5 Ways Captions Help Grow Your Social Media Audience

Rheannon Ketover

What if I told you that you were potentially losing out on 80% of your viewing audience? 

Well, no matter how stunning and amazing your videos are, if you don’t have a certain critical component, you might not be achieving the full potential of your content. 

Look, there’s no doubt that video has become the pinnacle of social media content.

And, hey, it makes sense, right? Those TikTok and Instagram/Facebook/YouTube shorts are super catchy and entertaining! Not only that, but something catches your eye and next thing you know, you’ve been swiping up for the last 30 minutes. Trust me, I’ve been there too.

The truth is, video content is incredibly effective at building audiences, selling products and services, and just generally generating buzz around your brand. And that’s because videos grab our attention and engage us in ways that text just can’t. They tell stories, create emotion, entertain us, and inform us in a short amount of time. And let’s face it, it seems like we’re all strapped for time these days, so we want things fast, fast, fast.

So if you’re wanting to reach a wider audience, video is definitely the way to go.

And if you don’t believe me, there is a ton of research out there illustrating the reign of video on social platforms.

  • Tweets with videos get shared nearly 1,000% more than text-only tweets.
  • Facebook videos get 135% more reach than photos.
  • YouTube viewers watch over one billion hours of video every single day! 

But here’s the thing, many content producers forget an absolutely crucial component when posting their videos—captions! I don’t know about you, but when I get lost in the Shorts rabbit hole, I’m usually lured in by captions. Sometimes the video is captivating enough, but when I can see a full preview of the subject by way of the captions, whoa, Nelly, count me in! 

Much of the time, I don’t end up turning the sound on at all, depending instead only on the captions—if they’re good captions. If they’re not, then sorry, but see ya later!

So now you’re probably asking…

How else can captions help me?

There are estimates that up to 90% of viewers, for a variety of reasons, watch videos with the sound off. This includes videos on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. And why might people watch without sound in the first place? Well, think commuters on public transport.

Or parents laying near their sleeping babes, who would be shocked out of their gentle sleep as the latest TikTok jam started blasting. Or bored shoppers waiting in line at the grocery store or patients in the doctor’s office. 

So in today’s world, having quality captions is practically a nonnegotiable. Here are some ways that simply captioning your video content can help you grow your audience and your brand.

1. Make video inclusive for all

Captions make your content more accessible to all types of users, including the over 28 million hard-of-hearing or deaf Americans. Additionally, for people learning English as a second language, captions are a crucial tool as text is often easier to understand than video. By providing high-quality captioned videos, you position yourself as an inclusive and empathetic brand.

While being vital for hearing-impaired viewers, about 80% of those who use captions are not hard of hearing. Numerous studies have shown that captions have great benefits for everyone, from young children learning to read, to college students studying course content, to older adults.

2. Grab attention

Most viewers these days are watching on their smartphones while commuting, working, or just scrolling through their feeds. No matter what they’re doing, it’s hard to resist pausing when a nicely captioned video pops up and catches their attention! 

That’s the benefit of having captions on your videos. You capture their attention and make your videos way more appealing than a muted, contextless video ever could. 

Not only that, but videos help viewers retain information better than text formats can. 

Captions can further provide better understanding, creating a one-two punch.

3. Enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking

If you don’t know what SEO is or why it should matter to you, we’ll lay it out for you. SEO is the process of improving your website so that it appears higher up in search engine results. A good SEO strategy will help you get more organic reach to your website, blog, or videos (because how often do we really head over to page 10 of search results before clicking on something? Exactly.)

So how can captions help you climb in the search engine rankings? Well, SEO is primarily based off of your content creation. Once you add new content, bots scour your website, collecting information which is then indexed with relevant search terms. However, when it comes to video, keywords cannot be identified without a transcript or captions. So when you add a transcript alongside your video, you are capturing all of those valuable potential search terms and making your video searchable on a search engine. 

As your overall SEO improves, your new content will also begin to rank higher in results, leading to more views and engagement.

4. Increase engagement

Your video’s ability to engage your audience and generate a higher click-through rate (the percentage of viewers that click through to watch your video after seeing its thumbnail) also greatly improves your ranking. Videos with captions perform better in impressions, views, and likes. Additionally, YouTube viewers are 80% more likely to actually finish watching a video with captions. 

As mentioned in the previous point, including high-quality captions will make your video more searchable and align better with users’ search terms. If your content answers the questions people are looking for, they’ll be less inclined to click away.

Having captions also increases the chances that your video will be watched straight away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve added a video to my “Watch Later” list because I wasn’t able to listen the moment, only to never actually go back and watch it. But if a video has captions and we can get answers right then while we’re on the go, it’s more likely that it will be watched. 

Reading captions also captivates the viewers more and often results in the sound being turned on in order to better understand and engage with the video.

5. Content repurposing

How many times have you heard the quote “content is king”? Chances are at least once or twice since it was first uttered by Bill Gates back in 1996. And after all these years, that is still true. In order to have a successful online brand, creating great content is absolutely essential. 

But content comes in many shapes: images, blog posts, YouTube videos, social media posts, infographics, emails, e-books, checklists, and on and on.

And hey, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this but it takes a lot of time to create awesome content between the planning, writing, recording, editing, et cetera. So when it comes to video, once you’ve recorded all that quality information, it would be crazy to just use it once before moving on to your next topic.

Instead, with a transcript of your video in hand, you easily have a jumping off point to create social media and/or blog posts, emails to your subscribers, a podcast, or so much more! If you want to reach as many people as possible, you’ll want to have as many possible touchpoints as you can.

The bottom line?

Adding captions to your video content is one of the easiest (and most overlooked) ways of supercharging your content. Captions increase curiosity and raise interest among viewers, which, in turn, strengthens the performance of your video and, ultimately, if done consistently, your brand. 

So whether you’re looking to engage more with your audience, build a community, or aiming for a higher ranking in search results, captions can help you achieve those goals.

And if you would like all the benefits without the added work, EcoCaptions is here to help. We’ll do all the heavy lifting for you so you can continue to focus on all your other projects. When we’re done, you’ll have both a transcript and a caption file that you’ll be able to easily add on to your video. We look forward to helping you grow your audience and help you thrive!

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