How to increase video views with captions

Have you noticed that your Facebook news feed is inundated with videos splashed with text “narrating” what you’re watching? With audio being optional on Facebook videos, and a view being counted at 3 seconds, publishers are doing what they can to keep you hooked. It’s working. Digiday recently published that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. And Discovery Digital Networks tested captioning 125 videos and found an increase of 13.48% during the first 14 days after adding captions.

Many publishers bake the titles right into the video during editing, as seen in this example from Mic:

In honor of #NationalDonutDay, here are some of the wackiest donuts around!

A video posted by Mic (@mic) on

But you can get text on video using a simple template, even after the video is done and published. It may not be as pretty, but it will do the trick.

Use a subtitle file to add captions to your video

You can add captions to videos on most sites, including Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo, by uploading a SubRip (.srt) file with your video. If you’ve already uploaded the video, you can still add captions by uploading a subtitles file. A simple and widely accepted subtitle file is a SubRip (.srt) file.

Download a SubRip (.srt) subtitle file template. (If you can’t open it, try TextEdit or Notepad.)

SubRip files contain formatted lines of plain text in groups separated by a blank line. Subtitles are numbered sequentially, starting at 1. The timecode format used is hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds.

1
00:03:50,671 - -> 00:03:51,734
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

2
00:03:53,858 - -> 00:03:55,105
Proin tellus lectus, tristique eget cursus sit amet, porta et lectus.

3
00:03:55,798 - -> 00:03:56,887
Proin egestas tristique erat. Donec metus nibh, mollis sed placerat ac, ultricies ut purus.

How to create a subtitle file to upload captions

  1. Starting with #1, indicate the time the subtitle should appear on screen, followed by - -> then the time it should disappear.
  2. Enter the subtitle text that you would like to display. Use a hard return to break lines.
  3. Indicate the end of a subtitle by leaving a blank line after it.
  4. Repeat for each subtitle to the end of the video.

How to add captions to videos on Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube

Facebook

Vimeo

YouTube

Or use YouTube’s subtitle tool: