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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Why Subtitles Can Help Your Marketing Strategy


Captioning a video is a time-consuming and often tedious task. When manually subtitling a video, although generally more accurate, it can easily turn into a large project. Additionally, some automated closed captioning services can be expensive and not always accurate. Therefore, it’s incredibly important for research to be done when trying to find the best, inexpensive, and accurate subtitling service.

Subtitling is important in a multitude of ways. By adding subtitles to a video, it increases the likelihood of a consumer to view in a loud or public place, the increase of SEO hits, or search engine optimization, which then can lead to increased traction, especially if the subtitles are available in multiple languages.

One of the main reasons that a video gains traction is due to subtitles. When an online video incorporates subtitles, it makes it possible for a consumer to engage with a video no matter their surroundings. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Therefore, this poses the question — what makes it possible for consumers to comprehend the content of a video without audio? The answer is, subtitles. When looking at Facebook, for instance, statistics show that a video post is likely to have a 135% higher organic reach that would a post containing a photo. However, one of the issues that can arise with a video post pertains to keeping a consumer watching after a certain period of time.

According to Facebook, 65% of users that watch the first three seconds of a video will more than likely continue to watch at least the next ten seconds of that video, with 45% continuing on to watch until the 30-second mark. Therefore, obviously, it becomes crucial for a company to publish content that is easily understandable that quickly captures the interest of the viewer nearly immediately.

However, this can be difficult when the main component used to grab a consumer’s attention is audio. In fact, autoplay and loud audio are considered to be some of the largest annoyances among all internet users. Therefore, this creates an issue for those who choose to market and product videos that include audio as their main component. However, there is a way to combat the ever-annoying, overly loud audio that seems to accompany most viral videos.

Visual messaging is one of the more important tools that marketers take advantage of. When a consumer hears information, 10% of that information is retained, as opposed to 65% of the information that is retained when that audio is paired with a visual stimulus. Therefore, marketers are adding visual elements to their videos in order to increase the likelihood of their consumers retaining their message. With subtitles, this allows a user to comprehend and retain the information that is being given.

More importantly, 62% of people in a Michigan News study use their phones in a public place to pass time while waiting, whether it be scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or watching videos on YouTube, the majority were using their cell phones in a public place. We know that audio is considered to be disruptive in public areas, therefore it becomes crucial for a company to supply subtitles in order to engage a consumer at any level.

Another large benefit of subtitles is the capacity in which it interacts and benefits SEO, or search engine optimization. Search engines do not have the capabilities to watch videos. Therefore, it may seem as though a video will have no impact on SEO. However, that is not necessarily the case. If a video contains professional subtitles, Google is able to index that content. By adopting this method, this study suggested that revenue was increased by 16% just by adding professional subtitles.

Google’s mission is to award those with accurate and educational content. So, if a video contains accurate subtitles, this increases its likelihood of being spotted by Google. However, with cheap or free subtitle generators, such as the automatic subtitle generators of Facebook or YouTube, often times the subtitles generated are not accurate. Google recognizes this, making the likelihood of a video with auto-generated subtitles ranking highly on Google low. Therefore, in order for a video to become recognized by Google, which then leads to a potential increase in audience, subtitles must be present and accurate.

Another benefit of subtitles includes an increase in the audience if subtitles are provided in a multitude of languages. By looking at website analytics, it is possible to understand the location of your primary viewers, and then accommodate with the subtitles in that corresponding language. By offering content that is available in multiple languages, this increases the chance of audience growth. Instead of only reaching a certain amount of people due to the fact that you are only supplying important subtitles to one language in particular, it’s possible to reach a much larger audience across the globe.

Professional subtitles are one of the more important aspects that a company can integrate into their online video presence. By adding them to their video content, they are increasing engagement, longer views, the likelihood of ranking highly on an internet search, and a massive increase in viewer audience. Therefore, it is incredibly important for a company or business to implement subtitles for a multitude of reasons.

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