How to Get Buy-In for Captioning
Updated: January 24, 2019
The number one barrier to captioning is cost and budget.
Depending on the amount of video content you produce, your captioning bill can rack up quickly.
Suddenly, getting buy-in becomes a challenge.
Data shows that most of the people in an organization who are advocates for captioning aren’t always the decision makers. This too adds to the challenge.
Fortunately, getting buy-in for captioning isn’t an impossible challenge to overcome, especially when you begin building awareness within your company about the importance of video accessibility.
To get buy-in for captioning you’ll need to first build awareness, then show it’s a worthwhile investment. In addition, you can suggest a pilot project.
The most effective way to get buy-in for captioning is to build awareness. Many people throughout an organization aren’t aware of what accessibility is or what makes a piece of content accessible.
One of the most effective ways to begin building awareness is by talking to people. Try hosting introductory meetings about accessibility, or simply bring up accessibility/captioning at your team meetings.
You can get creative with how you spread the word, but the goal is to get people motivated, excited, and passionate about accessibility.
Take Netflix, for example. Netflix doesn’t have an accessibility team; instead, they have a bunch of people who are passionate about accessibility and work to make it happen within the company. To get buy-in, they took a bottom-up approach. They got buy-in at the passion level.
Another way you can build awareness is by making people experience how inaccessible something is. For example, get someone to try navigating your website using a screen reader, or view a video with the sound off and without captions. Making people experience it themselves helps demonstrate the value of why you should be investing in making your content accessible.
Education is a powerful tool. If more people at your organization realize the benefits and the importance of captioning, more people will ask for a budget to help execute it. Then naturally, the higher-ups will also realize the importance and begin including captioning in the budget.
Demonstate the ROI
While captions were created as an accommodation for the deaf and hard of hearing, the benefits of captions go beyond accessibility.
The key is to demonstrate to your decision makers how investing in captioning will reap many benefits in the long run.
Captions help with SEO, engagement, and brand value.
Let’s talk SEO
The downside of video content is that bots can’t read the content of your video; therefore, they can’t properly index your video.
Captions provide search engine bots with a text version of your video, allowing them to properly index and rank your video.
By adding captions to their videos, PLYMedia found a 40% increase in views for captioned videos.
When you are spending so much time and effort creating videos, it’s important that people are actually able to view this content. Captions will help your videos stand out among the clutter.
Let’s talk engagement
The Journal of Academy of Marketing Science found that captions improve brand recall, verbal memory, and behavioral intent.
Most of us make video because it’s way more engaging than reading a textbook or simply talking to someone.
But video also gives the user the power to decide if they want to listen to your message.
Adding captions helps increase the engagement of your video.
Facebook uncovered that 85% of their videos are watched without sound. As a result, they now autoplay videos without sound.
If your video lacks captions, more often than not, people are going to scroll past it.
With the advent of cellphones, people are consuming media all the time. Adding captions will make your video accessible always.
Let’s talk brand value
Oath is a conglomerate of communication companies including Yahoo! and AOL.
Oath’s brands produce an abundance of great content, particularly video content. When it came to video accessibility, there was no question of whether to caption or not.
Instead, they looked at their company’s values and culture. Oath values their commitment to inclusion. As a result, getting buy-in for captioning came from honoring that commitment, as well as realizing the ROI of captioning.
Oath realized that making their videos accessible was a step towards their greater business goal of investing in video and ensuring that as many people as possible are able to consume it.
Making video accessible is an investment that can reap great returns. When trying to get buy-in, demonstrating the ROI will help the people around you realize that it’s worth the cost.
Suggest doing a pilot project
Sometimes giving captioning a trial can help you get long-term buy-in for captioning.
Suggest setting up a pilot project with a defined beginning and a defined end. The goal of the pilot project is to measure the impact of captioning on your organization’s videos.
Make sure to monitor how people respond to your videos both online and at your company. Furthermore, look at their performance. Did you see an increase in views? Are your videos easier to find?
Once your pilot period is over, you’ll be able to present a stronger case to get buy-in for captioning.
Tips for Talking to Higher-Ups
The key to getting buy-in from higher-ups is to demonstrate your vision for captioning at your organization.
An effective proposal will:
- Start by communicating the benefits of captioning
- Share the repercussions of not captioning (including any accessibility laws that apply to your organization)
- Present a captioning strategy tailored to your organization’s structure, including any cost-saving ideas for captioning you can implement.
- Present captioning vendor options
Going in with a thorough strategy and an estimation of the budget will not only impress your boss, it will also help them visualize how captioning will fit into the overall budget.
And remember, when in doubt, at least suggest doing a pilot project.
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