Getting the most out of your video content

June 1, 2009 BY JOSH MILLER
Updated: January 4, 2018

Not all content is created equal.  9 billion streams in April suggest that online video is pretty exciting.  When compared to traditional text content, video is more visually stimulating and can convey tone and emotion in ways that written words may struggle with.  But there is a lot of information in each video that can be lost without a text complement.

Okay, so maybe you don’t need a transcript of the latest Entourage episode to understand what is going on, but what if you were trying to learn something new on an instructional video?  Studies have shown that when students watch a video, they comprehend the general story better than without the video.  But students who also read a text version of the video retain more vocabulary and specific details than they would have otherwise.  Maybe it’s because reading the text forces you to read through every word, while it’s easy to zone out during a video, who knows?

In an ever evolving internet world, video transcripts can go beyond enhanced learning as well.  People’s attention spans are shorter and the ease of navigating to other content has never been higher.  Once a transcript is created, caption or subtitle files can be created for another value add.  A recent study even showed that the mere availability of subtitles could increase viewership by 40% and increase duration viewed by 38%.  Plus, international viewers can now follow at their own pace.  This sounds pretty interesting if you’re an internet marketer.  If you’re trying to teach something, this is great!

Going through a quick math exercise unveils some interesting facts about the video we both publish and consume online.  The average speed at which lessons or speeches are given is about 150 words per minute.  That means a very basic 5 minute tutorial posted on YouTube likely contains 750 words.  If we assume a typed page contains 300 words, then our short lesson is the equivalent of 2.5 written pages.  Stretch that out to an hour long lecture and we’re talking about a 30 page manuscript resulting from every single session.  No wonder we use 500 page textbooks in college!  Over the course of just a few online tutorials or training sessions, that’s a significant amount of written content that would be worth archiving for future use.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the SEO benefits of a full text version of a video (subtitles/captions included).  You can tag and title a video all you want, but search engines can’t decipher exactly what is happening within a video.  At an effective rate of half a page of text per video minute, there is quickly a large volume of fully indexable content meaning a transcript can quickly and cheaply solve your video SEO problem. Powerful stuff for only a few dollars.

Considering this blog post is 491 words, I suppose I could have dictated it in a little more than 3 minutes.  Since you’ve read it, you’ll probably remember more of what I said.

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.