Surveys have shown that more than 40% of all video content have inaudible sound. One might think this would be a wakeup call for companies to invest in more proficient microphones. But the truth is that even the content with incomprehensible audio can be successful. Why? Because the usage of captions, context and, more importantly; a shift in viewer behavior.
How audio can be disruptive.
A few years ago, many social media platforms added auto play to their feeds. Whether it was a post shared by a friend, an add or any other content, users no longer needed to actively start the videos to watch them (lowering the threshold for engagement in the process). Advancements tend to have their drawbacks though, and unless you were wearing headphones, suddenly everyone in the room could hear you scrolling through your feed.
Due to poor reception the feature was tweaked to instead be muted by default while the auto play function remained. Since then, the behavior of both viewers and content creators have changed. Simply having the option to turn the sound on and off simply wasn’t good enough, the video and its message had to be accessible without audio altogether.
The rise of the silent video.
Frankly, adding captions isn’t just a bonus anymore but a necessity as more than 8 out of 10 of viewers prefer watching videos muted. Removing that feature undoubtedly would affect engagement, as adding subtitles have been shown to increase view through of a video by 80%. And this is not even including the obvious jump in accessibility for everyone with hearing impairments.
While it is hard to go wrong with captions (especially with the help of Qbricks Speech to text – see the video above) it isn’t the only way to add value to a muted video. During recent years communication through gif:s and memes have exploded to the point that many messaging apps have started to incorporate gif libraries into their services. In essence, expressing yourself through animations that mirror your emotions has proven to be a both efficient and universal way of communicating, even with more subtle matters.
In a marketing context this can be utilized by adding preexisting gif:s to text based posts, or maybe creating your own animations with a concise message, whatever the case you elevate your content by incorporating muted video.
So what have we learned?
The bottom line of it all is that content creators need to understand the needs of the consumer. Smartphones and devices are today so commonplace that the way we use them ultimately sets the standard for what we consume. No one wants to be the person who suddenly starts blasting music on the subway or one who lets the entire office know what they’re watching. As mentioned earlier, by offering the choice of quiet consumption you greatly enhance the chances of view through, resulting in a higher chance of engagement, action, and satisfaction in the process.