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.

Video Marketing is on the Rise!

We believe that video is the future of digital marketing.

In short, because Mark Zuckerberg says so. During a 2016 investor’s call, he shared this about Facebook’s priorities, “We see a world that is video-first with video at the heart of all our apps and services.”

This isn’t new information. In 2014 Facebook changed their algorithm for the news feed to weight video posts heavier. One early result of this change is the viral success of the Ice Bucket Challenge. After the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Facebook increase investment in their video player options. Also, video ads gained prominence and Facebook introduced Live. Now we’re seeing Facebook push video as a primary means of communication across their entire platform (Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.).

Facebook’s emphasis on video has pushed other social networks to up their emphasis on video content as well. Twitter is under fire from many different directions and will be responding. YouTube, after suffering lost revenue as Facebook pushed video content, has responded with new video advertising options. They’ve also re-framed the conversation around appropriate watch metrics for measuring campaigns.

The good news is that regardless of your chosen platform, the world is watching online video. YouTube’s latest stats dump shows the wide adoption across all age demographics, not only the coveted millennials. One of the fastest growing demographic segments on YouTube is adults 55 and older!

This isn’t just a our conclusion. The folks at Ogilvy have made video one of their top trends for 2017. In fact, they include this, “To not have any kind of video support and/or strategy that lives with and/or complements your existing communications would be a fool’s errand. “

So why the fighting words (beyond the reasons above)?

Video is a better way to communicate with people. Our brains process video 60,000 times faster than text. This makes it easier for people to quickly take in your message (for marketing purposes or otherwise). In addition, our brains are wired to keep that information longer.

Daily, your potential customers get flooded with marketing messages. Current approximations hover between 5,000 to 10,000 of these daily. But, only approximately 100 of those resonate with an individual. Business owners need to do everything they can to make their message as eye-catching and retainable as possible. That means making your message easy to understand!

Luckily, our potential customers are helping us out on this front. They are aware of video more. In fact, 79% would rather watch a video than reading text to learn about a product. You can take advantage of this on your homepage with an explainer video.

Marketers have picked up on video’s power. In a Wyzowl survey, 82% of businesses using video believe that it is an important part of their marketing strategy. Not surprisingly, 81% indicated video had helped them increase business sales.

It’s important to not feel defeated by this rush to video. It can be easy to look at brands like Red Bull, Xero, and Dollar Shave Club and feel a little overcome by the amount of content some brands produce. Each of these companies offers amazing inspiration for the future. But, try to stick to fundamentals when starting your video journey.

The use of video in digital marketing campaigns is still relatively young. In fact, in the same Wyzowl survey, only 62% of businesses said they have an explainer video. Instead of looking at the pinnacle examples of your competition (that have more staff and a larger marketing budget) find competitors that actually mirror your company. Then set reasonable goals!

Start your video marketing plan with an explainer or overview video, also known as a homepage video. This video’s primary role is to introduce potential customers to your product or service. It’s also an extremely flexible first piece in your video content strategy. Once you use that video on your homepage, it can go in introductory emails, on your social media profiles, and even get edited to use as a video ad!

Whatever style you choose or method you use to produce it, keep it to 2 minutes or less! 50% of consumers believe that 1 minute is the ideal length for an explainer video. 33% of users opted for between 1 – 2 minutes, and 12% said less than 1 minute. Wistia supports the 2-minutes or less rule. In their research, they found that engagement doesn’t differ between a 45-second video versus a 2-minute video.

When you’re ready for your next video, identify your current business hurdles.

Does your sales department find it particularly hard to describe a product’s features? Is it challenging to get new customers started with your product? Are there common support calls? Those are real-world examples of ways companies are using video to increase their revenue and customer engagement.

Whatever you do, don’t avoid using video! No matter who your target market is, they’re watching video on websites, in social marketing networks, and in ads.

And while you shouldn’t believe all the news that Facebook shares, Mark Zuckerberg is right, our online world is transitioning into a video first communication platform. It’s time to get comfortable with video and stay ahead of the curve!

