The ROI of Transcription and Captioning: Interview with Tim Schmoyer

August 18, 2014 BY LILY BOND
Updated: June 3, 2019

At the ReelSummit conference in San Francisco in July, Lily Bond, the content marketing manager at 3Play Media, talked with Tim Schmoyer of ReelSEO about the ROI (Return on Investment) of transcription and captioning. Based on studies with Discovery Digital Networks and This American Life, we were able to measure the increase of views and engagement against CPM earnings to gauge when YouTube users will reach a positive ROI.

Transcripts and Closed Captions Increase Views, Engagement, and Search Traffic

In order to measure ROI, we first looked at the numbers from the studies with Discovery Digital Networks and This American Life to see how many views could be attributable to adding transcripts or closed captions. Comparing captioned videos against uncaptioned videos, Discovery Digital Networks found a 13.48% increase in views in the first 14 days of adding captions, as well as a lifetime increase in views of 7.32%. This American Life found similar improvements in user engagement (7.23% increase) and search traffic (6.68% increase).

How Closed Captions and Transcripts Impact ROI

We can measure the ROI of transcripts and captions by using the data supplied by Discovery Digital Networks. While the increases in user engagement and search traffic found by This American Life would also positively affect your ROI, it is easiest to gauge CPM earnings by measuring views.

To determine the ROI of adding transcripts to your channel, first figure out how many views you would gain from adding transcripts to your video. To do this, add a 7.32% increase to the number of views on your channel. For instance, a channel with 130 million views would gain about 10 million views from the 7.32% increase attributable to transcripts. Measure this increase against your CPM earnings to see how much money you would earn from adding captions. Using a range of $1-$10 CPM, the 10 million views would earn between $10,000 and $100,000. Next, figure out how much it would cost to caption your channel. Subtracting this cost from your earnings attributable to transcripts, you can find out your estimated ROI. Below is an estimate of the ROI for a channel with 130 million views that has about 3300 minutes of video.

How Closed Captions and Transcripts Impact ROI

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