw the terms subtitles and captions around interchangeably. While it’s true that both appear at the bottom of the screen, there are important differences:

• Closed captions are a transcription of what’s being said by actors or narrators, and also indicate music and sound effects. The key is that viewers have the choice to turn closed captions on or off.

• Open captions are similar to closed captions in wording, but they are “burned” directly into the video file, meaning they are part of the picture onscreen. They can’t be turned off.

• Subtitles: Subtitles aren’t captions at all, but a translation of the spoken voices into another language to assist viewers who don’t speak the original language used in the video.



1. Many people watch videos with the sound off.

There are a ton of situations where viewers want or need to mute the sound while watching videos – on public transport, beside a dozing partner, during a meeting. In fact, as many as 85% of Facebook videos are played without sound. If your videos aren’t incorporating captions, a chunk of your marketing audience is likely skipping past your video for one they can view silently. Add captions and you give your audience the chance to watch your video in every environment.


2. Captions make videos accessible

Over 1/3 of North Americans between the ages of 20 to 79 experience some hearing loss. Many of these viewers find watching videos with captions greatly improves the experience. Some autistic people also turn on captions or audio description to help them better access the content. Making your video content accessible to all viewers should be your go-to inclusive practice.


3. Improve your video rankings in Google searches

You want people searching for your industry’s topics or keywords to find your videos in the first few results. Search engines like Google can’t watch videos to rank them. But they can crawl through your video’s transcript and pick out keywords your potential clients are searching. Captioning your video and offering a transcript of the audio are important ways to improve your SEO and search engine ranking.


4. Boost the average time spent watching your video

Studies show that captions attract viewers’ attention and then help keep it. Your audience is more likely to stick with your video until the end if they have captions available.


5. Captions boost comprehension, memory, and attention

Likewise, a growing number of studies show that watching videos with captions improves comprehension and recall of the content. The combination of receiving auditory information (the sound track) and visual semantic information (reading the captions) is a powerful duo. So, whether your video is for promotional or training uses, captions will help reinforce and retain your message.


6. Captions help viewers whose first language isn’t English

New arrivals, second or third language speakers and viewers from other countries may not fully understand your video’s message or call to action. Captions help non-native speakers better follow what’s being heard on-screen.

If you’ve not used captions in the past, they are fairly simple and inexpensive to add to all your videos going forward. Contact us to find out how to make them part of your next project.