Promotional Videos With Subtitles: The New Stars Of The Web

According to Cisco’s latest VNI IP Forecast, video will continue to grow and dominate the web in 2021 with 80% of the global web traffic. This number could not be more telling.

 Indeed and almost without notice, promotional videos quietly appeared on our screens and are now everywhere. No less than 8 billion videos are viewed every day on Facebook alone. These figures point to the power of distributing a promotional video, not only on social networks but also within businesses. Whether it’s a corporate film or marketing video, a classic video or motion design, the possibilities are endless. In any format, it would be a shame to miss out on this media phenomenon.

The Promotional Video: A “Swiss Army Knife” Of Communication

Video is a unique medium proven useful to promote a new product or service in front of international audiences, as well as for internal communication to unite teams around a company’s objectives. In both cases, combined with subtitles, its reach can be infinite.

With this unlimited potential established, it’s now also crucial to understand how to use it wisely. As with any other tool, you want to best grasp its subtleties to optimize your video’s effectiveness.

Considering video watching represents more than 80% of internet traffic, it’s urgent for any business to adapt to these new practices. No matter which online activity, you’ve got every reason to familiarize yourself with this very “3rd millennium” mode of communication, since according to a study by Médiamétrie video is now the top medium for 25-49 year olds. In fact, video viewing is this group’s main activity on the web, devoting to it 80 percent of their browsing time.

Taking into account these dizzying figures, it’s clear we cannot afford to overlook this multifunctional tool or ignore understanding its impact either; how it works, and how to maximize its use. Let’s explore this topic here further.

1) The Public’s Attention: Digital Gold

What is rare is expensive, and what’s expensive can be rare – which is exactly what defines the attention of the web user. Accustomed to feeling bombarded by incessant visual and auditory stimuli, internet users gradually developed a cognitive impermeability that makes invisible and inaudible anything closely or remotely resembling unwanted ad content.

Capturing internet users’ attention is increasingly difficult. The omnipresence of advertising has forced naturally defensive reactions in web users, who reject ads and hardly register their messaging.

It’s no secret that banners and other pop-up advertising, used excessively by advertisers, have now almost disappeared from our digital landscape – considered as a kind of visual pollution for those who suffer them. Few if any advertisers today risk this exercise since it’s strongly associated with a poor user experience.

Nowadays you can just be an observer: from the independent web manager to the big brands – everyone has their advertorial, institutional or promotional film. Nothing could be more pragmatic, because the short video format is a boon in the digital age. What used to require a significant budget not so long ago – whether for design, professional equipment and technicians, or distribution with advertising space to buy on small and large screens – can nowadays be developed and distributed with a smartphone and some well-mastered app software. Promotional video online has significantly lowered the investment compared to its marketing impact and audience reach.

But specifically where does promotional video’s attractiveness come from, what exactly is its reach, and on which attention channel is it playing?

The Value Of Your Video’s First 3 Seconds

First, how do you define attention?

One of the possible definitions could be the length of time your vision or hearing stays focused on something. But it’s not that simple, since you can actually look without seeing and hear without listening. Whether it’s by choice or distraction, this even has a name: “inadvertent blindness or deafness.” This much is true: our gaze and our hearing can only focus well on one thing at a time. The time it takes our brains to initially see, grasp and decide if something is interesting takes about 3 seconds. In this short, initial time span we decide whether it’s worth our time to continue reading, viewing or listening to any particular message.


The abundance of visual and auditory stimuli of all kinds, and the prevalence of screens in our lives, have made web users’ interest very volatile. Their ability to jump from one subject to another is now the major hurdle for any type of communication, amplified by our global use of smartphones.

As we’ve all noticed in our own habits, our internet user attention gets harder and harder to maintain. We’re actually giving less and less of our time to advertising content, and our ability to skim content on screens makes it even harder to grab and keep our interest levels.

The most telling example is advertising on Youtube, where ads are offered up in a pre-roll or mid-roll (before video launch, or during the video). These have the added “gift” of triggering instant annoyance in the viewer, who understandably feels hostage to this advertising practice and trapped by the platform which disseminates it. As a result of these ad practices, an average of around 80% of published videos get ignored. The only solution for a video to be actually viewed is to capture the user’s attention in the first 3 seconds, and then entice the user enough to stay and watch the entire video.

