Introducing a New Tool: Free ROI Calculator for Captioning YouTube Videos

February 23, 2015 BY LILY BOND
Updated: January 4, 2018

Enter a link to your YouTube video and click CalculateWe’re excited to announce a fun, free new tool! The ROI Calculator allows users to gauge how captioning can impact YouTube views and ROI by simply inputting a link to one of their YouTube videos and clicking Calculate.

While YouTube is one of the largest online video platforms, it is unique from an accessibility standpoint in that most of the content is not legally required to be captioned. While federal laws dictate captioning requirements for educational, governmental, and broadcast video (among other industries), user-generated video is currently unregulated when it comes to captioning. Because of this, the pressure to caption is not the same for YouTubers as it is for many other video creators. However, captioning on YouTube has recently become a trendy topic, with Deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter leading the charge (she has been featured recently on BBCNewswire, Upworthy, and Huffington Post discussing the importance of accessibility on YouTube). In response, Tyler Oakley captioned his entire channel and posted a great video about it.

It’s true that many YouTubers want to make their videos accessible to the whole community; however, cost is often a chief concern when it comes to captioning. Creators want to know that their investment will pay off. To help alleviate some of this risk, we have introduced a new tool that automatically calculates your estimated ROI and increase in views attributable to captioning. This tool is based on an extensive SEO study by Discovery Digital Networks, which found a 7.32% lifetime increase in views on captioned YouTube videos.

Using this documented increase in views as a metric for YouTube CPM earnings, we can calculate an estimated ROI (realizing, of course, that CPM earnings take into account more than views: however, captions are likely to increase other metrics like watch time, retention, and user engagement, as well). If you know your CPM, you can input that on the results page to recalculate a more accurate ROI!

How to Calculate Your ROI from Adding Captions to YouTube

First, find a video that you want to calculate. It can be one of your own, or one from your favorite YouTube channel! The most accurate calculation will come if you select a video that is fairly established and is about the average length of other videos on your channel. Just copy and paste the link and press Calculate:

Enter a link to your YouTube video and click Calculate

We’ll instantly propagate a chart that tells you how many views you would have if you had captioned your video, as well as your estimated ROI. We’ll also create a chart that shows the results for captioning your whole channel!

Michelle Phan's video and channel results from the ROI Calculator

Making Your Results as Accurate as Possible

You can make your results more accurate by inputting your known CPM earnings and your known average video duration (otherwise the results for your channel will pull an average video duration equivalent to the length of the single video you calculated). Also keep in mind that entering a link to an established YouTube video will give you a much more accurate calculation – try not to link to a brand new video!

Enter your average video duration and CPM Earnings to calculate a more accurate ROI

Other Reasons to Caption Your YouTube Videos

For large YouTube channels, the ROI of captioning is often impressive enough that there’s no real reason not to caption. However, if you calculate a negative ROI for your channel, it doesn’t mean that captioning is a bad idea. Apart from the fact that all of your deaf and hard of hearing fans will be thrilled to be able to watch your videos, there are a lot of other benefits to captioning:

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

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