Explainer Videos: 5 Reasons Every StartUp Needs One

One of the most important aspects of any startup’s launch is their marketing plan.A smoothly executed communications plan can lead to almost instant success (see Dollar Shave Club’s meteoric launch). On the flip side, a poorly thought out or executed plan will result in slow sales growth and small market traction. Every chance a startup gets to describe their product or service, is an opportunity to capture a new lead or user. One of the easiest ways to maximize any website view is to use an explainer video on your homepage. Here are 5 reasons why!

Introduce people to your product/service

As a startup you’ve come up with a great idea, have a great team, and work in a great location. Upon your launch, it’s time to introduce your company to your target audience! An explainer video accomplishes this in a quick and memorable way. Video generates business by explaining your product or service to a potential user easily. Your company only has one opportunity to create a first impression, a video will grab your customer’s attention, and keep it.

Awareness/Organic SEO

Sites can double their organic search traffic by including a video thumbnail in search rankings. An explainer video gives you the potential to expose your company to a larger audience base. On top of this, videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to show up on the first page of search results. To maximize your SEO you should be including video as a core element of your marketing strategy.

Videos will introduce your product, service, and culture to your target audience. It simplifies messages and conveys them in a memorable way. Most importantly, it delivers fantastic results and should be a key part of any startup’s marketing strategy. As you plan for your startup’s launch, make video a key part of your communication plans.


Produce a Simplified Message

As a startup, you have spent an incredible amount of time working on your product or service. You are an expert in relation to all your product’s features and benefits. Yet, at times this knowledge can create a negative impact. You can lose track of being able to articulate the most valid ‘What’s in it for you?’ statement.

Video can help refine your pitch to a simplified message. Writing your script forces you to highlight the core features that relate to your customers. If you’re working with a video professional, they will have experience with refining a message down to its most resonant elements. Your end video creates a message that is actionable for your target customer.

Be Memorable

People remember only 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see. Yet, we remember an incredible 70% of what we hear and see. Video captures this power and allows you to stand out in potential customer’s minds long after they’ve left your website.

On top of this, a video allows you to pair a simple message to an emotion (humor, hope, trust, etc.) through the use of imagery, motion, music, scene setting, etc., making it stick with viewers. Purchase decisions are still made based on emotions, video allows you to create a memorable, emotional tie to customers.

Your Culture

The internet is an opportunity to extend your customer’s connections beyond your current locale. Consumers still make purchase decisions based on emotions and loyalty. As well as learning about your product and service, customers want to know about the culture of your new business and you.

A video gives you a chance to showcase far more personality and a human approach than text. Within your video you can use music, animation, or even interesting characters, to say a lot about what makes your company unique.


Bonus Stat:

A recent study suggests that 85% of people are more likely to purchase a product after watching an explainer video. Explainer videos increase the understanding level of potential customers because a video clearly shows the product benefits and features. Often you display how the product can solve a particular problem or fill a distinctive need.

Video playback data can illuminate which product features potential customers find confusing (they’ll repeat that section of video) or which features are not interesting (you’ll see a drop in viewership). That data allows you to refine your message and win more sales.

Distribution: Get your Content to the People!

Even though content is online, sites have different audiences, attention spans and expectations. Posting to Vimeo as opposed to Youtube can say a lot about your project before anyone even clicks the link! Here’s why it’s important to know these unwritten rules of distribution

Vimeo- Vimeo has an unparalleled a sense of community. You won’t find snarky comments here. There are also no ads that play before the videos. The Vimeo community expects high quality, and usually long form, video content. Accounts are leveled. Free accounts have a 500MB per week limit. Plus accounts can upload 5GB for a $59.95 annual fee. Pro accounts are $199 a year, with unlimited HD uploading. You can view the full pricing plans at or

YouTube- YouTubers are used to looking at short videos. Most videos over four minutes will start to get lost in the shuffle. Accounts are free and it’s really easy to upload content. You can also upload unlimited 1080p video. There’s even an option to monetize a YouTube account by becoming a “YouTube Partner”. The YouTube team will place ads before your videos once your channel surpasses a certain number of views.

