Do you watch videos on mute? If so you’re not alone. As soon as people started watching videos in public places the mute button went on. For a lot of people, it never really went off again. Now that we can access the internet from literally anywhere, the silent video trend is here to stay.
Much as we love a good voiceover, it’s smart to make explainer videos that fit this trend. Shifting viewership habits and the rise of mobile video has changed user expectations around what a great video sounds like. You might add music or sound effects, but the video should work well without them.
Of course, adding captions can help. According to Verizon, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video if it has captions. But if you really want to make your video as watchable as possible, consider sharing your message silently. On-screen text, simple product demos, and well-designed animation make it possible.
Mobile Started the Silent Video Trend
Mobile devices have transformed the way we watch online video. Gone are the days of clicking a link only to be blasted with full-volume voiceover as you frantically search for the mute button.
People now watch more online videos on mobile devices than on desktops. In fact, 62 percent of U.S. internet users say they watch video content on mobile devices, but only 55 percent watch on their desktop computer.
Social Media Video Has Gone Silent
As a result of the move toward mobile viewing, silent auto-play has (thankfully) become the default setting on social media. Unless you purposefully turn on the sound, videos on Facebook and Instagram will play silently.
The shift away from sound is so pervasive that Facebook video ads best practices recommend producing high-quality videos that are designed to be watched without sound.
The exception to this trend is TikTok, where sound still plays an integral role in video. Yet even here, many viewers mute their devices while watching. So you still want a video that works well whether the mute button is on or off.
Engage Audiences With Silent Explainer Video
Like any explainer video, a silent one needs to hook viewers immediately. Mobile viewers are fickle, with short attention spans. So your first few seconds need to be punchy, even without sound. Once you’ve engaged your viewer, you’re well on the way to conversion.
To inspire your next great explainer video. Here are a few of our favorite animated and live-action videos that work the silent video trend.
1. Using On-Screen Text
We created this video to spread the word that vertical is the new standard for business videos. Because this video was made for social, we wanted to make sure that viewers got the message even when the sound was off.
Sure, the soundtrack adds an extra element of fun, but you still get the message without it.
2. Simple Shapes, Strong Message
Lest you think that silent video has to be flashy, check out this example from Solid. Simple shapes and concise text help convey their message without anyone saying a word.
Again, the music and sound effects add an extra dimension if you turn on the sound, but the message is easy to follow without it.
3. Step-by-Step Product Demo
This video for PlaneAire Travel Mist takes you on a journey—literally. Using text and imagery, this animated explainer shows viewers how simple it is to stay healthy, no matter where their travels take them.
This video lets the audience experience using the product with step-by-step instructions. Without the voiceover, all our attention is on the main character, who acts as a stand-in for the customer. Remember that making your customer the hero of the story is always a smart idea.
4. Stop-Motion Inspired Snacking
Kernel Seasons embraced the silent video trend with a bright stop-motion-inspired video. The text tells you everything you need to know in just a few words.
The quick cuts and colorful scenes bring the energy even if you’re not listening to the upbeat music while you watch.
5. Live-Action plus Animation
A few animated details add interest to this ad for TruWear shirts. By making the text part of the scene, we ensured that viewers will get all the information without missing the star of the show—the clothes.
Adding a celebrity model helps too. Although you’ll notice, he doesn’t say a word.
6. Sleek Product Video
Silent product videos aren’t just for social media. They can also make a splash on the trade show floor where the noise of attendees and other vendors might make voiceover impractical.
This video from Rubbermaid lets the product shine without excessive explanation.
7. Sound Independent
Okay, this video from AAA does have some dialogue, but you don’t actually need it. Watch the video with the sound off and the message still comes through loud and clear.
By now we hope you’ve seen that the silent video trend doesn’t require videos with no sound. Instead, your goal should be to create a video that works equally well whether the sound is on or off.
Jump on the Silent Video Trend
There will always be a place for talented voice actors in animated video. But video is a fundamentally visual medium. Sometimes the best promotion is removing clutter so your product can speak for itself. A picture really is worth a thousand words.
If you’re interested in producing an explainer video, be sure to checkout our portfolio for more examples.