Skip to content

Video ads - What are you saying?

Are your video ads being seen and not heard?

video ads

We have all been there. Sitting watching the telly, but really we’re on our phone. We might be browsing Facebook or playing a game, or maybe looking for that perfect set of curtains for the spare room… and we see an ad pop up. Nine times out of ten the video ad will auto play with the sound off. And maybe the video looks interesting, but you don’t want the sound on over the TV, or maybe you’re already listening to music, or a podcast. Maybe you have to watch the ad to get some sort of bonus for the game you’re playing. Whatever the reason, the sound is off. But there are no subtitles or captions, so that means you either have no idea what the message of the video was, or you have to turn on the sound and disturb what you were actually doing. How annoying.

Only 12% of people turn the sound on to watch video ads. Which means that 88% of people will miss your message if you don’t include some form of subtitle or caption to your video ad. Seems like a bit of a waste if you ask us.

That’s not even considering that in the UK there are 12 million people who are either deaf or hard of hearing, and 28 million in the US. These numbers are not insignificant, as we need to consider making our ads as inclusive as possible.

The addition of subtitles or captions is a relatively simple fix. In fact, Facebook has the option to add captions into your video for you. Not only will it make the ad more accessible, but a recent study by Lemonlight in 2020, also found that by adding captions, the view time was boosted by 12%. Veed also found, in a March 2020 study, that 37% of people said subtitles make a video more interesting. Which makes sense, as they give more information about the message you are trying to get across. From a brand awareness and consideration perspective, these are not numbers to dismiss.

If they are done well, they can fit seamlessly into your video. Take a look at an example by Amazon, where the text is clear, fits in with brand colours and guidelines, and is not intrusive to the video:

video ads

Want to see what not to do? Have a look at this:

video ads

About as clear as mud. If you’re going to be lazy about captions, then it’s better to not have them. Let’s keep them clear, relevant and reflecting what is actually being said.

So, what does that mean for us?

Ultimately, we need to take all of this into consideration, and make sure that we are including captions on all relevant video content. We understand that not all videos need them e.g. if you already have text in the video, or maybe you have no dialogue. But where relevant to the video content, we need to add captions.

It’s important to consider our audience in all of our marketing, making sure that we tailor it to be as inclusive as possible. For example, do you need to have translated captions? Do you need closed captions, or just subtitles? Consider that your ad is already interrupting the users’ experience of whatever platform they are in. If they are interested in your ad, put the captions on so that they don’t need to disrupt their music, game or social media experience. We don’t know where our audience are when they see the ad. Are they at work? Are they on a train? All of these factors should feed into your video strategy and outcomes.

The first three seconds of your video ad are the most important. They either capture the user’s attention, or the user scrolls past, looks away or skips the content. If we take into consideration that view time is boosted by 12% with captions, then making sure captions are right there at the start means that more of your content will be seen. Win-win right?

So next time your scroll is interrupted by a video ad, take a look, is the company getting it right? If you want to make sure your video ads are true scroll-stoppers, Fox Agency has the skills for you, why not get in touch?