Subtitles Increase Video Viewing By 40% – Research

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In addition to the fact that subtitles can assist with accessibility and discoverability, subtitles can also increase the amount of time that a user spends watching a video by almost 40 percent.  In fact, where subtitles appeared, 80 percent more people watched the entire video to its completion.  This is an important indicator for post-roll video advertising as well as for those videos that have a branding message or call to action at the end of the video.

This according to recent trials conducted by PLYmedia, a provider of closed-caption solutions; where they found that videos which contained subtitles and/or captions as overlays were watched 91 percent to completion compared with 66 percent to completion for videos without subtitles or captions. That is an increase in duration watched of 38%.

Subtitle Test ResultsVideos W/O SubtitlesVideos With Subtitles
% of video watched
(100% = watched completely)
% of viewers who watched complete video47%84%

As eMarketer points out,

“The use of videos for advertising online is unquestionably growing—except among B2B marketers. They face a huge hurdle. Most of their targets—businesspeople—don’t have audio turned on in the office. Talking heads or voiceovers that no one hears are not very effective.”

Thankfully, as one might expect, subtitles significantly impacted the viewership of videos that were played in ‘mute’ – expanding video viewing 20-fold.

“The results from the trial prove that subtitles and closed captioning have a substantial effect on online video viewing”, commented Yoni Silberberg, Co-founder and Director of Business Development. “We’ve proved the opportunity lost for online publishers not using subtitles – particularly for outreach to global audiences as publishers desire to attract a wider viewing audience and in particular, the lucrative non-English speaking market…”

More on Subtitles, Captions, and Annotations


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