A white box outline with the words "Read our lips: Your Video Needs Captions" inside. All of the text is layered over a black persons face

At last! After months of hard work, that beautiful promotional video you made for your organization’s new fundraising campaign is finally ready to launch. On behalf of the entire LAI Video team, congratulations! We know that countless hours of production meetings, shoot days, revisions, and cups of coffee all went into this moment. With heavy eyelids, you hit the upload button and collapse in satisfaction as your masterpiece goes launching across your website, mailing list, social media, and strategic ad placements around the internet. Huzzah!

After several days, you awaken from your post-video hibernation and crack open Google Analytics to check how it’s performing, and it’s doing . . . okay.

Don’t get us wrong! Okay is still good! Web traffic is up, donations are up, you’re certainly seeing a return on your investment. But for something of this quality, sleekly edited with an important message, you were honestly hoping for just a little more impact. It’s the perfect video! How come people keep scrolling past?!

Well, does your video have captions?

“Captions? Like subtitles?? No, it doesn’t have captions, why would those make a difference?”

Yes, captions! And to understand why they’re so important, you’ll first need to understand your competition. So, let’s take a closer look at exactly what your video ran up against when you first hit that upload button.

This year alone, global digital video spending is estimated to top $171 billion – that’s nearly half a billion every day. In the time it’ll take you to reach the end of this sentence, organizations around the world will have spent another $50,000 on their digital video content. That's a LOT of videos! In fact, there's now more video content being uploaded online every month than has appeared on all of television in the last 30 years combined – and that number is expected to double by 2028. And what's all that competition done to audience attention spans?

Do us a favor and count to three:

One . . .
Two . . .
Three . . .

Not long at all, right? Only a small fraction of the runtime of the video you just made. But when it comes to grabbing your audience, those three seconds are everything! In fact, independent studies from both Nielsen and Meta clearly demonstrate that, if you can just get someone to stop and watch your video for three whole seconds, your campaign’s interactions and engagements will skyrocket! So much so, that Nielsen estimates those first three seconds of viewership account for a whopping 47% of the value of the entire video. Better make a good first impression! This is crucial when showcasing your products or services or maybe your event. Take a look at what we did with Amazon to recap their Black History Month Event. 


“Okay, so people get distracted, but what difference do captions make?” As it turns out, a big one! According to a study conducted by the research group Instapage, a video with captions will see a 16% higher average reach than an identical video without captions. And not only that, but the average number of shares and reactions will increase by 15% and 17% as well. But wait, there’s MORE! That beautiful promotional video of yours? By adding captions, you can expect to see a full 26% increase in those coveted call-to-action clicks which are the lifeblood of any fundraising campaign. I repeat, a 26% increase just by adding captions!

Not only do captions make us remember videos more clearly, but we remember them more often and with stronger brand associations as well. And don’t get us started on foreign languages! Need your campaign to stay within budget but also want to make inroads with Spanish speaking audiences? An option for translated captions is your perfect solution! And here’s the kicker, when you upload those captions as an SRT file, they become fully indexable for search engine optimization. That means automatically higher search result rankings, increased web traffic, and greater engagement with your audience whether they use the captions or not.

“That all sounds great!”, you might say, “But our campaign’s target audience is 18-35-year-olds, aren’t captions mainly a thing for the elderly and hard of hearing?”

Pop Quiz: What generation do YOU think is MOST likely to use captions?

Well, that’s an easy one, isn’t it? The Baby Boomers, of course! But believe it or not, that answer couldn’t be more wrong. According to a study reported on by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, Baby Boomers today are actually the least likely generation to use captions, with only 35% reporting frequent use. Compare that to Millennials, who are hitting the captions button 53% of the time, or Gen Z, the runaway leaders in this survey, who prefer to read along a full 70% of the time. That’s right, a 20-year-old college student is statistically twice as likely to use captions compared to their 75-year-old grandparents!

So what’s the cause of all this? In a word: smartphones. Long gone are the days when you had to sit down in front of a TV or desktop just to watch a video. With 4K LCD screens and unlimited data plans, smartphones today allow people to watch YouTube on the metro, scroll TikTok at the doctor’s office, or stream Netflix in the park. And all that screen time adds up! The average member of Gen Z watches an eyewatering 7 hours of video every single day, with much of that content being consumed in public spaces – spaces where distractions, loud noises, privacy, and basic politeness are all big factors. After all, no one wants their video to annoy the stranger sitting next to them anymore than they want what their watching to be eavesdropped on.

So how are people watching then? Well, according to a Verizon Media survey, nearly 70% of consumers report watching videos on their smartphone with the sound completely OFF! And that's a trend to which the tech world has caught on. From Facebook to Twitter, TikTok to Instagram, social media giants across the board have begun automatically muting ALL the media content that’s played on their platforms. And data shows that people overwhelmingly prefer to keep the sound off, with Meta reporting that, of the roughly 8 billion views received by videos on Facebook each day, 85% of them are never unmuted. Welcome to the age of silent scrolling! Take another look at this recap video, is it still just as effective if you watch it on mute?


That’s a lot of information we just threw at you! Let’s recap: There are TONS of videos being made today, and it’s now more difficult than ever to break through that noise. Everyone’s trying to find their audience, and captions are an effective asset towards that goal. It might seem overwhelming, but you’re in luck! After all, you’ve already accomplished the hardest, most important part of your whole campaign: making a really, really great video.  

You have already done that, right?

. . . right?

Well, that’s okay too! As it happens, we know a really great video agency with a wickedly talented group of folks who just might be able to help!  



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