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This blog is authored by String Nguyen, a Clipchamp video champion.
There’s no question about just how powerful video content on social media really is, but what if creators and businesses can make their videos more effective and reach a wider audience?
As a video influencer, I have been posting video content with captions for years. I do believe captions bring your channel to life. Let’s find out how!
What are video captions?
Video captions, which can also be referred to as subtitles, are the written text that's overlaid on a video.
Everything that is spoken by the narrator is written on the video for viewers to read as well as listen to.
Why I caption my video content
Captioning has so many benefits, but the main reason I caption my video content is that captions increase how well people remember what I say. Essentially, captions increase the retention of my videos. Right now, viewers are watching videos on mute, and adding captions to videos are essential to talking heads style of videos for experts.
Not only do they make my videos accessible, but they also improve my video SEO on YouTube.
I've noticed lots of people usually watch videos on their smartphones on mute and there are numerous studies on this trend.
On Facebook, internal tests show that captioning your video content and video ads can make your watch time increase by 12 percent. Captioning your videos on Facebook is in fact beneficial to your business as 85 percent of videos are watched on mute! Users will engage more with your video content if it displays captions.
On LinkedIn, professionals still enjoy reading and they don’t like turning their sound on to listen to a video. Adding captions make viewers want to watch and read at the same time. If a user doesn’t have headphones or can’t use volume, don't worry! Just read the on-screen captions. Captions add value to your channel as they allow the ability for more people to enjoy the content without having to rely on volume. That’s a good enough reason as to why you need to add captions to all your social media video content!
Increasing my video content views with captions
My theory is also that captioning content can increase my video content views.
It’s still a theory because, apart from YouTube, social media platforms don’t have sophisticated analytics for videos that can show when someone started and stopped watching the video.
On YouTube, I always view my YouTube analytics to see drop-offs and find patterns to understand video retention. On LinkedIn, you can’t see if someone completely finished watching the video in full. That’s why you must do your own research, but there's little to lose if you add captions compared to not adding captions!
Is captioning video necessary on all social media?
Sometimes I don’t caption Instagram Stories as it’s all about publishing video content as fast as you can. I do, however, feel I want to start adding captions to my YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels for higher retention.
In saying this, captions can be used for any type of social media video and there's no right or wrong time to use captions. It’s completely up to you and your video marketing goals.
Think about where your audience might be or their state of mind when watching your video to decide if captions can help your specific video.
My bonus tip: turn your captions into a blog
Sometimes I generate captions for a long-form video after recording the video and then turn it into a blog post for my website.
Basically, I take the .srt file and paste it out, edit it slightly for accuracy and then publish it. It’s that simple.
If it’s not completely polished with perfect grammar, don’t worry. I personally don’t think people will care about the small mistakes.
Using this method means that the content is broken up into easy, digestible reading because it is a transcript of how you speak. As long as the text reads easily and makes sense—that’s all that matters.
Get captioning and add more value to your videos!
Basically, captioning your videos (when you think it’s useful) is extremely beneficial to your channel and brand.
Who doesn’t want the possibility of boosting engagement, accessibility, and retention?
Either manually type out your captions yourself for social media posts for the best accuracy or use an auto-generator for YouTube and Vimeo. Beware: auto-generators sometimes aren’t that reliable. If you use an iPhone, I’d recommend giving the Clipchamp mobile app a go because it generates pretty accurate captions in real-time using super-smart AI.