What is the first thing to catch your attention when looking for a video to watch? Well, obviously beautiful people are still at the top of the list most places – but what is the eye-catcher, in a video thumbnail or preview, that will help you to clarify what the video is really about? Subtitles are the answer.
Today, videos are the most popular and profitable form of content online. There really is no better way to reach your target audience, BUT there are many ways to improve your video. One of the main video features being subtitles. Not only do they increase comprehension of and engagement in your video, but subtitles also provide a list of other benefits – some of which we will light up for you in this article.
Let us not forget to mention that thanks to AI technology – adding subtitles to your video has become an easy job.
Let the subtitles begin
Back in the day, subtitles originated for the purpose of supporting the storylines of silent movies in the 1900s. Once movies with sound were possible, subtitle usage changed towards supporting those hard of hearing.
There are an estimated 466 million people worldwide who suffer from hearing difficulties – a number expected to increase significantly. In addition to this, around 2.5 billion people are thought to have some degree of hearing loss. This is the reason why subtitles made particularly to support deaf or hard of hearing are an important ingredient when it comes to making videos inclusive. This type of subtitles, referred to as SDH, in addition to the spoken words, also includes other audible sounds, such as footsteps approaching or the wind blowing.
Furthermore, today subtitles have a number of other purposes – let us take a closer look.
Manage Muted videos
It is no secret that most videos are watched on mute – on the go, for instance on public transport or at the cafe. Although many of us carry around headphones, it is not always convenient to use them. Even at home people tend to watch videos on mute – to keep discrete or to avoid disturbing those around. Meaning everything being said in your video is not heard or recognized at all.
Luckily, you can address this issue quite easily by adding subtitles to your video. Hundreds of studies have led to the conclusion that subtitling a video is going to increase both comprehension of, attention towards, and memory of the video – improving engagement rates by up to 80%.
Gain Video SEO with Closed Caption subtitles
Another relatively unknown benefit of adding subtitles to your video is the fact that you can gain video SEO. SEO is short for search engine optimization and refers to the process that decides the ranking of your website page or video. This process is carried out by search engine robots regularly “crawling” and inspecting your website, and the ranking itself is based on factors such as the relevance of your keywords, engagement metrics, etc.
Unfortunately, search engine robots are not able to detect speech and visual content in your video, which means your video will not be considered in SEO. This is a fact, but it is not a fact out of your control. If you add subtitles and/or a transcript to your video it will provide the search engine robots with text so that they can “read” your video and take it into consideration when ranking your content. Thereby, providing you with the needed video SEO.
Not just any kind of subtitles will suffice though. In order for the search engine robots to be able to detect your subtitles, they have to be closed caption subtitles – meaning the ones you add as an additional subtitle file (SRT, VTT, or TXT), which can be turned on and off by the viewer. This way the crawlers can read your subtitles and you won’t miss out on video SEO!
Don’t let distance stop you
If you want to take this one step further; by using closed caption subtitles you can offer your viewers a selection of different languages. Allowing you to expand your audience internationally. How? – you might ask.
AI technology to the rescue!
Have you heard of artificial intelligence (AI)? If not, you might think that adding subtitles to your video manually will take forever. And yes, for sure it would. But thanks to advanced AI subtitling software – there is no longer a reason to spend hours and hours typing out your subtitles. Modern AI software can add automatically generated subtitles to your video (and even auto-translate them too).
AI subtitling software uses neural network algorithms to detect words in speech and transcribe them into subtitle text. It can transcribe a video in a matter of minutes, depending on the length of the video. You might worry that the software will get the words wrong and the outcome will be something rather unintelligible. This is a sensible concern to have, as we know that AI software is not anywhere near achieving the stage of human intelligence. Although, when it comes to converting speech to text AI software is quite precise with an accuracy of up to 98%. This does not mean that we do not have to take a look at the subtitles after they have been auto-generated – it just means that this particular task is a manageable task for the AI software to perform.
How to add automatically generated subtitles
With this online subtitle software you can add subtitles in only a few steps;
- Upload your video to the platform by clicking “Create project”. You can upload a video by adding the link/URL from video platforms like Youtube or TikTok, or you can upload a video from your computer library.
- Go into the subtitle tab and choose “Auto subtitles”. Here you can choose the video language yourself or you can let the software auto-detect the language for you. The software now generates the subtitles.
- Once the subtitles are generated, you can easily edit the words if the AI misheard anything.
- When you are happy with the subtitles, you can export the video with subtitles visible on top of the video (open caption subtitles/hardcoded) or you can download your subtitles as an SRT, VTT or TXT file to upload it on your video platform (closed caption subtitles). Remember, that to get video SEO you must have an SRT, VTT, or TXT file to upload with the video – either to your preferred video player platform such as YouTube, or simply as text below your video in the video description or on your website page.
Note that AI translation of your subtitles can be done within this software as well.
Tips to take home
1# Consider the font, size, and position of your subtitles- They have to be easy to read. Use a big font size (point size 22) and position your subtitles at the bottom of the screen to avoid them overlapping with other captions and pictures on the screen.
2# Avoid making your subtitle cards too long – maximum 42 characters. Also, try to break the subtitle line where there would naturally occur a sentence break.
3# Don’t forget to include some main keywords in your video speech before adding subtitles – so that these keywords will also be present in your subtitles.
Crawlers cannot detect the speech in your video, but they can read your subtitle text files. With some strategically placed keywords in your subtitles, crawlers will be able to understand what your video is about. This will assist your video to appear in queries that matter to your business.
4# Make sure your video content and the keywords in your subtitles are a great fit! Meaning that they have to correspond well so that your content answers the viewers’ queries and is aligned with what they are looking for. This way bouncing rates will decrease, and your viewers will stay on your page longer to explore more – instead of ‘bouncing’ away just as they have arrived.
5# Use your subtitles to make a blog. Take your subtitle text and create a blog – or if you are posting on for instance YouTube – add your subtitles as a transcript in the video description. This is a smart way to increase your content by recycling what you have already created. Also increasing your keyword profile. The good news is that you can simply download your subtitles in a subtitle file (SRT, VTT, TXT) and by doing so you have converted your subtitles into a transcript in barely any time.
6# Add some descriptive captions in your video thumbnail- The video thumbnail is the front picture or video preview that represents your video. Once your video is presented to viewers, the thumbnail decides whether one is going to click or not. So it is important to make it stand out and to make it clear and easy to understand what the video is about.
7# Be on the right platform- Choose a video hosting platform that allows you to upload subtitle files. Ideally, a fast video-delivering platform, so that your viewers can watch your video smoothly without a long loading time.
Ready, set, go, subtitles!
Whether you are aiming to make a better connection with the audience you already have, are working on expanding your target audience, or are trying to achieve higher search engine rankings – subtitles are a great opportunity to help you achieve your goals.