The late 1800s saw the emergence of motion pictures, albeit without sound. These films were short and conveyed the message with mimes, expressions and in some cases, text at the bottom of the screen.
A similar trend can be seen now in one of the most popular social media platforms – Facebook.
Facebook is a social networking site that offers a continuous feed of images, text, and videos that are published by individual users as well as by brands for promotion. Facebook has built a social media ecosystem that doesn’t require the user to turn up the volume to watch the video feeds, thus creating the concept of the silent Facebook video. The intent behind this is to make it easy for its users to engage with the video content that is being presented on Facebook in public places and other areas where audio might be inconvenient.
This requirement and preference for auto-play and non-verbal videos set by Facebook, has made the publishers and brands clamor to find new ways to convey their message, and capture the attention of their users without using sound. One of the ways this has been achieved is by using text overlays or captions on top of the videos, altogether eliminating the need for audio. Muted Facebook videos have subsequently gained significant popularity with social media users worldwide.
Brands and digital entrepreneurs are therefore clamoring to learn how to mute a video before uploading it to Facebook, one of the biggest social networking sites on earth. It is common knowledge that each of the leading social media platforms has its own specific content requirements. While Twitter has set the limitation of 140 characters for posts, for Facebook it is about mapping the algorithm with user interests and trends in mind.
Studies done by Facebook indicate that people prefer watching videos without sound. The reason being loud advertisements can be very distracting when one is browsing one’s news feed. Sometimes, the mobile video ads can play loudly when least expected. More than 80% of people do not favor such loud auto-play videos and prefer non-verbal videos instead.
In a study conducted by Nielsen for Facebook, it was found that 47 percent of the value of a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds and up to 74 percent in the first ten seconds. Moreover, brands also need to create videos that audiences prefer to watch but not listen to – they need to create videos that can capture people’s interest and hold their attention without the need for auditory stimulus. The need to remove audio from Facebook videos has therefore led to many types of innovative ideas being implemented by companies to attract viewers without the benefit of sound. To beat the flood of content, publishers need to attract the user’s attention in seconds, as they scroll through the feed.
So, if the users’ preference is to watch videos without sound, then how to enhance their experience and engage them after removing the audio from Facebook videos?
One solution is to use text overlays or captions. News publishers and brands are fast embracing this technique and are adding captions and quotes to their videos, thus diminishing the need for sound.
Research conducted by Facebook suggests that video ads with captions or text overlays increase the view time by almost 12 percent. The company is now adding a tool to allow its publishers to add video captions automatically. Advertisers now will be able to add, review, edit, and save the automated captions quite easily.
On the other hand, silent Facebook videos or non-verbal videos are very popular among brands because they can appeal to the imagination of their audience while tapping into the viewer’s curiosity – which all stimulates the user’s interest in the brand.
Rye Clifton, Director of Experience at GAD&M has said that while sound is still an option that advertisers can opt for on Facebook, it is definitely not a requirement. According to him, brands who can advertise in a compelling manner without sound will be ahead of those who are not yet thinking that way.
Nowadays, silent videos account for more than 75 percent of all traffic on Facebook. Non-verbal videos have become omnipresent across all the major social networking sites. Users are becoming increasingly media-savvy and expect more innovations and experimentations – text overlays, captions, and visuals that can capture their interest and attention in a jiffy.
These techniques will enable brands to convey their message, but when combined with masterful storytelling and exciting visuals, it can be taken to the next level, making the brand stand out from its competitors.