Statistics around Facebook video viewing show that most users watch videos with the sound off (85% according to this Digiday piece from 2016), but not all best practices apply to your brand.
How do you determine if adding captions to your Facebook videos is worth it for your brand? Let’s walk through it.
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First, look at your video performance on Facebook
What do the metrics tell you?
If you have any videos that have captions on them, compare their performance to videos without captions. If there’s a clear performance gap in favor of the captioned video, then you know it’s worth it to add captions to new videos and possibly to some of your old videos. You want to test more because one video with captions outperforming other recent videos could just be an outlier; compare several to get a more solid answer.
If new videos with captions perform noticeably better than other recent videos without them, you know you’ve made the right change.
Deciding to add captions to all of your old videos can be a huge undertaking depending on how big your archive is, however. You might decide to just add captions to the few that have performed the best instead of doing the full archive.
You can also reach out to your audience directly and ask for their feedback. Would they like to see captions added to your Facebook videos? Run a Facebook Poll on it.
Aside from your own statistics, this might be a project worth taking on- if you have the resources- for other reasons.
For example, are there stats on videos in your industry with or without captions? If the best practice in your industry is to definitely have captions on your videos, adding some to at least a few is probably worth your time.
Also check and see if your competitors post a lot of Facebook videos and if so, do they use captions? Test a few on yours in that case as well.
With the Facebook News Feed algorithm continuing to change and challenge brands, every edge you can test is a good one.
How to add captions
Facebook has a “generate captions” button that will automatically generate captions you can edit, but it’s not always easy to find. If you’re uploading a video to be published immediately, a little “generate captions” button should appear above your video. Click on that, then edit the captions that will appear.
If you’d like to add captions to a video you’re scheduling to be posted later, you’ll have to first upload and schedule the video then go to your video library. Once there, click on the edit symbol next to the title of your scheduled video, then go to the captions tab. There you should see the option to generate captions you can then edit.
Facebook explains more here, and Eli Rose has a great breakdown including more photos here. There is also an option to use an SRT file which Facebook explains here.
Want to measure your impact on Facebook?
From videos- with and without captions- to everything else, we can help with that.