The figures speak for themselves: YouTube has 1.9 billion active users and 4 billion videos viewed each month. The platform thus ranks second among the most used search engines in 2018. As you will have understood, it is “The Place to be” to boost its visibility. But then, does inserting YouTube subtitles on your channel make sense? The short answer is YES! If you want to know more, you have come to the right place. Let’s see together why adding subtitles to a video allows you to have a real edge over your competitors.
Add YouTube subtitles to improve your SEO strategy
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the sinews of war and no serious company can cut it today. This is the basis of your visibility. In a few words, Google and YouTube use an algorithm to define the best sites and videos to promote to best meet the expectations of their users. The stakes are high since a video highlighted by search engines will see its number of views increase significantly. If you want to know more, I invite you to read our very comprehensive article “What is SEO?”
But concretely, what are the subtitles for?
YouTube’s algorithm can only be based on written words. There is therefore not much to put in their mouths when the videos published only contain a title and a description. The simple fact of adding subtitles allows him to happily help himself to the thousands of additional words offered to him on a plate! And rest assured that the game is worth the effort because it can thus grasp the overall meaning of the video and place it on the most relevant queries. This brings you highly qualified traffic that is genuinely interested in your content.
Insert YouTube subtitles to reach a wider audience
The video format has developed at full speed in recent years but it remains less easily consumable than written content by the expert for hire. Let’s see how adding YouTube subtitles to a video can add great value.
The hearing impaired
The World Health Organization counts 466 million deaf or hard of hearing people in the world, including 7 million French people. By generating captions, you allow these people to have access to the same content as everyone else. You also comply with the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in terms of cyber-accessibility. A little extra: you no longer deprive yourself of this previously inaccessible audience.
A person who is not 100% fluent in French will be much more comfortable if they can rely on subtitles while watching your video and will probably be more inclined to go through with it. Non-French speakers will be able to translate the transcription into their mother tongue at their leisure. Thus, you further expand your potential audience.
The sound environment
In France, the time spent watching YouTube videos from a smartphone has increased by more than 45% in one year. Far from being anecdotal, this figure obliges us to take into account the fact that videos can now be watched from anywhere (waiting room, near a sleeping person, in a café, in public transport, at work, etc.). Whether in a quiet or noisy environment, it is sometimes impossible to activate the sound of your phone. Again, inserting YouTube subtitles will allow users to continue watching your videos everywhere.
Import subtitles to improve user experience
User experience (UX) is the quality of experience in a digital interaction situation. It takes into account both the ease of use and the emotional impact felt. It is she who defines the time of presence of an Internet user on a website and who determines whether he comes back or not.
UX is therefore not to be neglected, quite the contrary, it must be at the heart of your digital strategy. But then, how will adding YouTube subtitles improve the user experience on your channel?
Auditory or visual memory?
In addition to the reasons we mentioned above, we must take into account the fact that each individual is different and has a unique way of learning and thinking. Surely you have people in your audience who have an auditory memory and who are completely satisfied with your raw videos. But you also probably have people who have a visual memory and who are better able to understand the message you want to convey if they have written support.
Generally, transcripts are available upon request. However, in certain situations, it may be relevant to force their display. This is particularly the case when:
- the sound quality is poor;
- a noise (truck, plane, horn, etc.) covers part of the voice recording;
- the speaker has a strong accent;
- the voice is difficult to hear because of background noise;
- The rate of speech is too fast.
Inserting YouTube subtitles will, once again, encourage your audience to stay on your channel longer and come back to it.
Increase engagement with captions
A study by adeptly, an American marketing agency, measured the impact of subtitles on the engagement of viewers of long videos (lasting more than 2 minutes). The numbers are surprising! A subtitled video generates 10% more “likes”, 26% more shares and a 29% increase in the number of comments.
Another study conducted by Facebook tells us that adding subtitles has the effect of increasing viewing time by 12%.
When we know that the engagement rate is taken into account by search engine algorithms, we understand the challenge that YouTube subtitles represent today.
Bonus: how to generate subtitles?
You now know that the transcription of your videos is not to be neglected, it only remains for you to know how to go about it. One of the possibilities is of course to add YouTube subtitles yourself. But if you don’t want to embark on the adventure alone and spend hours writing, two solutions are available to you.
Use transcription software
First of all, you can use free software, specially designed to generate subtitles automatically. But in this area, who says “free” says “mediocre quality”. You should not expect a transcription 100% faithful to the original content. Even if the sound of your video is optimal and even if your pronunciation is correct, there will be errors and you will have to proofread the text provided very carefully.
There are also paid software whose rendering is much higher. But, here again, it will be necessary to remain vigilant and to take the time to check that no typos are lying around. The slightest detail in the video (background noise, accent, dialogues, etc.) may cause confusion on the part of the software and generate nonsense.
Hire a web editor
The safest solution is to call on a web editor who will know exactly how to transcribe the message received. Currently, no machine can replace the human brain. So yes, the price will probably be a little higher and the delay a little longer than if you were using software. But you will gain in serenity and time because you will not have to proofread.
Have you ever thought about inserting YouTube subtitles to your videos? Are you ready to get started?
If you want quality transcriptions, do not hesitate to call on the editors of our Web team
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