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.

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.

Key Steps to Successful Video Productions

Ahh video. It seems everyone is jumping on the video marketing bandwagon. But, once you’ve decided to create your first explainer video, how do you actually produce it?

We’ve peeled back the jargon to uncover these key steps every video goes through in production.

1. Script

First up is the script. This is more than just putting words to paper and create a connected narrative. It’s about establishing a problem in the status quo, introducing a solution (usually your product or service), the benefits that go along the solution, and wrapping up with a call-to-action. This is also where your video length is established, so keep in mind that 60 seconds of video equates to a script length of about 150 words.

2. Storyboard

Storyboards allow you a convenient way to see the layout of the progression of shots throughout the video. This includes matching the script to different visual ideas that relate to those particular sections of the narration. To keep pacing right, we recommend aiming for around 8 or 9 words per scene for frame in your storyboard.

3. Production

When all the pre-production work is complete it’s time to actually hop into making the video. For animation, this usually means working in After Effects to add motion to the style frame assets created earlier in the process. For a live action video, this means actually shooting the footage, using the storyboard as a guide.

4. Post Production

This is where the video comes together. All the editing, animation, voice over, music selection, sound design and so much more. It is key to have good editors, producers and animators to help make your vision a reality.

There may be additional steps in between the steps we laid out, because each production process is going to be a little bit different. Whether it’s providing direction, tone, or feedback be sure to be as detailed as possible throughout the production process.