Facebook-A fan or community page on Facebook is the way to go, but don’t overpost! Posting every few hours on Facebook gets really annoying. You want to engage people, and that’s the key to having your posts show up in Facebook news feeds. Ask questions, ask for feedback and engage them as much as possible. Be warned, if you ask for feedback, it will be honest feedback.

Twitter- Post away! Users on twitter are used to constant updates. In fact, that’s where many people get their news, follow celebrities’, and inform the Internet of their everyday lives. Tweet every hour or even more frequently. The guys and gals of Twitter are used to it!

Why Video can be your #1 Marketing Tool – Video length: Attention Spans (or lack thereof)

The average attention span is eight seconds, so it’s important to know when enough is enough. Stretching out a production happens more frequently than most people would like to admit. Your script could easily be two pages, but it ends up as a six-minute video that, quite frankly, no one is going to watch. You’ve been careful with your budget, planning and distribution, and now you’re left wondering why your video only has 20 views.

The facts- According to a 2010 New York Times article, 19.4 percent of viewers abandon an online video after 10 seconds and 44.1 percent will abandon a video after 60 seconds. You don’ t have much time to reel in your viewer. You have to say it, and say it fast. There are a few things you can do to keep your video length in check.

Your babies have to grow up- We all claim portions of our projects as our own. Just like babies, they have to grow up. We eventually have to let go of the control we had in their lives and let them live out their own experiences. The same goes for your video production. The 20-second shot or the ten-page script you’re trying to squeeze into four minutes just isn’t possible. You have to decide what is essential to the production and what can be tossed out. Trust us, it’s harder than it looks.

Ask the experts- Your producer wants you to succeed. Ask for their advice. They want the same thing you do, and that’s bringing your rocking production to life. A producer will help you trim the unnecessary bits of your script.

Answer: shorter- If you’re on the fence about a shorter or longer video, shorter is always better for video.

Book Trailer & Website – All But Normal

Recently we partnered with Shawn Thornton on his new book All But Normal. Take a look at the website and check out the trailer. It was recently featured on the 700 club among other places.




Video Facts

1.8 millions words

A 1 minute video is worth 1.8 millions words of text.

100 Million

Everday 100 Million people watch online video.


YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. Are you showing up in the results?


The percentage of senior executives who’d rather watch a video than read text.


That’s how much more likely website visitors are to buy a product on a retail site after watching a video.


The percentage of Internet users who recall watching a video ad on a website they visited in the past 30 days.


The percentage of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website who said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.


When marketers included a video in an email, click-through rates increased by this percentage.


The percentage of marketers using video for online marketing, sales or communications.

Hopefully these 9 stats give you a small idea of the big power of video. If you haven’t tried video as part of your marketing strategy yet, we think you should hop on board. All aboard!


Digital Sherpa

Brain Shark


Is Your Video Marketing Actually Working?

I was recently at a networking event, talking to a marketing consultant about the rise of online video marketing. It was a light-hearted conversation until he asked a very important question, “How do we know that video actually works?”

It made me pause, because there are so many reports out there to quote, and yet which of those statistics are the really important ones? Are they vanity stats with little effect on a company’s bottom line, or actual evidence that online video marketing is an effective tool? How can you measure the effectiveness of the money you choose to invest in video? Are you making the right video choices?

The answer to that depends on your business and how you’re incorporating video into your marketing campaign. However, you can tell if your online video marketing efforts are successful using these 3 big metrics.

1. Visitor Time on Site Increases

Just as it sounds, this statistic measures the amount of time that a visitor spends on your website before leaving it. Current research reports the average user spends 88%more time on a website with video. That’s huge. The more time a visitor spends on your website, the less time they’re on a competitors website.

