Closed Captions Enable Facebook Live to Reach New Audiences

by: David Titmus

A number of major social media platforms have rolled out live streaming video options in recent years as a way to drive revenue and strengthen their hold on social media users. Social networks like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope have been promoting new features and products around live streaming as live video offers the interactive, intimate, real-time experience that content consumers crave when interacting with friends, family, and followers.

And it’s for these same reasons that businesses and advertisers also have found live video a boon in connecting with new audiences and making sure their messages are seen by the largest demographics.

It’s clear that live video has made a huge impact on social media. And Facebook, with its more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, has taken notice, too.

Launched in April 2016, Facebook Live is a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook news feeds. For those unfamiliar, Facebook Live enables people and business pages to share live video with their Facebook followers and friends. In essence, it enables users to broadcast to the largest audience in the world with the cameras they likely already carry in their pockets.

“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.

From a business standpoint, Facebook Live has proven to be particularly effective, with live videos seeing three times the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platform, and 10 times the comments than regular videos.

Last summer, Facebook added captioning capabilities to its live broadcasts. People who have their captioning settings turned on will automatically see closed captions on live broadcasts on their mobile and desktop platforms whenever they’re available. Content producers who don’t create their own live closed captions can work with captioning companies, like VITAC, to generate and insert real-time closed captions into their Facebook Live broadcasts.

This is important because captioning video content not only ensures its compliance with accessibility rules for the deaf and hard of hearing, but also boosts a video advertisement’s effectiveness.

Captioning video content helps improve that content’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score, 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. However, SEO programs often can’t “read” video content unless it also contains some sort of text that can be indexed. 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.

Also, 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.

Facebook Live was one of 2017’s biggest social media trends, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses that take advantage of this new platform are able to reach existing fans much faster, speak to potential new audiences in realtime, and get a healthy dose of brand awareness with the increasing popularity of live video.

Click here to find out how VITAC can help with your captioning needs.