How Captions Can Boost Your Mobile Videos

Posted March 9, 2020
Written by Lana Sciasci
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How captions can boost your mobile videos

If you ask us, all videos should be considered mobile videos. According to eMarketer, over 75% of worldwide video viewing is done on mobile devices. This means it’s much more likely your creations will be popping up on a screen in someone’s hand, not on their desktop.

One of the key elements to a successful mobile video is captions. Traditionally, captions have been used to subtitle foreign language films or improve accessibility. However, since the meteoric rise of mobile video, a new purpose has surfaced – to communicate with the almost 85% of mobile viewers watching with sound off. Think commuters on public transport, office workers or anyone listening to Spotify while scrolling through video feeds.

Interestingly, captions not only communicate dialogue to silent viewers, they also offer many opportunities to grow your video’s engagement and reach. In fact, viewers are 80 percent more likely to watch a video with captions until the end than one without. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing our top tips for captioning mobile videos effectively.

Keep copy short and sweet

A lot of people are unsure of how to write video captions – our best advice is to keep things simple. If your audio includes a lot of dialogue, your captions don’t need to follow it word for word. Instead, select key phrases and information to highlight that will capture the viewers’ attention as they scroll through their feeds.   

Buzzfeed offshoot Tasty are known for keeping the captions on their recipe videos short and (sometimes literally) sweet. They keep copy to a minimum which is great for their instructional style of video. You can learn how to cook a whole meal without ever turning up the volume! Take a look below. 

Be big and bold with fonts

When it comes to captioning mobile videos, bolder and bigger is always better. Remember, mobile screens are small, so your number one priority is to make sure your video’s font is big enough to read. Make an eye-catching first impression with a big title font to start your video, then shrink it down to a subtler but still easy to read size for the remainder. 

Apart from size, it's important to choose fonts and colours that are impactful and legible. Try to use clean, Sans Serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica to avoid any complications. Colour-wise, stick to strong colours like black and white and use bold hues like yellow or red to highlight important text. Finally, always double-check that your font colour contrasts enough with the footage it is overlaid on. News and media website NowThis offers a great example below. 

Call your viewers to action

All good marketers are familiar with CTAs or Calls to Action. Put simply, these are lines of copy that direct readers (or viewers in this case) to take an action e.g. “Buy now” or “Sign up to our newsletter”. When you add captions to your video, there’s always room to add a CTA.

There are three locations for a CTA in a mobile video: pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll. If it wasn’t already clear, this means before your video footage, during your video footage and after your video footage. According to Wistia, mid-roll CTAs have the best results – they mean your video can have a more organic introduction but the CTA is shared before too many viewers scroll away before the end of the video.    

Shop now call to action

Improve your SEO

While search engines like Google can’t read captions if you’ve added them with video editing software, there are some ways video captions can improve your SEO. Conveniently, you can use the text from captions in the description of your content on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo or as the alt text if you’re embedding a video into your website – search engines can crawl this and as a result, will likely rank your video higher. 

Search engine example Google

Lights, camera, caption

With some helpful tips under your belt, it’s time to get captioning. An easy way on iPhone is through our Video Captioning app. Another great way to get started is with our online video editor. Click through to get creating and sharing on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more!

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