Video marketing becomes more pervasive with each passing year. Social media use and video content consumption were steadily increasing throughout the 2010s. Then, the 2020 pandemic led to exponential growth in video content creation and viewership.
As of 2017, only 51% of marketers were using subtitles in video content.
While that number has undoubtedly grown, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon videos without captions. This lack of foresight is a costly mistake for brands.
Here are compelling reasons why your brand should add subtitles to social media videos.
Improve Algorithm Alignment
Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram haven’t outright said that you must add subtitles to a video to become favorable to the algorithm, but it’s inferred. Videos earn up to 1200% more shares than static photos or text
Not only is engagement with video content higher, but it also tends to be stickier than static posts. In other words, your video content is more likely to reappear on the feed over static posts. This occurrence is often the case when viral trends come and go. Anecdotal evidence from influencers and content creators shows Reels or TikTok videos gaining traction months after posting.
Finally, video content with subtitles or captioning increases viewership by 12-25%. Algorithms are based on engagement’ video completion, sharing, commenting, saving, and liking. So, videos with subtitles are more likely to align with the algorithm.
This consideration is vital on YouTube. Google can read the metadata of a video and add it to the SERP. This benefit doesn’t happen with other social media platforms.
Share Information on Mute
A comprehensive Verizon Media study indicated that 69% of consumers watch videos on mute. Many consumers view content on public transit, in the workplace, or waiting in line for lunch. If they don’t have headphones, they’re unlikely to hear the audio component of a video. Brands that don’t add subtitles will miss out on these consumers.
It’s also worth noting that listening on mute isn’t necessary for many consumers; they prefer to. Failing to add subtitles could shrink your potential audience by almost 70%. That’s significant.
Reach Hearing-impaired Consumers
More than 48 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss. Furthermore, 20% of the global population (1.5 billion people) experience hearing loss. 430 million of those people have a debilitating hearing disability.
The internet has created opportunities for small businesses to operate globally. Adding subtitles to your content makes it more accessible. It also positions your brand as a human-centric business that cares about people from all backgrounds. $6.9 trillion of annual disposable income in the US is attributed to people with disabilities, their close friends, and their families; accessibility is critical.
Appeal to a Multilingual Audience
More than half the global population is bilingual, with over 67 million Americans speaking a language other than English at home. Of these individuals, only 57% were born in another country; 43% were born in America.
The human brain processes spoken and written language differently. That’s why many bilingual people feel strong reading or writing their second language but are not as comfortable listening. Adding subtitles makes it easier for this significant population to understand and retain the message you’re conveying.
Adding text to video helps those who speak English as their second language comprehend and retain video content more effectively. In essence, you’re getting both the benefits of text and video in one piece of content.
The trend toward subtitles and captioning is undeniable. Over time, adding text elements to video will become an expectation. Starting now will get your brand ahead of the curve and ensure continued success.