Online Video Subtitles Increase Video Viewing By 40% – Research

In addition to the fact that subtitles can assist with accessibility and discoverability, subtitles can also increase the amount of time that a user spends watching a video by almost 40 percent.  In fact, where subtitles appeared, 80 percent more people watched the entire video to its completion.  This is an important indicator for post-roll video advertising as well as for those videos that have a branding message or call to action at the end of the video.

This according to recent trials conducted by PLYmedia, a provider of closed-caption solutions; where they found that videos which contained subtitles and/or captions as overlays were watched 91 percent to completion compared with 66 percent to completion for videos without subtitles or captions. That is an increase in duration watched of 38%.

Subtitle Test ResultsVideos W/O SubtitlesVideos With Subtitles
% of video watched
(100% = watched completely)
% of viewers who watched complete video47%84%

As eMarketer points out,

"The use of videos for advertising online is unquestionably growing—except among B2B marketers. They face a huge hurdle. Most of their targets—businesspeople—don't have audio turned on in the office. Talking heads or voiceovers that no one hears are not very effective."

Thankfully, as one might expect, subtitles significantly impacted the viewership of videos that were played in 'mute' – expanding video viewing 20-fold.

"The results from the trial prove that subtitles and closed captioning have a substantial effect on online video viewing”, commented Yoni Silberberg, Co-founder and Director of Business Development. "We've proved the opportunity lost for online publishers not using subtitles – particularly for outreach to global audiences as publishers desire to attract a wider viewing audience and in particular, the lucrative non-English speaking market…”

More on Subtitles, Captions, and Annotations

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About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Xavier Casanova

    Call me Mr Skeptical but I am not too hot on research mandated by companies with a strong commercial interest in the results.

    That been said, I was intrigued when I saw this because I know personally that I pay a lot of attention to subtitles even when I don't need them.

    It'd be interesting to see how applicable this is to video commerce, since the clip length is always shorter. In this particular case I would predict subtitles are distracting and therefore detrimental, unless they sporadically highly concepts or words hard to understand.

  • online spelling bee

    In this particular case I would predict subtitles are distracting and therefore detrimental, unless they sporadically highly concepts or words hard to understand.

  • YuN

    can i know how this research conducted and who were the sampling???

  • subtitle

    no subtitle mean less viewer?

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