By Andrew Angus on January 11, 2011

Closed captions are the text messages that appear at the bottom of the screen when watching a commercial web video. Sometimes you’ll see a direct transcript of the speech, and sometimes you’ll see additional messages that describe other sounds (e.g., applause, laughter, sound effects).

In October 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 into law. This is a big step towards making the Internet more accessible for all, and requires that all devices that display videos be capable of also displaying closed captions – and this is great news for you!

Even though this new law only requires captions for web versions of video that were originally produced for commercial television, here are five important reasons for you to add closed captions to your commercial web video:

1. Accessibility for the hearing impaired – First and foremost, by captioning your commercial web video you are making sure not to exclude anyone from getting your message.

2. Acknowledgment of different learning styles and abilities – Some people simply prefer to read text, either while listening to the sound or instead of listening.

3. Meeting your viewer where they’re at – Some people will find your commercial web video during the workday when they can’t play audio, or when they’re in a noisy location and can’t hear properly.

4. Spreading your message across the globe – When you add text to your web video, you make it easier for someone to get your message in their own language. For example, on YouTube, viewers can ask Google to automatically translate captions into their own language.

5. Getting found in search results – One of our commercial partners was getting 11 views per day of their web video. When they added closed captions, that number went up almost 1000% to over 100 views per day. Note: Keywords in actual closed captions (embedded into the video itself) are not necessarily recognized by search engines. For optimal SEO results, you’ll need a separate transcript file that search engines can index.

When we create your commercial web video at Switch Marketing, we will fully optimize your video for YouTube – and that includes providing our clients with a transcript file of the video script and detailed instructions for adding your captions.

It’s just another way we help our clients leverage their web video for optimum results.

 

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