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Advertisers are increasing their video budgets this year, but are they missing out on one key element that could make a difference to audience engagement? A new survey from Verizon Media has found that 7 in 10 (69%) US consumers watch videos without sound in public spaces, making captioning not only important but expected by viewers.

The vast majority of people who use captions are not hearing impaired. Half of the more than 5,600 US consumers surveyed report that captions are important because they usually watch videos with the sound off. Perhaps, more importantly, the majority (80%) of respondents said they are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

So, what types of content do consumers most expect to be captioned? Tips/advice (55%), food (53%) and news (53%) were the content types with the highest percentage of respondents wanting captioning. Movies/TV (49%) and entertainment (45%) also had higher captioning expectations among respondents. Fashion was lower on the list, with only 35% of respondents expecting those videos to be captioned.

What Does This Mean to Advertisers?

Figures from IAB and PwC indicate that mobile video ad spend grew by about 63% year-over-year in 2018. With mobile video ads growing, advertisers should keep in mind a counterintuitive finding from Verizon’s study – that more than one-third (37%) of respondents say that captioning actually encourages them to turn the sound on because it helps to create interest in the video. Also, 3 in 10 (29%) said that captioning enabled them to continue watching a video because it helped them understand it.

Captions also seem to have a positive effect on ad performance. Survey results show that respondents reported a lift in ad recall (8%), ad memory quality (10%) and brand linkage (13%). Also, respondents showed a 20% lift in feeling that the ad will be something people talk about when captions were displayed.

To read more, find the survey results here.

About the Data: Report findings are from a survey 5,616 US consumers.

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