Think of the last time you watched a YouTube video. Perhaps it was via a social media site, on a business website or YouTube itself. Did it have captions? The answer is probably yes. That’s because more than one billion videos now have captions (ie subtitles). This impressive figure was announced by YouTube Product Manager Liat Kaver earlier this year – see what she has to say about it here.
YouTube first launched video captions in 2006, and in 2009 it introduced a voice recognition option, allowing captions to be automatically created in ten languages.Note that you don’t have to use the voice recognition technology as it can be inaccurate. We’d recommend that you upload the entire video transcript or an edited version yourself, to ensure accuracy, good timings and to make the most of SEO (see point 3 below).
The benefits of adding captions to a video
Perhaps you’re a business owner using video to promote your services, showcase products, provide ‘how to’ guides, blogs, reviews and so on.
Despite the popularity of captions, you may not think of adding them to your own video. Here are three key reasons why every video publisher should add captions:
1.Without captions, over 300 million deaf or hard of hearing people will miss out on what you have to say in your video.All businesses should comply with accessibility laws, plus without captions you could lose a vital chunk of your audience.
2.Huge numbers of us watch videos with the sound automatically turned off. This could be for many reasons; our phone or tablet may be on silent, we may not want to disturb other people in the room, we may be at work and not want to annoy our colleagues, and so on.Adding captions also means that if the sound quality is poor at any time throughout the video, your message will not be lost. Even with the sound turned on, we will automatically scan any captions and be able to retain the message for longer.
3.Last but certainly not least….captions can be a real game changer when it comes to search engine optimisation. Captions that don’t use the automatic voice recognition technology are indexed by both YouTube and Google, helping your video to rank higher and reach more people.This gives a real boost to your SEO.
YouTube Product Manager Liat Kaver says in her blog post that more than 15 million videos are watched each day with captions enabled. Make sure yours is one of them!