3 Ways to Add Captions to Instagram Videos (and why you should)

Instagram videos

With around a billion monthly active users and a global reach, it’s no wonder more and more businesses are choosing to post videos on Instagram. It’s a dynamic and visually led platform that’s highly conducive to the kind of immersive brand storytelling that businesses value.

As well as the ability to post photos and videos, Instagram’s ‘stories’ feature allows users to post short video clips. These can provide engaging and dynamic insights that help the viewer to create a personal relationship with you and your brand.

When you’re posting videos to this platform, however, it’s essential to ensure that you add captions to your videos. In this post, we’ll explain why it’s so important and 3 ways in which you can do it…


Instagram videos

Why it’s important to add captions
to your Instagram videos

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Captions are just as important to Instagram videos as they are to any other OTT platform. Firstly, they’re important for accessibility. They’re necessary to provide meaning for viewers who may be hearing impaired, but it’s not only those with hearing loss who benefit from the addition of subtitles to Instagram videos.

It’s simple: 92% of people view videos with the sound off, meaning your audience often won’t have the sound on when watching a video. Instagram is, after all, a mobile platform. As a result, it’s not always feasible or appropriate to watch with the sound on, which is why videos are usually muted by default. If a viewer is watching your video on a packed train or a busy break room, captions may be the only way in which they can glean all the meaning from your content.

Finally, captions can give your videos an SEO advantage. The text in your captions is crawlable and indexable by search engines, helping to make your videos more visible on searches inside and outside of the platform.

So, now that we know why it’s important to add captions to your Instagram videos, let’s look at some ways in which you can do it.

Adding captions to an instagram video

Method 1 – Take the
DIY approach

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Doing it all yourself can be very time consuming, but it is the most cost-effective approach. For this you’ll need your video file, an editing suite like Adobe Premiere Pro (or a free alternative like Handbrake) and a transcript of your audio converted into a caption-friendly file like SRT or SCC.


Transcribing your audio will be by far the most time-consuming part. The industry standard is 4 hours of transcription for every hour of audio. Non-expert transcribers tend to significantly underestimate the time it takes to transcribe a video accurately. In fact, it’s not unusual for someone with little to no transcribing experience to spend 8 hours to work through 1 hour of content to create a transcript.


When you have the transcript, it’s just a case of converting them to a caption-friendly format like SRT. There are lots of online resources which will allow you to do this for free.

Place and embed

Next, open up your video editor of choice and import your subtitles. You’ll be able to control their placement to ensure that you align perfectly with the action in your video. Captions have a number of settings and it’s important that you set them to “forced open”. This will mean that your captions are displayed automatically when the video is opened.


Now all that remains is to upload your newly captioned video to Instagram. In order to do this, however, you’ll need to port the file over to a mobile device. Instagram is a mobile platform, after all, and while images and videos can now be viewed through a desktop device, they cannot be uploaded from one.


automated speech recognition

Method 2 – Use an app with
Automated Speech Recognition

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If Method 1 seems a little too much like hard work, there are no shortage of automated services to take the hard work out of the most time-consuming part — the transcription.

There are lots of apps that use Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) to convert audio files into text documents in moments. These can then be converted into SRT or your caption friendly format of choice, added to your video and uploaded as above.

However, be wary when using these apps.

They’re fast and cost-effective, but can struggle with accuracy. Even when recording under perfect circumstances they may not deliver more than 85% accuracy. Thus, any time you saved may be lost as you correct mistakes in the transcript made by the app.

There are also apps that can make it easier to add captions to your video in real time. If, for example, you need to add a voice-over to a video, you might want to use an app like Apple clips or Clipomatic which transcribes what you say as you speak. When you’re done recording you can make changes to the size, font and positioning of your text, and even add filters and images. However, apps like these often only provide very basic options and only work on Apple devices, which can be limiting. Some of these apps can also get expensive so you may want to consider more accurate and customisable alternatives.


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Method 3 – Use an outsourced
transcription service

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If you want more accuracy than an ASR app can give you but don’t like the idea of transcribing your own audio, an alternative is to outsource to a transcription service. These offer 99-100% accuracy and aren’t stumped by background noise, regional accents or complex jargon like automated services are.

Because they use experienced transcribers, they can offer a much better standard of transcription and can even deliver your captions in a ready-to-use caption format of your choice. What’s more, many services have pricing that is flexible depending on how quickly you need your transcript, you can get much better rates when you can afford to wait a little longer for your captions. In many cases, you’ll even be able to upload your video or audio file directly and securely using a mobile app.

Once you receive your captions, it’s simply a case of adding them to your video and uploading in whichever of the above ways best suits your needs.

Whichever way you choose to add captions, make sure that you don’t miss out on the added reach and accessibility that they can add to your videos.

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Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.