Social Media

Why You Should Add Facebook Video Captions (And How To Do It)

Amy Onorato 04.03.2018

If you haven’t already, you may want to consider adding Facebook video captions.

According to Facebook’s Q4 2017 report, the company has 1.4 billion daily active users, and a whopping 2.3 billion monthly active users. Facebook also announced they’ll be focusing their efforts on creating “meaningful social interactions” through video experiences.

In 2016, Digiday reported that nearly 85 percent of all Facebook videos are viewed without sound. So if you’re looking to connect with your audience in a meaningful way, adding captions may be your best best. Adding translation options to your captioned videos can also help bridge the gap when marketing to wider, international audiences.

Facebook video captions can be a bit tough if you don’t understand the process. Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:

Adding Facebook Video Captions

The first thing you need to do is make sure your video settings allow for captions to show up when you play videos on Facebook. To check your settings, go to the “Video Settings” section. You can then customize how you view captions in your feed.

Facebook video caption settings

There are two primary ways to add Facebook video captions:

Automatically Adding Captions To A Facebook Video

Business pages have the ability to automatically add captions to their Facebook videos.

First, upload your video to your page. Once your video is uploaded, you’ll be able to enter video metadata. If you click on the “Captions” tab, there will be an option to “Generate” captions for your Facebook video.

Automatically Adding Facebook Captions

After you press the “Generate” button, a text editor will appear that will allow you to view Facebook’s recommended captions.

Review Facebook Video Captions

Remember, these are only recommended captions — so be sure you review them to make sure they’re correct. If you need to make any changes, simply click on the caption to the right of the video in the text editor. You’ll then be able to rewrite or fix any errors. You can also delete captions by clicking on the trash can icon, or “insert new” caption segments by clicking on the plus sign on the bottom of the preceding caption segment.

Once you’re happy with your edits, click “Save to Video,” and your captions should appear.

Manually Adding Captions To A Facebook Video

If you don’t have the ability to automatically generate captions, you can manually add captions by creating a SubRip (.srt) file. These files are created outside of Facebook, and can be used across a variety of different mediums.

What Is A SubRip (.srt) File?

A SubRip file is created by software that parses video content and converts extracted subtitle and timecode information into a text file, also known as an “.srt” file. This file can then be uploaded alongside your video to provide captioning.

In order to create a SubRip file, you need to have the right SubRip software. At IdeaRocket, we make sure to provide our clients with .srt files that are compatible with their video provider. But if you’re working with other videos, don’t worry. There are services out there like that will create these files for you at a low cost.

SRT files are simply text documents — they need to be used alongside your video files in order to create the captions you need.

Before you upload, make sure your captions are correct and true to the narrative of your video. If there are any errors, you can correct them in the file before uploading.

Here’s an example of what the file looks like:

SRT File Example

Video Captioning Tips

If you need to make any edits or changes to your captions, you can do that by opening the file in any text editor program. When making edits, consider the following:

  • Are your captions in sync with the visuals? You may not need to have captions throughout every second of the video. Make sure the captions start and stop at the right moments by aligning your timecodes.
  • Are your captions the right length? The best user experiences allow for short, digestible, segments. When considering captions, make sure you’re breaking them up into phrases that are clear and easy for viewers to follow along.
  • Keep it simple: Keep your code clean by omitting unnecessary punctuation, and make sure each line is kept separate.

You can also use these files for captioning videos on other platforms, like YouTube. For more information on .srt files and how to create them, check out this handy breakdown from Lifewire.

And, if you’re looking for other options to create captions, check out our complete guide here.

Adding Captions To A Video You’re Uploading

When you upload your video, you will have several options to optimize your metadata. To add captions, click on the “Captions” tab. You will then be able to upload your .srt file there.

Manually Uploading Facebook Video Captions

Adding Captions To A Video That’s Already Posted

Click on the bar on the right side of the post to access the “edit video” setting. This will take you to a page that will allow you to enter metadata for your video — including title, location, date, description, video category, and captions. You can also choose whether or not you’d like others to have the ability to embed your video in other posts.

If you look at the “captions” section, you will see an option to “upload SRT file.” Simply choose the .srt file you’d like to include, and upload.

Manually Uploading Facebook Video Captions

For company pages, it looks slightly different, but the process is the same.

Manually Uploading Facebook Video Captions

Note: You need to make sure your .srt files are correctly named and formatted for Facebook in order for this to work. To learn more about best practices for formatting your .srt files, click here.

Adding Captions In Other Languages

Adding captions in other languages can be helpful if you’re looking to reach an international audience and expand your reach.

On Facebook, videos captions will automatically play in a user’s preferred language if they are available. However, you can also view captions in other languages by managing your translation preferences. You can access your translation preferences under your “Language Settings.”

Facebook Language Settings

If you want to provide captions in multiple languages for your Facebook video, you need to translate your captions and create different .srt files for multiple translations. You can then follow the same steps as above to upload these files alongside your video.

If you’re working with animated video with heavy text elements, or video with voiceover, you may want to consider different visual options for making your content more accessible to users with different languages, alongside your caption translations. 

Burning In Your Captions

Facebook allows the user to decide whether or not to show captions once the video has been clicked. However, before the video is clicked, Facebook will show you captions whether you have captions on or not. This lets you see what the video is about, even when the sound is off.

Some publishers would prefer to take this decision out of the users’ hands. They can do so by burning in captions into the video itself. At IdeaRocket, we recommend against this since burned-in captions do not react dynamically to the mouse as Facebook captions do, and their language cannot be changed. Also, there is something to be said for respecting the user’s preferences. Nevertheless, studies show that comprehension and engagement is best with captions, so there might be some justification for this practice.

For more information and resources on best practices for translating your videos, check out our comprehensive guide here.

Benefits of Facebook Video Captions

Captioning your Facebook videos will help make your content more accessible and help expand your social media reach. And as social video becomes one of the most coveted mediums for engagement, you want to be sure your content shines.

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