Adding Captions to YouTube Videos: Everything You Need To Know

Gaining organic growth on YouTube isn’t easy, but if you’re ready to put in some hard work, you can achieve tremendous results.

One way of doing it is by adding captions to YouTube videos as it helps optimize their performance, boost their reach, and win over the YouTube algorithm. 

What are Captions on YouTube?

Captions, or subtitles, provide a readable transcript for your YouTube video. Multiple caption files can be provided for a single video to feature various language or information options.

Also, captions are often auto-generated by YouTube, which gives an idea regarding the significance. Overall, subtitles or captions are simple concepts. But don’t underestimate their utility in delivering a solid YouTube video.

How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos? 

Once you’ve uploaded your video, you’re taken to a window where you can optimize the metadata while YouTube processes your video. Metadata is just a fancy term that simply refers to all the pieces of information that one can provide regarding a video on YouTube, like video title, description, captions, thumbnails, etc. 

Once you’re taken to this window, you can upload a transcript if you have one or link to a transcript commissioned by a third party. If you don’t want to add captions right away, you can leave this window and add captions later. 

YouTube will often auto-generated captions, but many times they are not accurate. But you can edit the generated captions for accuracy.

Here are more in-depth instructions on adding and editing captions. 

Captioning Service Providers 

Another option of adding captions to your YouTube videos is to get the job done by a third-party service provider. Some firms offer the services of captioning YouTube videos.

They typically charge per minute of each video captioned. There is a creeping cost of constantly adding captions through a third party, though it is a method that can save you tons of time and provide the best experience for your viewers.

Captions Ensure Best Viewer Experience on YouTube

Accurate subtitles and captions are essential building blocks to the overall performance of your YouTube channel. For a high organic growth of your YouTube channel, you must provide the best viewer experience for each video.

You’re off to a great start when a user clicks to watch your video. But ensuring that the viewer returns to your channel for more videos, the content must be thoroughly enjoyable, and the viewer must have had a seamless interaction.

Accessibility: There are plenty of reasons a person may prefer to watch a video with captions. For instance, 5% of the global population is hearing impaired and needs captions to consume your content.

Global reach: There are millions of potential viewers of your YouTube channel across the globe who speak different languages. They turn on captions to better understand your content.

For the on-the-go watchers: Also, a person could be watching your video while at work, the gym, or some other place where they can’t hear clearly or might have to play the video on mute. They may turn on captions to enjoy your video.

There are other nuanced reasons a person turns on captions. The demographics described above should mark the importance of accurate captions.

For certain people in specific contexts, the sound of your video might not be a priority. In some instances, it might even be completely undesirable, and reading accurate captions would prove essential to understand and enjoy your content. 

YouTube Captioning Best Practices:

While you must ensure that the captions you provide convey the information in your video accurately and efficiently, here are some tips on ensuring optimized captioning of your YouTube videos:       

Check for spellings and grammatical mistakes 

The objective is to avoid confusion via misspelled words or absent punctuation. You won’t need an APA manual, just a quick read-through for clarity.

Edit spacing & timing with the appearance of captions 

If a dialogue is too long, the caption box can look awkward or contain too much information to read quickly. A caption should accompany the video, not divert attention by making viewers read more than they watch. 

You would want to use your best judgment for balancing sentence length with the timing of the captions. In general, keep the boxes even, and the captions on the screen should match the words being spoken.

Look at these examples of the correct way of captioning with proper spacing and the wrong way of doing it:

Clarity and Branding

Stylize brand names appropriately in the captions. If the name is all uppercase, contains numbers, or some other stylization, don’t neglect that in the captions! This will help keep a consistent image of your brand in viewers’ minds.

Consider experimenting

Let’s say your video doesn’t contain any dialogue. You could still utilize captions to describe whatever is happening on screen or provide more information. You can also add multiple caption files, so your viewers have options of what text they see. These options could include multiple languages, commentary, credits, and more.

Overall, the guiding principle for YouTube captions is to provide as much supplemental information as the viewer could want without distracting them from the video.

Does Adding Captions to YouTube Videos Result in More Views?

Optimized captions alone will not make or break your video, but it is an essential building block. If a person watches your video and doesn’t turn on captions, they’ll never know if you optimized them or not. No harm done there.

But, if a person watches your video and needs captions to understand, suddenly accurate captions are a make-or-break feature for your channel, in their perspective.

In YouTube Analytics, you can see data on how many people watched your content with subtitles and what language is most used, along with plenty of other insights like watch time, engagement, and more. This information shows how viewers use captions with your content.

You will observe a significant improvement in the organic performance of your YouTube videos, such as an increase in the number of subscribers or increased watch times after optimizing captions, but don’t expect drastic results.

Meaningful growth on YouTube happens through crafting an enjoyable and memorable experience for your viewers. Accurate captions are a critical element of such an experience.

If you are a YouTube Creator, access VideoAmigo’s Creator Tools Suite to get free access to a host of tools built specifically to help you get the most out of the YouTube Creator Economy. If you are a Brand, contact [email protected] for optimizing the organic performance of your YouTube channel, increase your audience engagement and reach.