Late Night. You scroll through your Instagram feed whenever an interesting video appears.
Maybe your lover is in a deep sleep next to you. Maybe your dorm roommate is snoring across the room. Either way, you don’t want to bother them.
You have two options:
- Get up and try to find your headphones in the dark
- Watch the video on mute and I hope it’s still good
Let’s be honest: You’re not getting up. Fortunately, if it’s good, you’ll be able to watch it without any issues. silent video
Silent videos: what they are and why brands should care
No one likes when a video starts shouting loudly while browsing Facebook or Instagram. In fact, many users have probably muted the audio autoplay in their videos.
With silent autoplay as default, 85% of videos were watched with sound off. This means that if your video is silent and optimized for silent viewing, your audience will likely watch your video longer.
Users have the option to turn off autoplay sound for all videos from Facebook settings. And while publications far beyond the social media realm – think The Telegraph, Time magazine, or even Cosmopolitan – are posting articles on how to turn off the autoplay sound, you can bet a lot of people will choose to browse News Feed silently.
For the record, go to Settings and toggle if you want your own Facebook feed to be muted. Videos in News Feed Starts with Sound to close. Or put your phone on silent mode. Anyone whose phone is set to silent also sees silent video clips by default.
On Instagram, it’s as easy as tapping the noise-causing video and muting it. Alternatively, you can also put your phone in silent mode.
Facebook’s own data highlights why you might not want to overdo it in the audio department: 80% of people will have a really negative reaction to a mobile ad that is loud when they don’t expect it, and the last thing you want is to spend money on the ad to make people think less about your brand. .
Creating videos that work with or without sound gives users a choice in how they interact with your videos, so your message can tell a lot to anyone who sees it, whether they actually hear it or not.
7 tips for creating watchable silent videos for social media
Below are our 7 best tips for creating silent videos for social media that your audience will love to watch (quietly).
Tip 1: Add subtitles
This should really be the default for any video you make for social media. Why? Simple: Accessibility.
Many of your listeners may be hard of hearing or deaf. If you don’t add captions or captions to your videos, this will ultimately hinder their experience with your video (and your brand).
Therefore, whether you add captions or captions to your videos, you will be looking for that part of your audience that is often overlooked. Not only that, but adding captions can really improve your overall viewing. In fact, Facebook’s own internal testing showed that captioned video ads are watched on average 12% longer than ads without captions.
Want to add free subtitles to your videos? Of course. There are many online tools to help you do just that, including Moyens I/O. Moyens I/O allows you to upload subtitle files as well as your social videos in Compose so you can stream videos with subtitles.
Facebook and YouTube also offer automatic captioning options, while Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat require captions to be pre-written or encoded.
Tip 2: Don’t rely on music for meaning
While commercials with music can certainly add a nice dramatic layer to your video, be careful not to rely too heavily on them for a conclusion. Your video should be able to stand on its own without sound.
Remember: silence. This means you will rely on images for most of the meaning in your video.
Which brings us…
Tip #3: Show, don’t tell
“Show, don’t tell” is an often repeated rule of storytelling. It refers to the idea that viewers respond better when you give them scenes with strong visuals that convey information, rather than directly telling them what’s going on.
The same goes for your videos. In fact, you should challenge yourself to create videos where the entire message can be conveyed purely through images – without audio or subtitles. Not only will this make it silent video friendly, but it will also make it more memorable.
It’s not just an assumption – there is real science behind the idea that people remember pictures better than words.
A great example of this type of video actually comes from Thai insurance company Thai Life, which released a video series in 2014 that, without a word, will bring you to tears.
Tip #4: Use sound deliberately
While it’s great practice to optimize for silence, your video’s a little sound that will satisfy the listeners.
If there’s no soundtrack, your video may be lost, or worse, causing viewers to think there’s something wrong with their speakers. This creates a frustrating user experience that can distract your viewers from your videos.
For those who really want to hear what your video is about, add some music or fun sound effects to accentuate your message. you just don’t want overconfidence about music and sound effects (see tip 2).
A great example of deliberately used sound comes from Huggies. “Hug the Mess” campaigns included a video showing problems kids can deal with and how they can help clear up.
No dialogue and no subtitles required. The only sounds included are the sounds of animated arts and crafts projects reacting to the shuffle. This makes it engaging enough for anyone watching with the sound turned up to be entertained.
Tip #5: Remember the 3 second rule
A good rule of thumb is that you have about 3 seconds to engage your audience. After that, they’re either watching your video or have already forgotten about it while scrolling through their feed.
This also fits the time it takes for a view to count as a video for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
How do you take advantage of the 3 second rule? Give your audience an eye-catching video or image right away. Think of it as a promise to your reader that the rest of the video will be worth watching.
A great video series that does this well comes from Buzzfeed’s Tasty. The short video recipes they share are very popular. The main Tasty Facebook page alone has over 84 million likes.
Recipe videos always feature a great visual that promises viewers that they will eventually learn how to make a delicious treat.
Tip 6: Plan ahead
It’s easy to think that you can shoot your video in an instant. However, special planning is required for your video to run silently.
Think about exactly what story you want to tell and distill your main message down to its most visual elements.
If you must use language to convey your purpose, consider how best to do so in a silent video. Will you use subtitles? Short snippets of text on the screen? Be sure to allow visual space in your shots so you can include this text without competing with your visual images.
Tip 7: Use the right tools
If your video contains speech, there are several tools to help you create captions.
Facebook’s automatic captioning tool is a great option for your Facebook videos. YouTube’s automatic captioning service provides the text for your YouTube videos. Both of these tools automatically create a set of captions that appear superimposed over your video. You can edit and preview them to make sure they are correct.
Other popular apps designed to add text to videos include:
- Moyens I/O: Add captions to your social videos or ads by uploading an .srt file during the publishing process.
- Vont: Choose from over 400 fonts and make custom adjustments to text size, color, angle, spacing and more. Available in English, Chinese and Japanese.
- Price: Free
- Gravie: Add text, overlay graphics and thumbnails to your videos to convey more than words alone can say.
- Price: $1.99
- Text in Video Square: Choose from over 100 fonts and make custom adjustments to font size, alignment and spacing.
- Price: Free
Check out the eight apps and desktop programs listed in our Social Video Toolkit for more free and inexpensive tools that can help you add text to your video or simply create videos that are visually compelling enough to make an impact without sound.
Easily upload, schedule, optimize and promote your silent videos across multiple social networks from a single dashboard. Try Moyens I/O for free today.