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5 Reasons Why Video Captions Makes Your Content More Inclusive

Tricia Lim

Tricia Lim

By now, the entire world wide web is aware of the popularity of videos over other forms of content. Videos make up more than 80% of traffic online as viewers’ preferences shift from text and images to videos. 

In fact, visual social media platforms including Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest had their finger on the pulse, adapting quickly to get a slice of this hot cake. 

The facts are: video rules because it’s easy to consume, engage, and retain the viewer’s attention. Even I have to admit that videos have me hooked, with how much I’m scrolling through Instagram Reels. 

In our previous  blog, we wrote about how inclusive website designs benefit all users, regardless of their abilities. Imagine if you can’t hear what’s being said in a video; it can be quite frustrating. The best solution for that? Incorporating video captions.

Table of Contents

What are captions?

Video captions’ function is to essentially display the text that’s spoken in a video. Similar to designing an inclusive website for all, using video captions ensures that your video content is inclusive for all viewers.

They’re designed for audiences who can’t hear the audio, whether through circumstantial or other disabilities such as hearing loss. By adding captions, they supplement the speech and content of the video with information that’s relevant to the audience. 

Let’s look at the 5 benefits video captions can bring to you and your brand.

What can businesses benefit from using closed captions?

1. Improve accessibility to make your video content inclusive for all

As a brand or business, your content should be as inclusive as possible, and video captions help with that. These are important for the people who watch your content without sound, especially those with hearing or sensory difficulties. 

Did you know that more than 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss? That’s potentially 466 million people not taking part in the conversation of your content. Alternatively, the user may be unable to play your audio due to lack of headphones, so there’s a chance they might scroll past your video.

Even Instagram has rolled out this as an accessibility feature to allow users to add captions or subtitles to Instagram Stories and Reels. The new captions sticker invites brands and other creators to create more inclusive content for their audiences. Although this feature isn’t accessible worldwide, there are other ways to add captions on Instagram. One way is to use third-party apps to generate captions for you! Below are a couple of helpful resources:

2. Create a seamless viewer experience

One of the more obvious advantages of adding subtitles or captions to your videos is creating a seamless viewing experience. Videos with captions tend to perform better in engagement–impressions, views, and likes. Captioned videos receive 40% more views than those without captions. 

For the users who want to silently scroll through their feeds during their breaks, captioned videos help to convey ample context without needing sound to accompany it.

3. Optimize video for multi-tasking viewers

Today’s audiences love videos that we can watch whilst doing another task. For example, it could be something as simple as blow drying their hair whilst watching a YouTuber’s vlog. Many viewers prefer not to play videos with the sound, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. 

At the end of the day, our attention spans are becoming shorter so businesses and brands ought to consider how they might engage their multi-tasking viewers.

4. Enhance SEO ranking with caption indexing

An added benefit for using captions is this: captions allow Google to crawl everything that is said in your video. This is favorable to help your video rank for a multitude of keyword terms in the video, instead of just the prioritized terms in your video title, description, and tags.

That being said, only closed captions can be indexed by Google. Closed captions are separate text files that are embedded with the video file, whilst open captions are burned into the video content which can’t be indexed. 

Moreover, providing closed captions on TikTok videos can also help increase engagement through improved SEO. These closed captions allow audiences to discover content by searching for specific words mentioned in the videos.

5. Boost engagement and watch time

Videos have a natural way of capturing our attention, which is why they’re a must-have if you want to boost your engagement metrics. High-performing videos will draw in more click-through rates and reduce bounce rates, which are bound to rank better than the rest.

Here’s how adding captions can work well for your audience engagement:

  • It enhances their viewing experience to be a seamless one. With captions in your video, you’re providing all your audiences the freedom to choose how they consume your video content–whether it be with or without sound.
  • It increases comprehension. Video clips that are captioned can help keep audiences engaged for even longer and increase their likelihood of following your call-to-action.

The bottom line

When it comes to design, our audience’s needs will always come first. This means designing your website and content to be more inclusive for all audiences. Since video content is largely favored by most audiences around the world, it’s a good avenue to ensure that viewers can comprehend and watch your content with ease. Adding captions to your videos can prove to be a useful tool to boost engagement, gain more visibility, and rank higher in search results. 

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