Why add Closed Captions to Video?
Discovery Digital Nertworks decided to add closed captions to their YouTube videos in 2013 and at the same time they conducted a controlled study on the effects of adding closed captions to YouTube videos by test captioning 125 videos across 8 channels. 125 of the then 334 Discovery Digital Networks videos were transcribed published across 8 of their channels. The data was collected by corresponding the data that the captions were turned on for every video and each video was analysed on a day to day basis. This showed the difference in views between videos that had already been published prior to being captioned and videos which have been published recently, it also showed the effects of viral videos on the data. The experiment was controlled by measuring data recorded from the 125 transcribed videos against those remaining 209 videos.
14 days after adding captions: Increase in YouTube views was up by 13.48%
Discovery Digital Networks found an increase in the views for captioned videos of 7.32% overall, which they were very pleased with. They found that there was no significant impact on shares and other metric associated with engagement.
Captions are indexed by YouTube Search
Discovery Digital Networks wanted to make sure that files for the closed captions were being indexed by YouTube’s search engine. To test they were, Discovery Digital Networks searched for a phrase which was included in the transcript, but not in the title, description or tags for the video.
The study done by Digital Networks supported our view at Take One TV that adding closed captions to YouTube videos for our clients, along with all the other SEO boosts, makes a real difference, a tangible difference to getting their videos in front of new clients. Coming up to current trends, adding closed captions still has a signficant impact on views though perhaps for slightly different reasons. Today, many people will watch videos with the sound turned off, or very low, because they are in an open environment, perhaps travelling on public transport or waiting in a queue. Open plan offices have made it unsociable to have sound blaring out from a desktop computer, and hot desking has also meant facilities on work stations can often be fair basic. Add closed captions also helps where English may not be the first language of the viewer, and gives greater accessibility to content for those who are hearing impaired. We always recommend that closed captions are included on Youtube videos; if you'd like to know more about making use of this facility for your programmes please get in touch and we'll be happy to explore the practicalities with you.