5 Companies Making the Most of Social Video

Updated: April 10, 2020

More than ever before, video is becoming the preferred medium for marketers to reach customers, and for customers to engage with the brands they love.

64% of consumers made a purchase decision after watching a marketing video on Facebook, animoto.

Through video, brands can tell stories, develop personas, demonstrate a product, and connect with customers at a more personal level. Customers in return feel connected, entertained, and informed.

The power of video is proving to be a force over other advertising efforts. Video is a form of entertainment, and the emotions and feelings they evoke could explain why
64% of consumers made a purchase decision after watching a marketing video on Facebook, according to a survey by Animoto.

Facebook is rapidly becoming one of the preferred mediums for disseminating and consuming social video, and it’s most likely due to Facebook’s ability to understand their users and use this insight to adjust the user experience.

Reintroducing the silent game

Back in early 2016, Facebook decided to turn off the sound on social videos. Through an internal study, Facebook uncovered 80% of users had negative reactions to ads that played with the sound on.

From a cultural perspective this makes sense. Most people are browsing social media on their phones while at work, on-the-go, or in public places. When a video suddenly plays with the sound, it disrupts their momentum.

Digiday conducted a survey shortly after Facebook announced the change and found 85% of videos were being watched with the sound off.

How can I engage without sound?

Facebook’s silent video has been a game changer for the way marketers communicate with their customers. But of course, turning the sound off can be a challenge for many marketers, especially when they must capture their audience within the first 3 seconds.

 People who watched under 3 seconds of a video made up 47% of total campaign value. In other words, length doesn't matter, content and engagement do. videos with views under 10 seconds can build awareness and drive purchase intent.

In the realm of social video, particularly on Facebook, what marketers face is the challenge of standing out from the clutter while instantaneously capturing users through silent video.

So how does one do this?

Traditional Facebook video…

…relied heavily on sounds and imagery. But then mobile came and completely transformed the way people consumed social media. Now social media is consumed on-the-go, at all hours of the day.

So Facebook went silent after realizing people preferred to watch videos with the sound off because they were watching at work, or in the gym, or in places where they didn’t have headphones or couldn’t play the audio.

Now the secret sauce to killer social videos on Facebook is: on-screen text

While stunning imagery and sounds can bring views, captions can increase engagement.

Through an internal test, Facebook saw that adding captions increased view time by 12%. When the sound is off, captions communicate to the viewer the content of your video and help them focus because they have to stop and read.

Furthermore, since we are creatures who learn dynamically, having captions to read, while watching a video, helps with information retention and clarity.

Plus, don’t forget your international audience

Facebook has over 1.94 billion users worldwide, meaning people from all over the world are interacting with your content. Having captions, can help those who aren’t fluent in the native language of the media comprehend your video better.

The 5 rockstars in silent social video

So now with all this wisdom, here are five companies that have come to embrace the silent video and seen great returns in engaging their customers.


The majority of marketers use content they already have to create videos, sort of like repurposing a transcript into an infographic or blog. Vogue, is one such master that uses their assets to create short engaging videos on Facebook.

For example, Vogue took a 48 seconds clip of a longer video with Ashley Graham to create this short interview snippet.

[One benefit to repurposing videos is that it can be used as a call to action to make the user want to search and watch the longer video.]


Ashley Graham Answers 73 Questions

73 things you didn’t know about Ashley Graham: http://vogue.cm/86u8pFe

Posted by Vogue on Monday, March 27, 2017

In this clip, Vogue played with the color of the captions to help users distinguish the interviewer and the interviewee. This creative addition makes the video even more engaging, memorable, and eye catching.

Vogue captions almost all their social videos. Most of the time they are embed it into the video, but in other cases, they give the user the option to turn the captions on or off. Vogue’s dedication to captioning clearly demonstrates that Vogue has found value in captioning their videos.

Pero Like

Pero Like is a subchannel under Buzzfeed targeting latinos. They make a range of videos, but their #GrowingUpLatino series uses captioning in creative ways that help engage an audience beyond just Spanish-speaking individuals.



Signs You Grew Up With A Latina Mom

Posted by Pero Like on Sunday, April 17, 2016

While the audio of the video is in Spanish, English subtitles are embedded into the videos, so that anyone who doesn’t speak Spanish can also enjoy the video, or practice their Spanish!

Que genial!

Now This

Now This provides a new and entertaining way to stay up-to-date on the news. The majority of their content is short, engaging videos that summarize the story through imagery and captioning.


Drake and Will Ferrell Came Up with New NBA Handshakes

Drake and Will Ferrell came up with some baller NBA handshakes

Posted by NowThis Entertainment on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

They love mixing on-screen text to narrate the story and captioning for whenever someone speaks. Like other masters in social video, they also play around with the caption size, color, and font to make the video even more engaging and eye catching.


Through silent video and intriguing imagery, PopSugar has managed to capture audiences attention beyond the famous 3 seconds. At the heart of their video strategy is content that is eye-catching and tweaked so that it can be viewed silently.

The result has been a 35 to 50 percent increase in views of at least 30 seconds, according to David Grant, PopSugar Studios president.

PopSugar uses creative and dynamic on-screen text that narrates the story and compliments the imagery. They say around 50 to 80 percent of their videos are watched in silence.


This 9-Year-Old Girl Creates Beautiful Care Packages For Homel…

You’re never too young to make a difference!

Posted by PopSugar on Wednesday, May 3, 2017

PopSugar has truly recognized the benefit of captioning and they continue to play with on-screen text on all their new videos.

Burger King

Burger King has steadily been increasing their social video content, but one notable and creative campaign worth mentioning was their 2016 #WhopperSign campaign to celebrate ASL day. The video asks fans to help come up with a sign for the Whopper.



Speak ASL? We need your help coming up with a sign for the WHOPPER. Share your ideas by 4/15. #WHOPPERsign

Posted by Burger King on Wednesday, April 13, 2016

There is no audio on the video, and instead is completely signed in ASL by the Burger King. And for those who don’t understand ASL, they embedded captions.

Captioning as a commodity

The use of captioning in video is bringing a creative twist to silent video. While we only highlighted five companies, many others are recognizing the value of creative imagery and on-screen text.

Think of captioning as a commodity for your viewers. It helps them engage and focus on your content better, while giving them flexibility with how they consume it.

Today’s culture is focused on customizing experiences to the individual and creating more options, why not provide that same experience in your content?

So how do I start captioning?

There are many tools for captioning Facebook videos. Facebook themselves gives users the option to use automatic captions. Of course, use them at your own risk, as automatic captions tend to be inaccurate and could hurt engagement.

You can also create your own captions by using this free guide. But this can be time consuming, especially if you are creating a lot of social videos.

Another option is to hire a professional closed captioning company. The best closed captioning companies use human editors to clean up the script and ensure it’s perfect, saving you from embarrassing typos or grammar errors that can happen with automatic captions.

At 3Play Media we’ve recently released a Facebook integration to ease the captioning process. All you have to do is link your 3Play Media account with your Facebook account, and then click the videos you want to caption.

Using our integration will ensure you never post an un-captioned video again!

click to get started with our facebook integration

3play media logo in blue

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