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Why subtitles make content complete

Social & Digital Technology & Data

Why subtitles make content complete


In a time where brands are being prudent about the content that they publish, maximising reach and engagement of what you do publish is vital. Holly Stephens explains how subtitles can enhance the clarity of marketing messages, making content complete.

Automation has almost become a cliche in marketing. Much heralded, yet seldom witnessed at scale with case study worthy results. Martech needs to simplify the life of its users and we’re starting to see this with creation and communication in the video content space.

Silent majority

It is likely no surprise that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. If you’ve ever looked up from your phone on public transport, you’ll see those around you deeply engaged in content on their devices. In a world impacted by COVID-19, where more people are working, learning and socialising from home, the need for content with sound off is more important than ever. Another alarming figure is the 466 million people globally who are hard of hearing. That’s more people than currently live in the US and Mexico combined, or, in other words: one in 20 people around the world.

With such a large audience viewing without sound or unable to listen, many individuals and brands are missing the opportunity to maximise the reach and engagement of their content, and simply put, not making content accessible for all. And that’s before we even talk about those who speak another language.

Creators value their audience and time spent with their content, the popularity of closed captions and subtitles is growing as they are proving to keep viewers engaged for longer. In fact videos with subtitles are 80 percent more likely to be watched in full.

Locked down and switched on

Since half of the world went into lockdown, online viewing figures have ballooned. Netflix doubled its expected subscribers for Q1. And the streaming platform is not alone, YouTube confirmed that one day in March was up 500 percent compared to usual figures. At Subly we’ve seen our user base more than double since the start of lockdown in Europe, with more individuals, creators and enterprises wanting to stay connected and reach audiences from a distance.

Streaming sites traffic

Making it clear

With three quarters of all video globally viewed on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that marketers are always searching for new tools to enhance the clarity of their messages.

It’s not just brands either, we’ve seen health services, including one NHS Trust in the UK using Subly for transcription to help amplify their best practice advice videos during the pandemic. Subtitling is also helping teachers and lecturers to keep vital connections whilst distance learning and training continues.

With the ease and speed at which subtitles can now be added to videos, as a result of technology advancements and simple platforms, enterprises globally are climbing onboard in the race to ensure video content and ads are accessible and engaging.

Peux-tu répéter cela? (Can you repeat that?)

For years, brands have been looking for easier ways to scale and repeat what they already do. Video is no exception. Automation options for video have been thin on the ground, the investment in time and cost has been high, but this is changing.

Also changing are the habits and behaviours during lockdown – next to follow will be consumers’ expectations. The world we emerge from won’t be the one we left in many ways, simply repeating our actions will not be the solution.

The ability to automatically transcribe and translate content for companies, agencies and creators who need to maximise the reach of their communications to global audiences is more important than ever.

With digital content having very few geographical boundaries but enterprises operating more internationally than ever, translation will take content accessibility to the next level. Traditionally, unless individuals are multilingual or enterprises have native speakers within the team, it’s often been expensive and too time consuming to translate content. Taking a piece of content and localising it for every market, every customer and every employee is now what’s expected.

Holly Stephens is CEO and founder of Subly.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash.



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