Not all online videos use closed captioning, but there are plenty of reasons you should consider adding subtitles to your own posted video content. Here are five of the biggest reasons to use closed captioning, whether you’re posting videos to YouTube or hosting them on your own branded site.
While it’s fairly obvious that closed captioning can help you reach customers and clients who are deaf or hard of hearing, transcriptions of your online video also help extend your reach in other ways. Anyone who clicks on your video in a setting where audio is limited, such as at work or in a library, can still access your message if you’ve got closed captioning enabled. Some potential customers simply prefer watching videos with closed captioning instead of enabling the sound on their laptops or mobile devices. In one U.K. study, researchers found that 80 percent of people who used closed captioning are not deaf or hard of hearing.
In some cases, you’re required by law to add closed captioning to online videos. Specifically, if your full-length video content has been shown on TV with captions, you’re required by law to use closed captions when posting the same content on the Internet. In other cases, the site hosting or selling your video content may require captions, so adding them may be the determining factor when trying to reach new audiences.
Because closed captions increase your audience, they naturally increase your potential profits, too. Online videos offer plenty of ways to drive customers toward an eventual purchase, including direct links to your online sales page and general increases in brand recognition.
In many fields, closed captioning is now expected. If potential clients and customers happen to notice that your branded video doesn’t have closed captioning, they are likely to view your company as less professional than companies with available transcriptions.
The spoken words in your video aren’t automatically picked up by search engine spiders, so even if your company spokesperson or hired actor talks about your business or industry at length, there’s no way for a search engine to know that unless you’ve got a transcript. In contrast, all of the major search engines today scan closed captions and base search engine rankings on the words found there.