Saturday, October 19, 2013

Captions Improve Viewer Comprehension

A problem for all small business owners is getting their message out to current and prospective customers.  It is expensive, especially against larger competitors with bigger budgets.

This means that any small marketer has to look for every and any advantage they can find.

Such as adding or turning on captions in your video promotions, whether television ads, on-line or in-store videos.


New research shows that adding captions improves comprehension, not just a little, but dramatically.  And isn't that what you want your video communications to do?  Capture a prospect's attention and impart a message that the prospect remembers?

According to Robert Keith Collins, an assistant professor at SF State college, discovered that captions add to student comprehension and ability to remember during a two-year tracking study of the effect of adding captions to educational videos. 
"Not only were students talking about how much having the captions helped them as they took notes, their test scores went up," Collins said. "During the baseline year, there were a lot of Cs. In the second years, they went from Cs, Ds and Fs to As, Bs and Cs. It was really significant improvementThat improvement didn't just manifest itself in grades. Class discussions also became livelier and more detailed, with students recalling specific information shown in the videos such as names of people and places.  Turning on captions seems to enable students to focus on specific information."
Isn't this what you want from your precious advertising dollar?

Now, you can wait until someone shows the same results in a study of advertising captions, or, until a competitor beats you to the technique, or, you can act to see if it works with your promotions.

If you want, do a split test with captions embedded and activated in half your video communication, and half off to see which works to bring in more business.

I would just instruct your my production people to add captions and to heck with what it does to the "beauty" of the production.  You want to build business, not "pretty" ads and certainly not awards.
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Story Source:  Robert Keith Collins. Using Captions to Reduce Barriers to Native American Student Success.. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, October 2013

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