With the surging popularity of modern social media platforms and the competition it breeds, videos have become the top form of content since the pandemic hit. Statistically, over 95% globally have increased the amount of time spent watching videos since 2020.
According to marketers, they’ve found that a vast majority of their audience retain information that’s shared in a video format as opposed to static visuals. Subsequently allowing brands and businesses to nurture relationships with their audience instead of coming across as a push for conversion.
At the same time, it’s important to note how over 60% of video content is consumed via smartphones or tablets, either while they’re on the go or in a public setting. So aside from streaming music or binging the latest series on an Over The Top platform, it’s understandable how many would make an active decision to view social media videos with sound off. With more returning to their offices and commuting to social gatherings as pandemic restrictions open up, this sound-off video trend will undoubtedly continue to grow.
Many videos these days are already accompanied by auto-generated closed captions via their native platforms. And while this does help encourage audiences to watch videos in their entirety, it does not mean such videos are fully optimised for a sound-off experience that its unique content requires. We’re here to show a few other ways that a brand can thoughtfully improve video viewing experiences on the go.
Tools and Platforms
The biggest takeaway when considering how to create a video that’s optimised for a sound-off audience is “Show, not tell”. Here are a variety of tools you can utilise to deliver your video message effectively:
Captions ensure that your video is accessible to all, whether they’re in a public space, in quiet environment or have a hearing disability, it allows your audience to read and understand your message. Captions also improve the overall experience and improves the average watch time of each of your videos.
Although they serve the same function, there are differences between captions variants. Closed captions and subtitles are both the text version of the spoken audio in a video. However, subtitles were more frequently used to translate a video’s language into an alternate language, closed captions are in the same language as the audio.
Closed captions are created to allow hearing impaired people to experience a video, so it’s common to find that they usually include background noises and speaker changes. Subtitles on the other hand, assume the viewer hears the audio fine hence doesn’t require obvious descriptions.
Typography offers your audience a different experience from closed captions. As an important design element, fonts and typography can inject different emotions and energy into your video. It allows you to pull key messages out and create emphasis on the point you’re making, by ensuring the text lingers or is bold enough to be impactful. Additionally, it lets your content build the brand through design elements to further establish your brand’s personality with your intended audience.
Motion graphics can range from animated graphic design to claymation. Whatever it’s treatment, motion graphics are easily understood by audiences as they’re short, simple and get to the point. Motion graphics are also a lot more cost-effective as opposed to live-action production, as it requires less cost for equipment and crew. It also requires less time to create, leaving time to revise and finalise your content to ensure that you’re spending your money to stretch the longevity of your content.
Motion graphics are also useful when you’re trying to explain something complex to your audience, it allows you to feature diagrams or effects to highlight your point. It also makes breaking condensed information down, allowing your audience to focus on the information or data you want them to see.
Now that you’re aware of the tools, here are a few examples of how some content platforms use them to optimise their content for a sound-off experience.
Try watching the videos on mute
The Dodo’s Facebook Page specialises in content that’s targeted at animal lovers and features videos of animal rescues and wholesome content. Majority of their content is built for sound-off with a focus on the activity within the video and closed captions to highlight key takeaways.
Tasty by Buzzfeed
Tasty by Buzzfeed is one of the most popular content platforms in the world. They owe their success to their easy to follow and visually impactful cooking tutorials. Their videos feature no voiceovers and have minimal captions except to provide measurements or name ingredients. Their top-down treatment has been replicated by various other creators and they’ve shown that you don’t need a lot of text to produce a helpful instructional video.
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Business Insider publishes content about business and industry news on social media. Their content utilises animation to keep their audience’s attention as well as bold typography to relay their message. As their content is slightly deeper and factual, they rely on this engaging typography in the absence of sound to drive their key points.
A financial plan for the whole year pic.twitter.com/QezLJLHarv
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) May 4, 2022
Vox publishes a range of educational content on their social platforms. A majority of their videos have voiceovers and consist of interviews with notable individuals. They use closed captions, animation, numerical data and typography to keep the audiences attention as well as relay sometimes statistical-heavy information.
Optimising your content for video-on-mute viewing will ensure that each and every one of your videos works harder for every dollar spent creating and promote it.
There are various ways you can optimise your content for audiences that consume videos with sound off and there aren’t any strict rules for the exact combination of tools to utilise. Depending on your brand and desired message, we believe it’s important to find the right balance of content executions from captions, typography and animation that’s tailored for the most effective engagement of your audience.
Related content: FYI: Creating Effective Content Driven Thought Leadership
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