Let’s be honest, you’re competing with lots of other websites trying to sell similar products and services. Adding video to your homepage will help keep visitors on your site longer, increasing their engagement with your product, and their recognition of your brand. Even better, viewer’s retention of information shared in video is 68% versus just 10% for text based communication.

One caveat, pay attention to the drop point for viewers watching your video. If the time they invest in watching the video and the average time that people are spending on your website are closely aligned, then your video isn’t actually as effective as you want it to be. Your video should prompt viewers to take a next step on your website, so don’t forget to wrap it up with an interesting call-to-action that engages them further.

And, we’ve now created the perfect transition into our next metric!

2. Visitors View More Pages

Beyond the time on site metric for website visitors, another important number to keep track of is the number of pages within your site that an average visitor views. Why?

Because, it tracks how engaged that visitor became with your brand. A visitor who views more than one page on your website is looking for more information about your products/services and who your company is. They’re engaging with your brand further and more likely to remember your company when they decide to buy.

Videos help you convert visitors into more engaged prospects, by delivering easily digestible content. Your main explainer video should offer up a quick snapshot of your product or service. From there, if the video has done its job well, they should be enticed to learn more about your offerings (generally, viewing more pages). On the additional pages, incorporate different types of video to continue engaging your viewers.

For companies like Attivio, this pays off in big ways. Drew Smith, Director of Online Marketing, attributes the use of video on their website to an increase of 63% in page views.

3. Conversion Rate Increases

This video power fact has been proven by large and small brands for years. Videos help you sell products and services at a significantly higher rate than text and images alone.

Before we talk about the impact video can have on conversion rates, let’s talk about what a conversion rate actually is.

It’s simply the ratio of the number of visitors to a specific product page who took a measurable action. For online retailers, it’s generally used to define the ratio of visitors to a specific product’s page versus how many items of that product are sold. For example, if a company’s blue widgets product page receives 1,000 visitors in the month of November and the company sold 200 blue widgets online in November then the conversion rate is 20%. For other companies, conversion rates can be used to track how many service inquiries they receive, online webinars, or email leads are captured.

For instance, Zappos and Blendtec both started using online video marketing to increase sales in 2008 and immediately saw an increase in sales. For Zappos, a relatively well known retailer with established brand recognition and traffic, conversion rates increased by 6 – 30% per product. Their videos feature Zappos employees giving a product walkthrough, such as this example.

Now, Increase Your Website’s Performance

Ready to start using video to increase these 3 metrics? First, figure out how your website is performing currently. If you don’t have Google Analytics tracking your website visitors, set up an account and add the tracking code to your website. Follow these instructions to create your account and get your tracking code.

After a couple of months (around the same amount of time you’ll need to produce a high-quality video for your homepage), you’ll have a good initial benchmark of the time visitors are spending on your website and how many pages each visitor is viewing. That data is generated straight from Google’s regular reports on your website.

With a little extra effort, you can also start tracking your conversion rate. Remember that company we discussed earlier that sells blue widgets? With their Analytics account, they can see how many visitors the product page for the blue widget. Then they can find out from their sales team how many blue widgets were sold each month. Divide the number of items sold, by the total number of visitors and you have your conversion rate.

If you’re tracking email captures and have a thank you landing page that visitors automatically get sent to, you can set up goal tracking within your Google Analytics account. Then Google does the math for you! Find instructions on setting goals up here.

Now, remember your goals for your video when you’re producing it. Always make sure you have a call-to-action at the end of your video, that is related to your video’s goals. If you’re producing a homepage video, you want the viewer to find out more information about your product or services. Tell them where to go next on your website, and make that next step easy to find. If you’re creating a product demo video, you’re going to close that video with a reminder to add the item to their shopping cart.

Advanced Video Marketing Tips

As with any other marketing projects, video marketing should constantly be tested and improved. So, if your video has been live for a little while and you’ve benchmarked its current returns, start running some tests. Switch the call-to-action wording or what you ask people to do. Or, try out a new intro! Just remember to test one section of your video at a time and then look at the response.