Subtitling your videos

If you’re a frequent Facebook user, you may have noticed the proliferation of Closed Captioning, or subtitles, throughout the videos on your feed. Ever since Facebook introduced its autoplay feature, videos play silently as you scroll past them – leading to an explosion of subtitled videos.

Why is this? Well, it removes a barrier from viewing content that might normally put audiences off – stopping their scroll to press play. It’s a small thing, but with this barrier in place, Facebook users could more easily glide past content unless it had a particularly eye-catching cover image or caption.

Autoplay means audiences are exposed to video content automatically – only with the sound off. The choice stops being one of whether or not to watch the video, but whether or not to watch the video with sound. Subtitles fill the gap, offering audiences a hook into the content itself.

In February, Facebook also announced that it would start automatically captioning video ads as a result of research which found that 80% of people react negatively when mobile video ads begin playing. The site’s analytics also enables brands to see which parts of the video were watched without the sound on to determine how long it takes for users to unmute and engage with the content fully.

Today, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound – that’s 85% of 8 billion views per day! Furthermore, they report that captions increase the average viewing length by 12%. Sound is no longer as important in gaining people’s attention for videos as subtitles – this is particularly true for mobile users. That means you need to start subtitling all of your video content, today.

Luckily, making good subtitles isn’t hard. For maximum effect, you should try and include some text-based information in the video itself, and use the video’s subtitles for any narration or dialogue on-screen. That enables you to connect a wider range of information with viewers, ultimately increasing your chances of engagement.