Watching videos online with the audio muted is a pretty well-established trend at this point. Interestingly enough, content popularity does not seem to hinge on the presence of sound. In fact, there’s a lot of data that supports the benefit of silent clips in digital marketing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at this intriguing consumer behavior. We’ll also dig into how you might be able to leverage silent video in your marketing strategy. Let’s get started!
Understanding Mutable Marketing Videos and Their Benefits
If you’ve ever been in a quiet, public space and decided to occupy yourself by scrolling through your social media feed, you might know firsthand the embarrassment of an unexpectedly loud video cutting the silence. Consequently, several popular browsers have actually enabled automatic muting.
Data regarding video marketing indicates that viewers frequently choose to silence online videos on their own as well. Verizon and Publicis Media conducted a study that revealed 92 percent of mobile users turn media sound off. In fact, consumers also respond more positively when branded content was muted by default.
The reasons participants gave for muting content varied but there was agreement that they were more likely to watch videos with captions. We’ll dig further into this later. Suffice it to say, they also noted that subtitles improved their ad recall.
Let’s take a look at an example. The Dodo is a website that produces “emotionally and visually compelling” videos. Its content strives to promote more awareness of animal welfare issues:
Typically, the formula is the same for each video. The text introduces a scene and on-screen graphics indicate sound (like a bark). If there is no written narration, viewers see captions of what the people depicted are saying.
The formula seems to be working, too. The Dodo is prolific on Facebook and has over 25 million followers. In the month of January alone, its page had 1.3 billion visitors.
Based on the statistics, it’s likely the majority of videos shared by The Dodo are watched in silence. The brand presents a prime model for how to get the most out of viewers’ time by making audio a bonus but not a necessity.
How to Create Mutable Marketing Videos (3 Key Tips)
There are a number of ways to leverage silent videos in your marketing strategy. Whether you have cute animals to include or not, you can still create shareable content that supports your business goals.
1. Aim to Keep Your Content Short to Hold Viewers’ Attention
In general, content marketing videos shouldn’t be very long. There’s data that shows around two minutes is ideal for most audiences. However, there are exceptions to that rule depending on what platform you’re posting on.
For example, BuzzFeed’s hyperlapse video darling, Tasty, has the short, silent video mastered:
Tasty’s cooking videos on Instagram are no more than a minute (per the platform’s restrictions) but are wildly popular. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to make delicious treats in less than 60 seconds without disrupting the people around them?
While short might be sweet, there is some debate over whether or not our attention spans have actually shrunk over time. Regardless of the science behind that, there is data to back up the power of brief, to-the-point videos that tell compelling stories—even without any sound.
Additionally, when producing short, silent videos for marketing purposes, the first couple of seconds are the most important for stating your purpose and hooking your viewers. As with most techniques, balance is also a key component here as you don’t want to overwhelm them, either.
2. Provide Useful Information to Keep Viewers Invested
Another aspect to consider is that viewers are often searching for the answer to a problem. How-to and explainer videos are both examples of how you can create popular content without sound.
In fact, you don’t even have to have live actors to make a splash. Animated explainer videos can be quite successful as well. For example, Mint demonstrates their services with just graphics and text on the screen:
The video does a nice job of quickly explaining how the main features of Mint’s app work. There are quite a few programs that offer animation creation services and could help you launch a similar campaign.
Since the vast majority of web users access the internet via their smartphones, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when creating useful content. Essentially, you can assume they might be in locations where it’s not feasible to play the sound on a video.
You can still convey the most important points using animated text or captions instead. It’s also wise to ensure your visuals provide very clear directives.
3. Invest in Captioning Resources for Accessibility
Captioning your videos is a best practice for several reasons. First, it helps your business meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, it’s also been shown to garner a favorable response from all viewers.
In fact, one experiment found that videos on Facebook with captions outperformed those without in both click-through rates and cost-per-click. Another benefit to adding subtitles to your content is that it typically produces a transcript.
When you add transcripts alongside your videos, Google will have more text to crawl. This is a benefit to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and helps you beef up your keyword inclusion.
Additionally, video channels that consistently caption often gain loyalty with viewers. NowThis is one example:
If a viewer is looking for videos they can reliably watch and understand with the sound off, NowThis is a quality source. Not only does it have a massive volume of content, but you can also count on captions to convey meaning when audio isn’t an option.
A number of factors contribute to the popular trend of watching muted videos online. Whether your customers are always on the go or sneaking content during meetings, silent marketing has its benefits. This is particularly true when you incorporate captions.
Do you have any questions about creating mutable marketing videos? Leave them for us in the comments section below!