Did you know that 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound? Yep, those mobile-loving Facebook users are reading the subtitles to your amazing videos more than listening, according to one study from 2016.

By not adding subtitles to your videos, you’re only giving a small percentage of your audience access to your content. So, here’s the DL on how to add subtitles to your Facebook videos.

What are subtitles?

Subtitles display the text of what a person in a video is saying at the bottom of the video. Closed Captions slightly different than subtitles, as they include the text of what people are saying, but also include sound cues of sounds in which the environment (for example ‘motorcycle starts up’) which are important to convey additional context with might be needed to completely convey your message.

How are they made?

Sometimes, closed captions are edited into the video file so they are always visible, but other times they a separate file (known as a .srt file) so they can be switched on or off based on what a video watcher would like.
In the past, it used to be a pretty complex process using software and humans transcribe your content, but with advances in technology in the last few years, Facebook and YouTube can autogenerate a pretty bang-on set of subtitles without too much editing from a human afterwards.

Why is it important to add subtitles?

On top of the majority of Facebook users watching videos without sound, there are plenty of other reasons to make add subtitles as default for all your videos, Why?
According to this blog post, there are plenty of other uses for closed captions:

  • It’s inclusive and gives people with hearing impairments access to your content.
  • Not everyone absorbs everything they listen to – seeing text can help people absorb your message more completely.
  • You can translate your message to other languages by transcribing into other languages.
  • If you’re using YouTube, adding captions gives you a little SEO boost.
  • Recycle that content – having a transcript means you can more easily repurpose the video content into other mediums like a blog or infographic. Nice!

Related: How To Create Engaging Videos For Social Media (For Free!)

So.. how do we add subtitles to Facebook Videos?

When we’re adding subtitles to Facebook Videos, you might be posting a regular video post, or you might be posting an ad. Let’s look at how to include them in both…

Adding Closed Captions To New Page Posts

Ensure you are signed into Business Manager on your Facebook Page.
Upload your video

Select Closed Captions from the sidebar

Select the format –  you can autogenerate them, you can upload an existing .srt file (if you’ve used a transcription service, this would be what they provide), or you can write them by hand.
Having Facebook autogenerate the captions is surprisingly effective and you can edit them to any words which have been mistranslated.

Done! Your video will now post with Closed Captions.

Adding Closed Captions To New Page Posts

If you’ve already posted the video, you can find the original post, right-click on the drop-down menu on the post and Edit the post. This will present you with the menu to add Closed Captions.
Note: This seems to only work if it’s a Page Post which has never been boosted. If you’ve used it in an ad buy, you can’t edit it (apparently!).

From there, you will be given access to the same menu as the previous example, where you can select to add Closed Captions from the right sidebar.
And that’s it!
PRO TIP: If you’ve created a Facebook Live video, after it’s posted, you can go back in an add closed captions so that people who view the video later will have access to the captions.

Related: The Must-Have Checklist for Your First Facebook Live

Adding Closed Captions To Ads

If you have uploaded the video and used it for an Ad Buy in Ads Manager, you can also edit the videos there.
Simply navigate to your Ad creative level in Ads Manager and edit the ad design. There is an option there to add closed captions under the Thumbnail & Captions Button.

You will have the same options for uploading, autogenerating or writing by hand. You can then proofread it for accuracy, or, I discovered, get Facebook to do that for you.

Ready to add closed captions to your next video? Get in on it!

Related: How To Create A Facebook Video Cover For Free In Ten Minutes

Want to work with Rachel?

Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.

She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.

She is based in Sydney, Australia.

Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.