If content is king, video content is the king of kings—it’s top dog, dawg and an important tool in every marketer’s arsenal. The numbers are compelling:

  • According to Statista, there were over 3 billion internet users watching, streaming or downloading a video at least once per month in 2022.
  • In 2021, it was reported that online videos had an audience reach of 92% among internet users worldwide.
  • Research shows 84 minutes per day is the global average for video consumption.

What these numbers all add up to is one strong case for video in your marketing and brand storytelling—video is one of the most engaging mediums with a reach that can’t be beat.

There’s just one thing: Not everyone can or will consume your videos in the same way (with the sound turned up), so if you’re not making the right accommodations, you’ll leave a lot of people out—and we know that you want to be accessible to everyone, which is why we’re meeting here at this exact moment to talk about closed captioning (some things are just meant to be).

Let’s just focus on that word “accessible” for a sec. Accessibility means that anyone can access, read, understand and use your content, whether it is posted on your website, social media or other digital platforms. With video content, it’s the audio part that comes into play when we’re talking “accessibility.” People with hearing impairments (over 5% of the world’s population or around 460 million) should be able to interact with your content as well as those without, plus there are tons of public spaces where people are viewing videos, but they’re unable to use sound—and the answer to being inclusive for all of these people is closed captions.

If you’re a numbers person, here are a few more compelling ones for you:

According to Ai-Media, 83% of media consumers in the U.S. watch video with the sound turned off, plus 80% of people are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Wow, there are likely more people watching our videos with the sound turned off than turned up,” which is likely true. Dawg.

Three reasons to consider closed captioning

  1. You’ll improve your SEO. Search engines can’t watch or listen to a video (yet). That means they can’t index the content so that it shows up in search results. But they do index text, which is what you get when you include closed captions. That transcription of your video’s audio, which shows up as captions, is indeed indexable and findable by Google and other search engines. Which is good news for you and your brand because it expands your reach considerably and helps your content rise to the top. Why go to all the trouble to create a video if it’s going to just sit and be brilliant all alone?
  2. You can repurpose your video transcription for other content. Have you ever created a video and thought, “That would make a good blog article,” or “We should create an e-book based on this?” Let me make your life easier: Start with the transcription. Closed captions give you text to start with, so it’s easier to repurpose that content into other forms, and you’re not just sitting in front of a blank Google doc watching your cursor blink. You’re welcome.
  3. Closed captions improve a viewer’s comprehension. Several studies have shown that captions help users remember more about the videos they watch—reading along with what they’re hearing helps them process and retain the information. Want your brand’s message to stick in someone’s brain or for your org’s mission to stay top of mind? Be sure your videos have those captions to reinforce the audio.

The great news in all of this is that closed captioning is not hard to do: Video hosting and editing platforms have closed caption options available, and they’re easy to use. Platforms like YouTube automatically add text to video. Some of these may contain errors and aren’t sufficient for making video content fully accessible, so it’s a good idea to use these tools as a starting point, then review and revise the captions. Regardless of how you make it happen, it’s a win/win for both you and your audience to include closed captions, and let your audience decide for themselves how they’d like to consume your content.

A Word About Website Accessibility

At Firespring, we’re on the side of helping all potential website visitors have a good user experience. If you’re looking for a solution that ensures access, our newest nonprofit website designs are built with accessibility in mind. That means you don’t have to worry about overhauling your website or the code running your web design. We’ve got you covered!

We’re also proud to offer accessibility consults for businesses and organizations alike. One of our certified accessibility experts can help review your website and supply a report to identify issues and provide recommendations to improve accessibility.