Does adding captions make a difference to video effectiveness?
Is there a Return on Investment when you add Closed Captions to Video?
In 2013, Disvoery Digital Nertworks decided to add closed captions to their YouTube videos and at the same time they wanted to quantify the value of using closed captions. 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 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 supports 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. We always recommend that closed captions re included and will be doing so with evidence to prove the value from now on!