Closed captioning is not necessarily something that the average digital marketer thinks about when they are designing and implementing their latest campaign, but this often overlooked tool can be incredibly useful if used correctly.
Perhaps one of the main reasons for the relative under use of closed captioning is the perceived difficulty, and time consuming nature, of the process in many people’s minds. But the evolution of voice recognition and captioning technology has made the process a much simpler proposition than it once was.
So what can mastering the art of closed captions bring to your digital market campaigns and what are the best options for unlocking some more potential for your videos?
What is Closed Captioning?
Closed captioning is one way of displaying text on a television or video screen so that the viewer has an additional layer of interpretive information aside from the moving pictures and the audio track.
Closed captioning usually shows a transcription of the audio part of a programme. The option of closed captioning is today a legal requirement for all television programs, but can be turned on and off as needed. Closed captions are different to open captions which are ‘burned in’, are visible to all viewers and cannot be turned off.
Some important points with regards to using closed captioning are, firstly, that the responsibility is always on the viewer to turn the captions on/off as and when they need it. Secondly, because the closed captions are always at the level of the viewing medium, rather than the video file itself, they do not become distorted or subject to loss of quality as the video ages or is compressed.
Another important thing to note at this point is that while people tend to use the terms ‘captions’ and ‘subtitles’ interchangeably, captions differ in the fact that they can also capture sound effects.
So, just how can the use of closed captioning be implemented to add a little boost to a digital marketing campaign?
Closed Captioning and Digital Marketing
In the last couple of years those on the SEO game have begun to realise that there is more to optimising online videos than just the video title, description, category and tags. While these are all important pieces of the puzzle, successfully utilising closed captioning can give you something that these other pieces cannot.
The benefits of employing closed captions in your videos are:
- The most obvious marketing benefit is that it allows those with hearing disabilities to watch and understand your videos.
- If your captions are rich in keywords and relevancy (as they are very likely to be) then it will be read in a better way by Google.
- Closed captions are actually searchable and therefore provide a text form of your video that is readable by search engines.
- YouTube has an in-built translating function that allows more people to be able to watch your video.
- If your video is entirely music based, then closed captioning can be used to add a call to action at the end.
Closed captions do not provide a magic bullet but they do mean that you are approaching the relevancy of your video in a much more holistic fashion. Some of the more hyperbolic proponents of this approach claim that views of some videos can increase by as many as ten times, although this is obviously difficult to prove.
There does seem to be a definite trend towards video as the main driving force for creative content and Google does seem to be placing a lot of value in speech-to-text translation software. With this in mind, there is no better time than now to make sure you are optimising your videos in the most effective way possible.
What do you guys think about the powers of closed captioning with respect to digital marketing, is it something that will help now or more something that is a preparation for the future?
Author Bio:- James Duval is an IT Support Manager who writes for closed captioning software specialists Softel Group.