Capture Mobile Viewers By Adding Subtitles to Social Video

By February 15, 2017Social Media

In 2014, the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users for the first time, and that number has continued to rise. The majority of digital media consumption has taken place on mobile for the past couple of years, and it’s no longer a question whether mobile marketing is important; it’s critical. If you’re not reaching your audience through mobile marketing, you will fall behind compared to your competitors who are.

Look up from your screen for a moment and take notice that everyone is on their phones. Social media giants like Facebook and Instagram took notice awhile ago and have continued to adapt their platforms to be more mobile user friendly. The most recent example? Accommodating the heavy-video-watching mobile users. The time people spent watching social video on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent in the past year, and similarly on Facebook.

In a mobile feed environment, users prefer to have the choice opt-in to sound, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram autoplay without sound. Facebook offers automatic video captions for video ads. If you’re not posting an ad, it’s still important to include subtitles so that everyone who watches it, with or without sound, can “hear” your message and you don’t risk losing engagement. In fact, Facebook reports that captioning a social video increases average video view time by 12 percent and that when “mobile video ads play loudly when people aren’t expecting it, 80 percent react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser.”

Since most videos on social media are viewed without sound, create your videos with the sound off in mind to optimize for mobile, boost engagement, and help drive your message home. Here are a few tips to guide you as you get started:

  • Get visual: Showing captions, logos, and products can help communicate your message, even in silence.
  • Optimize the viewer experience: Make sure your text appears right as it’s being voiced, and limit the amount of text to one or two short sentences per scene. Wordy sentences should be broken up so as not to overwhelm your viewers.
  • Establish a connection (quickly!): Facebook defines a “view” as three seconds or longer—so it’s critical to connect with your viewers and capture attention right away. Use attention-grabbing video thumbnail images and titles, and stick to themes and imagery that can help viewers connect the video to your brand.
  • Plan ahead: When producing future social video content, consider how most people will view your content on social (with the sound off) and optimize for that audience.

Video has always been a cornerstone of internet content but as more user go mobile, creating high-quality and engaging social video content that captures a viewer’s attention will become more important.

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