On the tech giant Facebook’s platform, videos launch automatically without sound which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. An advantage because it allows the user not to feel attacked by a “sound” they did not expect, and a disadvantage because the social media user sees a video launching automatically (autoplay) on their social thread or news feed without any action on their part – and at the risk of giving it no importance.

Grabbing the internet user’s attention is the initial objective, which then also becomes the way to gain a second engagement reaction. So how can you ensure your content is accepted by web users and provokes a reaction from them?

2) How To Generate Attention And Engagement?

According to a 2018 study by PROMO (a web video marketing platform), here are some of the most interesting video-viewing habits from 500 sampled internet users of all ages:

  • 58% of respondents react with “likes” or comments to the videos they watch online;
  • 60% check the social profile of the creator of a video “sometimes” to “very often” after watching;
  • 70% visit the video creator’s site “sometimes” to “very often” after watching.

One of the first goals of the promotional video is to catch the attention of the potential viewer, then to make their user experience pleasant in order to provoke their “engagement” – or even better, their larger online community’s engagement.

Thus, engagement is the key element that lets you assess the impact of your message. This engagement is defined by the reactions or actions a video provokes, and may vary depending on the type of network it’s broadcast on. Audience actions can go from less to more “engaging,” ranging from a simple “like” all the way up to active comments and conversation, or to a click on a profile, or even to a visit over to the store associated with the video.

This commitment has been well thought out and reflected by the major social networking platforms, which offer to integrate a personalized “call-to-action” (CTA) to increase the videos’ effectiveness. On Facebook for example, you can choose from the following video calls to action:

  • Learn more
  • Register
  • Buy
  • Reserve now
  • See other videos
  • Download

Mainly, you want to choose the action statement that best suits your video’s goals and the specific action you want to convince your viewers to take.

To optimize your videos, grab attention instantly and compel your viewer into quick action. To accomplish this more effectively there’s another simple thing you can do: always add video subtitles.

When done properly, subtitles or closed captioning add better reach and huge advantages: not only do they allow your audience to watch a video silently, but they also help improve your viewer’s user experience (plus adding accessibility for the hearing impaired and disabled), at the same time as it increases your advertising visibility on the internet.

How To Optimize Your Videos? 

1) In The Reign Of Smartphones, Subtitles Are King

Our massive use of mobile phones leads to another significant consequence: when a video is viewed on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, it’s often seen in a public setting – whether on public transportation, in a waiting room, or in an office. This implies our phones are set to be ‘silent’ most of the time, and we don’t always have the option of wearing our headphones. Facebook found that 80% of its users react negatively to autoplaying videos with sound. The result: 85% of Facebook’s videos are watched without sound.

One more reason confirming how video captioning or subtitling is the essential add-on to any promotional video or infomercial broadcast on social networks is its ultimate versatility. Closed captions enable a video to be viewable by almost any user, on any device, in any situation.

Without subtitles, you risk ignoring many more potential viewers, and in a way depriving yourself of these precious added user reactions of “likes” and “shares” activity online.

Facebook, never leaving anything to chance, now also uses an automatic subtitling system driven by AI (artificial intelligence). Theirs is based on speech recognition technology similar to the AI YouTube has employed on its own platform for a while now – a clear sign of our times.

The message is clear: the simple act of captioning videos from social networks or other sites, gives a competitive advantage in terms of engagement. It also increases your chances of capturing users’ attention – and that’s basically what everyone’s after on the web, right?

2) How To Improve Your Search Engine Optimization?

What is VSEO?

If you’re familiar with SEO, a strategy that optimizes the natural referencing of images and web pages in a search engine, VSEO or “Video Search Engine Optimization” does the same but is specifically for videos.

This natural referencing system, which is also free, is based on a choice of associated keywords. It’s often hardest to optimize popular keywords, since by definition the more they’re used the more competitive they are between their top ranking sites. To help with this, it pays to leverage a few other strategies for video such as subtitling.

Since search engines mainly recognize words, and videos are made up of sound and pictures, the value of using written captions or subtitles inside videos is obvious.

Still, limiting yourself to simple SEO keywords for your videos and video subtitles is not enough. Including also the use of long tail keywords, for example more specific but still relevant words and statements, provides a better chance of higher rankings in search results – while drilling closer to the specific queries’ intent searched by web users online.

