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Make Caption Happen: What is Closed Captioning & Why You Need It

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Did you know that 30 million Americans age 12 and older have hearing loss in both ears?

Hearing loss is especially prevalent in those ages 60-69. And with the aging of the Baby Boomers, there are more elderly Americans than ever before.  

If you’re not using closed captioning in your social media strategy, you’re missing out. 

What is closed captioning? Check out our complete guide to find out what it is and why you need it. 

What Is Closed Captioning?

Closed captioning isn’t the same as subtitles.

Do you like watching foreign films?

Then you know what subtitles are. They’re the written translation that runs along the bottom of the screen. They convert the audio soundtrack from the original language into another language. 

Closed captioning differs in that it’s an exact transcript of the audio in the same language. Closed captioning also help deaf viewers in other ways. The captions note other relevant information such as background noises.

The viewer can turn closed captioning on or off. 

Why You Need Closed Captioning

Today’s viewer wants video. Surveys reveal that over 80% of internet traffic will be for videos by 2021. 

The more accessible your videos are, the better. Here are a few reasons you need captioning:

For the Hearing Impaired

Those with hearing impairment are the most obvious audience for closed captioning. The deaf can’t understand most video content and dialogue even if they read lips. Even those with slight hearing impairment enjoy closed captioning. 

If you’re a vlogger, use closed captioning so everyone can understand what you’re saying. 

You want videos that include everyone in the online community. Including the deaf and hard of hearing makes your marketing more inclusionary. 

How do you add closed captioning? Find more info here. 

And the hearing impaired aren’t the only ones who like closed captioning…

Unintelligible Actors

How many movies have you seen where the main character speaks in a rough, inarticulate whisper? Have you hit the “back” button, again and again, trying to figure out what the characters are saying?

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Stop rewinding and turn on the closed captioning. It’s easy and provides a smoother viewing experience. 

For Public Viewing of Mobile Video

Look around you in any public place from the airport to the library. People everywhere are watching videos on their mobile devices. 

But headphones aren’t always available.

It’s rude and often prohibited to watch videos in public with the sound on. Closed captioning and subtitles both help in this situation. 

English as a Second Language

For those whose first language isn’t English, closed captioning is also helpful. 

Many people have limited English speaking skills. But listening while reading closed captioning helps them learn the language. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Closed captioning also helps your web site in other ways. 

Did you know that search engines like Google can’t index videos? The bots that index pages can’t watch videos, so they can’t index them. 

Closed captioning alleviates this problem. With closed captioning, keyword searches match transcript text. This increases traffic to your webpages even if they only host a video. 

Google processes over three billion searches per day. Don’t get left out of potential viewers by leaving out closed captioning. 

Social Media Marketing

When it comes to social media marketing, video is leading the way. Clever marketing videos are often shared through social media. But if they lack closed captioning, many viewers won’t know what’s going on. 

Facebook has over 1.5 billion daily active users. Many Facebook users search the platform through the search bar. Don’t miss out on organic searches because you don’t have closed captioning. 

Even the photographic platform Instagram allows users to share videos. If you’re using Instagram, make your videos 60 seconds or less. 

If your business isn’t on LinkedIn, it should be. It’s a great place for building brand awareness as well as lead generation.

LinkedIn is a valuable marketing tool as well. You can post videos and blog posts and engage with other users. Leverage your video content on LinkedIn using their video caption feature. 

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Creating Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is long-lasting content. You create it once and publish it again and again. 

Closed captioning adds another dimension helping you prolong the life of great content. Closed captioning is more easily searched. And it’s also a great springboard to other content. 

Use closed captioning to transform a great video into a blog post with little effort. Take quotes straight from the transcript and transform them into catchy visuals for Instagram.

Video Email Marketing

Tired of the same old boring marketing email newsletter? So are your customers. Make a video newsletter and include closed captioning. 

Videos make your newsletter more interesting and more clickable. 

Audience Expansion

By making your video marketing content more inclusionary, you’ll also expand your audience. 

With closed captioning, you’ll potentially reach 30 million hearing impaired or deaf Americans. You’ll also gain non-native English speakers. 

Without closed captioning? Even the most professionally produced video is inaccessible to this wide audience. 

Add Closed Captioning to Your Videos

What is closed captioning? Now you know! Closed captioning adds another layer to your videos making them more inclusionary and accessible to a wider audience. 

It’s not only the hearing impaired or deaf that benefit from closed captioning. Non-native English speakers also use closed captioning. Many non-native speakers can read English better than they understand it. 

Closed captioning also enhances language skills. 

Adding captions to your video means viewers can now watch your videos at any time in any place.

Are your viewers in the library where no noise is allowed? No headphones? No problem! Closed captioning eliminates the issue. 

Help boost your SEO with closed captioning. Google and other search engines can index your videos when you add closed captioning. 

You’ll also widen your audience and increase social media engagement across social platforms. 

Closed captioning is a value add to your marketing videos. Don’t miss out! 

Are you looking for other ways to boost your digital presence? Read our blog for more great advice on digital marketing, SEO, and more.