Instagram Introduces Closed Captions for IGTV

September 30, 2020 BY JACLYN LEDUC
Updated: March 16, 2021

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On September 15, 2020, Facebook announced a new feature for Instagram: closed captions for IGTV videos powered by AI.

Yes – you heard that right! IGTV, Instagram’s platform for user-generated on-demand videos, now offers auto-captioning capabilities in 16 languages with plans to expand offerings in the future.

The introduction of closed captions for IGTV is part of a larger initiative by Facebook to improve its accessibility options.


Beginner’s Guide to Accessible Social Media Videos

How to Add Closed Captions for IGTV

Adding auto-captions to your IGTV content is simple. Closed captions for IGTV can be enabled in SettingsAuto-Generated Captions.

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Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go to Instagram settings and tap “Account”
  2. Tap “Captions” and switch on “auto-generated captions”
  3. Turn on auto-captioning in your IGTV settings, too
  4. Upload your IGTV video as normal
  5. Before publishing, tap on “Advanced Settings”
  6. Turn on “Auto-Generated Captions”
  7. Tap “Done,” and voilà!

After publishing, be sure to test out the captions. They will appear as white text against a black band along the bottom of the screen as your video plays.

How IGTV Auto-Captions Work

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Automatic closed captions, or auto-captions, are generated by automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, which automatically creates captions for audio and video files. The quality of auto-captions vary across the board and can range from 50-90% accurate.

Due to being powered by ASR, the accuracy of closed captions for IGTV will differ from user to user. However, according to a Facebook spokesperson, “as more people use the captions, the [artificial intelligence] will learn and we expect the quality to continue to improve.”

Captions help open up your content to a broader audience, but not if they are riddled with errors. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, captioning errors create a challenging viewing experience. Reducing errors in closed captions is vital, not only for engagement purposes but for equal access.

Due to inherent accuracy challenges, automatic captions are not a perfect solution, but they are a step in the right direction for accessibility.

How to Reduce Caption Errors

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To help provide the most accurate closed captions for IGTV videos, aim to follow these best practices:

  • Use a microphone or stay close to the mic on your device
  • Reduce background noise as much as you can
  • Ensure only one person speaks at a time
  • Speak clearly and enunciate each word

If you stick to these practices, it will not only improve auto-caption quality, but it will also enhance the user experience for all viewers.

The Importance of Closed Captions for IGTV Videos

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

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Why is accessibility important for social media? It all circles back to equal access.

Captions provide greater access to over 466 million people worldwide who have a form of disabling hearing loss. Without captions, it would be difficult or impossible for them to watch videos.

Not only that – captions also serve viewers who prefer to watch videos without sound, improve brand recall, and enhance the viewer experience for all.

The fact is, people with and without disabilities benefit from accessibility. You never know who will consume your content or how they will consume it. Adding closed captions to IGTV is a pivotal step towards providing everyone with equal access to your content.

We create a free ebook to help you create accessible videos for social media. It serves as a resource to empower you to share content that is more accessible and more engaging.


The Ultimate Guide to Accessible Social Media Videos ebook download

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