Plus, adding video subtitles or “captions” allows you to write text that includes these long tail keywords (keywords formed by 2 or more words) into your subtitle sentences, which in turn can increase their SEO reach and effectiveness. Subtitles are coded, and follow rules and best practices which are good to know. Although still underrated in the marketing field, video captioning helps build even more brand awareness on social media, helping to bolster any communication campaign with added user insight and understanding for your videos.

How To Caption Your Video?

As you will see, video subtitles can provide some added advantages including capturing the public’s attention, improving overall content understanding, and helping your video content be accessible to larger audiences – like the hearing-impaired, or foreign language speakers. For these types of audiences, let’s take a deeper look at using transcription versus subtitles (or captions) in your videos.

1) Video Transcriptions Or Subtitles?

What’s the difference between transcriptions and captions?

To consider the many possibilities subtitling provides, let’s first define what’s included in the generic meaning of subtitles.

  • Transcription: the written adaptation of an audio source (or closed captions in English), this transcription is useful to allow viewing without sound but also to follow an explanation, particularly in a user manual or a technical description.
  • The transcribed subtitles: the synchronous translation of the dialogues transcribed at the bottom of a screen (“subtitles” in English). Reproduced in several languages, ​​these foreign language subtitles ​​multiply your video’s range of recognition across search engines and increase its presence on the internet.
  • Coded transcription: the written and enriched adaptation of an audio source intended for the deaf and hard of hearing, it allows more diversity and accessibility to all audiences and helps broaden your video’s reach.

Whether it’s video transcription or captioning, the goal is to give the public a clear understanding of the messages authors or advertisers want to convey in their video. They’re an important element to give web users a better understanding of your video content online.

Transcription and subtitling meet the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing, but also help anyone wishing to read your video’s transcription whether it’s translated or not. It’s especially helpful for viewers who just want to watch your videos without sound.

A professional translation service like ours at Atenao can recommend the most appropriate strategy for your video projects including transcription, subtitling, and even adding a professional voiceover or translation dubbing.

2) Video Subtitles And Translation: A Gateway To International Global Markets

Another advantage of video subtitling is letting you offer the same film viewable in several other languages. This opens the doors of an international global market audience with a relatively small investment. Essentially, you just need to add the cost of one or more translations without modifying the content of your video.

Audiovisual translations, or video subtitles translated into foreign languages, bring real added value to all types of videos. For example, for anyone who understands a foreign language without mastering it perfectly, subtitled transcription makes it easier to understand the original version. Subtitling then becomes a practical tool for continuing to learn or improve in a foreign language, an additional reason web users are very fond of it.

Professional Video Translation Or Automatic Subtitles?

More and more platforms offer subtitling and automatic translation options such as YouTube, for example. Here, you should watch out for two basic pitfalls: the apparent ease of the subtitling technology and the approximation of the automatic translation. Everyone has experienced irrelevant, mismatched or incongruous subtitles at least once while watching a video. The issue here is that a single subtitling error sticks out sorely to the viewer, and quickly calls into question the accuracy and reliability of the video’s entire subtitles or its translation.

A professional translation service like Atenao offers easy transcription of your videos in all languages. Our work consists in manually entering the spoken voice over texts from an audio or video file. We accomplish this with a skilled transcriptionist able to enter the caption texts at the rate of the audio narration or dialogues in the audio or video file. Time-coded transcription is essential for adding subtitles or a voiceover, as it ensures the translated subtitles or voiceover match the original voice correctly. This entails entering the spoken texts contained in an audio or video file corresponding with their accurate video timing. We perform this with a written language professional using subtitle processing software. Atenao offers time-coded transcription in all languages which employ the Latin alphabet.

When the topic of a subtitled video is particularly popular with advertisers and the public, it hinges on quality production criteria being met. Any translation or spelling errors can quickly erode your video’s credibility image. Best to entrust these key, detailed tasks to professional translators with experience in the specifics of subtitling, since after all isn’t the result worth the effort?

3) Technical Details Of Video Subtitles: What You Need To Know

There are several options for making subtitled videos; on one hand with paid apps for smartphones that use AI translation and transcription of the video, or on the other hand with more professional video creation software.

