Five reasons to caption your YouTube videos
Long gone are the days when families would crowd around the telly box on Saturday nights to be entertained. We now live in an era where 6 out of 10 people prefer to get their entertainment from online video, and, with nearly 2 billion regular users, YouTube is the kingpin of that world.
There are many ways to attract an audience on YouTube; click bait titles, advertising, and socially relevant topics, but there’s one other way that works even better: captions. So, why are captions so vital to the performance of your YouTube videos?
Captions for everyone
Although originally designed to improve accessibility for people with hearing impairments, a recent study conducted by Ofcom found that 80% of UK viewers using captions didn’t have any form of impairment. In fact, an incredible 85% of videos on social media are watched without the sound on! So, whether it’s commuters on trains, students in libraries, or insomniacs at 4am not wanting to wake their partners up, captioning videos can suddenly open up your content to a whole new audience.
Be in Control: Provide a transcript of your closed captions for accurate quoting
In this age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, the court of public opinion has never been so powerful; if someone misquotes you, it can take all of one tweet for the world to cast you as the villain. As a result, it has never been more important to ensure the message being sent out to the world is the one you want people to hear. If you’re using YouTube to pose opinions or state facts, captioning those videos means there is a transcript provided directly from you that people can quote you from, preventing any issues arising over mishears or misunderstandings.
Closed captions improve learning
When I was in school, lessons would be spent watching condescending educational programmes that looked like they were made in the 1930s, on tiny little televisions that the teacher never knew how to use, but, oh, how the times have changed! These days, schools and universities have fancy electronic whiteboards more powerful than the Apollo 11 on which they can watch YouTube videos, and a nationwide study in the US actually found that a whopping 98.6% of students believe captioning these videos helps them learn. If you want to make your content as education-friendly as possible, adding captions is an easy way to do this.
Use closed captions to boost your SEO
Anyone who works in online-based content knows that there is little more important than your SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. If you want your content to be successful, it has to reach as many people as possible, but for video content creators this can be one of the biggest struggles. One day, our internet robot overloads will be able to interpret what we’re saying in videos and use that for search engine filters, but until that day comes there is one thing that will have to do the job for them: yes, you guessed it, captions. By captioning your video, you are creating a transcript search engines can understand, immediately boosting your video up the list of results when anyone is searching for related content.
Where and when closed captions became law
The rise of the internet has made them invaluable for other reasons, but captions still serve their biggest and most important purpose when it comes to accessibility, something the European Union has not forgotten, and something you won’t be able to forget very soon either. In 2016, the European Web Accessibility Directive was announced which aimed to ensure all public sector websites and mobile content meet all common accessibility standards. As a result, all newly created public sector websites must include captioning on video content from September 2019, and on all public sector websites, full stop, by September 2020.
Before you rejoice at your company not being in the public sector, you should be aware that any private companies providing content to public sector websites will also have to meet these standards. Likewise, any UK businesses thinking Brexit’s going to save them should probably think again; although there’s been no word as of yet, this is likely to be one directive the UK government will continue to uphold if/when we leave the EU.
More information on the caption services Take Note provides can be found here.