Resources & Guides

The importance of closed captions

The importance of closed captions

 With video content continuing its inexorable rise to marketing dominance, there’s plenty of discussion and debate about good practice. As with any form of marketing, just because you’re doing it, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing it right.

When it comes to video content, closed captioning is all-important. It brings with it a range of benefits for businesses and helps them to reach a wider audience. You might have heard of the term before but are unsure about what it exactly means. In short, it’s a simple device by which you can widen accessibility and encourage greater engagement with your content. It also gives your SEO a shot in the arm too.

 

Let’s take a look at closed captioning, what it is, why it’s important and how it can help make your video content even more effective.

What exactly is closed captioning?

Closed captioning is a way of providing text on a visual medium, be it TV, film, or video.  It can provide a transcript of what’s being spoken as it occurs, or as a means to add extra interpretive information.

Closed captioning differs subtly from subtitles, which may be a translation of what’s being spoken, such as in a film which is in a language different from the one in the subtitles.

Captioning doesn’t attempt to translate, or summarise what’s being said but they do add value when it comes to describing other sounds such as phones ringing or any background noises. This provides a more rounded experience for the viewer.

 

Why are they ‘closed’ captions?

Closed captions differ from open captions in that they can be turned on and off when the video is being watched. Open captions are embedded into content.

 

Why should you include closed captions in your business video content?

Closed captions improve accessibility

By adding closed captions to your video content, you immediately make them more accessible to a wider range of users. Around 5% of the global population has some form of hearing loss.

In the UK that translates to around 3.5 million people. Without closed captioning those people are permanently excluded from fully understanding your video content.

 It’s not just people with hearing loss who benefit from closed captions. Many non-native speakers understand English but can find it difficult to follow when spoken. Closed captioning helps them better understand your content.

If you regularly market products and services to countries outside the UK where English is not the first language, it’s also possible to provide translated closed captions. Whether in English or another language, closed captions make your content easier to understand for people who may be non-native speakers.

 

Closed captions make your content more useable

 Video content is the social media growth trend, and it’s mobile devices that are supporting this growth. Users of visual content will often watch videos even when they’re not able to listen, such as on public transport, in a waiting room or at the office. Closed captions help them to fully engage with the content.

Videos that can only be followed by listening are unlikely to be watched by these users, even if they’re visually very appealing.

 

Closed captions capture user attention

Social media is predominantly used as a passive medium, with users scrolling through their feeds until something catches their attention. While doing this, the video will autoplay on mute. Closed captions can relay what’s being said on the video without the need for the sound.

A strong opening line in a closed caption, as with a novel or a newspaper article, will spark the interest of the user and encourage them to pause and play the video. 

Increasingly, users dislike a sudden interruption of sound into their social media browsing, so they choose to mute videos even if they aren’t automatically muted. Closed captions are a user-friendly way to try and engage them without becoming an irritant.

 

Closed captions lengthen the average watch time

While flashy visuals might help to hook in viewers, closed captions help to keep their attention by adding context and depth. By adding closed captions you’re more likely to get people engaged, turning up the volume and watching to the end.

When silent autoplay begins on a platform such as YouTube or Twitter, the captions fill in the viewers on what they’re missing. The longer people watch your content, the more chance there is of converting a viewer into a customer.

 

Closed captions give your SEO a boost

Perhaps one of the strongest reasons for adding closed captions to your video content is the boost it gives to your search engine optimisation.

They play a crucial role in creating organic leads and visits to your website.

Closed captions help make video more SEO friendly. Search engines search through video in the same way they search through written content. They try to identify keywords, phrases and written content that matches the search term that the user is looking for.

Closed captions make the task of searching through your videos easier, and as a result they’re more likely to appear in search results. If a video doesn’t have a closed caption transcription, then search engines will only be able to make use of the video descriptions and metadata provided.

 

Closed captions are a key part of video content

For all the above reasons, closed captions are becoming a key part of video content. Video marketing that doesn’t feature closed captions is likely to be left behind.

 

If you have a story to tell then Eight Engines can help you create accessible, SEO tailored and engaging video content. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your business capture the imagination of potential customers.

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