Closed Captioning for Video

Closed Captioning for Video

YouTubers all want one thing: more views on their videos. Whether they’re chasing advertising dollars or increased exposure for their brand, there is nothing a vlogger loves more than to see their YouTube views go up. If you’re a video producer on YouTube looking for a growth hack, don’t underestimate the power of adding closed captions.

How do closed captions win you more YouTube views?

1. Closed captions boost video SEO

A study by Discovery Digital Networks measured a distinct increase in SEO for YouTube videos with captions, compared to videos without captions. They concluded that Google indexes closed captions uploaded to YouTube videos, which makes them more likely to rank higher in searches for relevant keywords.

The study also found that captioned YouTube videos saw a 13.48% increase in views within the first 14 days they were published. They measured the lifetime benefit of closed captioning videos to be 7.32% more views on YouTube than uncaptioned videos.

Digital Discovery Networks graph of YouTube views for uncaptioned vs. captioned video

No guesswork here: closed captions measurably increase views and search rank for your video.

2. Captions make your video accessible to a wider audience

There are more than 36 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing. And about 5% of the global population has some degree of hearing loss. None of those people can fully enjoy your YouTube videos if they lack captions. Closed captions provide an “equivalent experience” to people who cannot hear audio, so long as your captions are accurate, legible, and synced with your video. Better video accessibility translates into more potential viewers.

You can increase your viewership even more by translating your captions into other languages. Multilingual subtitles expose your YouTube channel to a non-English-speaking audience. Your videos benefit doubly from SEO, getting indexed in each language you include.

3. Captions let viewers watch your video in more places

According to a study by the United Kingdom’s Ofcom, 80% of people who watch video with closed captions on are not deaf or hard of hearing. One major reason why people use captions is due to their environment.

With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, viewers can access YouTube from practically anywhere at any time. However, that doesn’t mean they can enjoy the video’s audio wherever they are. If your videos don’t have closed captions, then viewers may not be able to watch them if they’re:

  • Riding on a noisy train
  • Studying in a quiet library
  • With a sleeping baby
  • At the office
  • In line at the DMV
  • In a noisy crowd

If they can follow along with closed captions in environments where they can’t play audio, viewers have more opportunities to watch your videos. Don’t let their surroundings keep them from viewing your content—just add captions.

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