As mentioned, to make a subtitled video you must first choose the appropriate software for your video production, and secondly take care of the transcription or the subtitling. Despite the growing number of applications or subtitling platforms, the method will be the same: the AI ​​will translate from “voice to text” along with an approximate portion of the text that will need to be checked and possibly corrected. So whatever happens, there will be some additional review work to be done. So, before embarking on this delicate operation it’s good to know some essential rules around subtitling or transcription, even if that still means ultimately entrusting this work to a professional for a more reliable and faster result

A Few Video Subtitling Typographical Rules

The quality of the user experience relies on a number of necessary elements to ensure the visual adoption of viewers.

A few rules and best practices prevail: you need at least one second of text visibility on the screen; a maximum 40 typed characters (letters, symbols or numbers) per line, and two lines maximum per frame. This way, captions should adapt to your average reading speed and your brain’s cognitive ability to process information.

Viewers shouldn’t feel strained in their effort to read the video subtitles. In addition, the work of adjusting the video subtitles should match the audio track or voiceover, which is called the video timing. In order for this synchronization to take place, a “location” job must be based on the time-code of the video, the crucial step for good consistency between the video images and subtitling text.

It’s in these early stages of captioning or transcription where automated AI shows its shortfalls. Automatic text paragraph breaks don’t take into account either the natural flow, meaning or integrity of the sentence and its punctuation. We’ve explored this topic further in our blog article on videoconference interpretation, where we help you understand in more detail the function of translation by artificial intelligence.

Once these technical tasks are completed, you should of course also optimize your video subtitles’ text quality by checking all spelling, grammar and punctuation. For ease and clarity of reading, you should also pay attention to the visual and graphic quality of the text – that is your choice of font, size, color, placement, and spacing of lines and words – and make adjustments here as needed.

Subtitles can be added to your video from a separate, dedicated subtitle text file, or they can be permanently “burned” into the video footage itself. Luckily, these kinds of complex, laborious and time-consuming video editing details can be done by a professional service at the same time as the translation work.

Embedding Your Subtitles To A Video

The second option, permanently adding your video subtitles, is much more preferable due to the way different video players in social networks work. There, subtitle translation is done directly inside the subtitle file, instead of in the original transcribed texts. Atenao provides professional subtitle translation in all languages that are read from left to right.

Your translated file is then delivered in the format of your choice (SRT, VTT, SUB, TXT or similar), or as embedded foreign language subtitles added directly into the video content. This service is performed by our own in-house AV studio using video-processing software. Your final video file is then delivered to you in any of the following desired file formats: TS, AVI, WMV, MPEG, or MOV.

A Few Video-Subtitling Software Tools

Since the goal of any promotional video is to stand out in its originality and clarity, many companies have embarked on creating innovative features and tools to suit the needs of their users.

The creative range of video productions is very wide, so it requires strategic thinking followed by a script that is well adapted to the message you want to ultimately convey. Indeed, an ad clip for a product’s presentation or a clip to create preference for a brand will not be produced the same way. A short film makes it possible for example, to craft a telling story about the history and values ​​of a company or organization – such as recruitment video campaigns for the army or the postal service. In a very different style, creating a short series of web videos is another interesting way to generate product buzz or notoriety while presenting itself as entertainment.

Whichever video scenario you choose, you’ll want to also look at the video software solution most consistent with your desired project, material, and creative resources. To help you choose, here are some of the most commonly used apps and video editors.

If you’re already familiar with video editing software, you probably know the “traditional” iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro solutions. If you’re more of a beginner, consider these part of a small and non-exhaustive list of solutions which don’t require a significant investment in time or money.


As the new queen of social media strategy, the effectiveness of the video format is undeniable – whether in terms of its reach, the accessibility of its messages, the impact on brand image, or the promotion of its advertiser’s site link. But for a video to achieve its objectives, and since it can be shared across the web extremely fast, there’s not much room for error around its image and sound quality, editing, subtitles, and of course its translations.

All of these video elements require skilled technique and precision, so you need to devote some time to them. The advantage of using a professional translation service like Atenao is that we can simultaneously ensure the quality of your video translation, its subtitles, and their requested mode of integration into your video. The advantages of using captioned video are proportional to the constraints of its production. To create the best user experience it’s fundamental to be sure of the results, which you can rely on from professionals like us every time.


Contact us today for a quote on your new video transcription, subtitling, or translation project!