Use Captions to Make Your Videos Stand Out [A Digital Marketing Expert Interview]

There’s no doubt about it – video is the way to engage people. Did you know that 79% of all consumer-driven traffic is via video content? We have five kids in our household and in just observing them, videos are their go-to source for information for everything from movie clips to makeup tips. And Google frequently gives preferences to video over text because they care about dwell time, which is how long someone spends in one place online, and people stay on videos. So for businesses, it can be very compelling to create videos. With videos on your website, people stay longer and are 80% more likely to engage with a call to action, and Google tracks this.

A couple of years ago, when I spoke at a conference in New York about multilingual and international search engine optimization (ISEO), I met Ben Dobson, Head of European Business Development for Dotsub, a leading provider of video translation and captions. When Ben and I recently reconnected, he shared many interesting statistics about the use of video in social media, how people engage with videos, and the importance of using subtitles for consumption, localization and accessibility. Videos are a hot topic these days so I invited Ben to discuss the topic in a 30-minute digital marketing expert interview. Ben shares a ton of amazing information and I hope you’ll find the time to view and listen to the recording of our interview:

In this blog post, I’ll share some of the highlights of the interview.

Using Captions on Your Videos Is a Competitive Advantage

With 300 hours of video published on YouTube every minute, you need to stand out from your competition. Facebook revealed that videos with subtitles enjoy 12-20% more views, which could result in a staggering number of people who are engaged with your videos, so adding captions to videos can help you gain a competitive advantage in this saturated market.

Did you know that 85% of all Facebook videos are watched without the volume on? Ben shared that since 2013, the biggest medium of consuming video is on a mobile device because people are consuming things on the go. And since many of us are in situations where having the volume on isn’t socially acceptable, like at work or in a restaurant, you won’t be able to engage with a video that doesn’t have subtitles. So unless you have your headphones on, you’re going to scroll past videos that aren’t subtitled.

Captions Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In addition, captions contribute to your SEO plan to rank higher in organic search traffic. Captions and transcripts are indexed by Google, so you have a lot more opportunity to be found by Google. Otherwise, the only indexable items in a video are the title, description and tags since Google can’t hear what’s being said in order to index it.

Captions Reach Your Global Market

Customers are 74% more likely to complete a call to action in their native language. Given this statistic and knowing that 85% of people watch videos without the volume on, plus the fact that captions are indexable, it’s a competitive advantage to add captions to your localized videos.

Transcreation, which is the art of translating content and crafting the message to make it sound like it was created for that market, is a huge part of multilingual and international SEO. In order to get the biggest return-on-investment from your videos, the captions should not simply get translated but they but they need to be transcreated. You’ll also want to make sure that the transcreated content (and keywords) is added to the appropriate fields in the YouTube video.  This will dramatically improve the SEO. The article “What is International SEO” provides a ton of useful information.

Captions Reach the Deaf and Hearing Challenged Audience

The World Health Organization estimates that 6-12% identifies themselves as being hearing impaired or profoundly deaf. That may not sound like a large percentage, but if you look at the world’s population, that’s a lot of people who might be not able to access your content.


Videos need to be part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Period. They support better comprehension and they naturally provide a better experience for the deaf or those with hearing issues. You may also protect your company against disability discrimination lawsuits. From a commercial standpoint, video transcriptions and captions can be extremely helpful in an online learning environment. As mentioned earlier, you’ll also dramatically boost your SEO and video views since the transcripts of the captions allow Google and other search engines to crawl the content.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have and to follow our LinkedIn Company Page for additional tips and best practices.

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