The Benefits of Captioning Digital Video

by: David Titmus

The Internet is the new frontier for closed captioning.

Audiences of all ages continue to turn to the Internet and their mobile devices as more high-quality video content becomes available. This change in viewing habits is especially true among millennials, and digital video producers and advertisers have taken notice by investing more in video ads that appeal directly to this audience.

“Over the next three years, the biggest trend in our products will be the growth of video,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, during the company’s Q3 2017 earnings call.

As such, it’s incumbent upon advertisers and businesses to find new ways to communicate with their target audiences and make sure their messages and products are being seen by the largest demographics.

One way to do that is through captioning video content, which not only can boost a video advertisement’s effectiveness, but also ensure it’s compliant with rules regarding accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing, including those under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, and various Federal Communication Commission regulations.

There are a variety of reasons why online video continues to be popular among advertisers, marketers, and general content producers and, not surprisingly, those reasons fall right in line with how captioning video can also enhance content.

Accessibility

Both video and captions have expanded well beyond the reach of traditional television and media in recent years. Thanks to laptops, tablets, PCs, and smartphones, captioned video can be viewed literally anywhere, whether it be at work, on the commute home, on the beach, or in a crowded bar.

SEO Ranking

Video content helps boosts a site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking, with stats showing that a webpage with video stands about a 50 times greater chance of being near the top of a Google search result. Often, though, SEO programs aren’t properly able to “read” video content unless they also contain some sort of text that can be indexed. Captioning videos, however, does for search engines what they do for the approximately 48 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans — translate audio to text. By adding captions, you are essentially embedding transcripts of your content in the video file’s metadata, pulling all the video’s searchable keywords to the forefront and, in the process, boosting your search rankings.

Higher Retention and Engagement Rates

Studies also have shown that viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it as a video compared to 10% when reading it as text, and audiences are about 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than non-video blogs or social posts. Adding captions to videos — as many schools, universities, and businesses have discovered — has been shown to make the content more engaging and improve the retention and overall learning experience for all viewers and not just those requiring accessible content.

Captions are the key to ensuring that content is accessible, searchable, digestible, and engaging to all people whenever and wherever they want to watch. For more information, please visit VITAC.com.