The Sweet Sound of Silence

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Is it time to ditch your video voice overs and bring on the captions? The answer to that question is most likely yes, according to a recent Digiday report. 85% of Facebook’s 8 billion daily video views take place with the sound shut off; this is due in part to the fact that this media is consumed while the viewer is at work, school or another location where the sound wouldn’t be welcome.

It’s important to note that the lack of sound doesn’t seem to be diminishing video’s impact. Brand reach numbers, as well as the vital intent to purchase metric, both remain constant in the absence of sound. As a best practice, videos shouldn’t be too text heavy, either: the top performing pieces of video content have captions that average between four and six words. Remember that most videos are viewed on smartphones or mobile devices, which means they’re relatively small. Captions that are formatted in a larger font are easier to read and understand.

For best results, make sure that your video content be immediately identifiable with your brand. Strategic use of your logo and brand colors can help keep your company in the viewer’s mind; with that being said, be aware that the videos that get the highest engagement levels are entertaining, humorous, or informative. Keep your customers’ attention spans in mind as well: Facebook videos average a minute and a half, compared to the twelve minute epics to be found on YouTube.

Finally, there’s always an exception that proves the rule. While customers exhibit a strong preference for silent videos, if the content’s uniquely compelling, viewers will turn the sound on. An example of this is Friskies’ Dear Kitten series, where the older cat’s helpful advice to a younger companion isn’t echoed in the text. It’s a good strategy if you have exceptional content.

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