Easily Add Captions to Your Facebook Videos

Easily Add Captions to Your Facebook Videos

Everyone is going crazy for video right now. But don’t forget this one simple fact: Facebook videos autoplay with the sound turned off. This means that someone has to tap the video to hear the sound. So what if they’re browsing on the bus, or while watching TV, or at the library, or while they’re not supposed to be on Facebook? Chances are slim to none they’re going to turn the sound on. What if they are hard of hearing? You’ve now lost all of these viewers because there isn’t anything engaging about a silent talking head.

So what can you do to engage these viewers? Closed captions are the simple answer! Facebook has stated that captions increase the average video view time by 12%. But before you despair that you’re now going to have to spend hours transcribing your videos or pay to have someone do it for you, I’ve got 2 simple methods that will help you to increase the engagement on your videos without adding hours to your week.

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Want to get more engagement on your videos? Make them more accessible by adding captions - this tutorial will show you how to automatically generate your captions for #Facebook and #YouTube.

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When Automated Captions May Not Work

 

Sound/Language Issues

Keep in mind that automated captioning will be less effective for videos with lower quality sound or too much background noise interference, and may not work at all depending on what language the video was recorded in. US English, of course, will work with both methods, but for non-English speakers or those with strong regional accents you’ll likely have to stick with method #2 as YouTube captioning supports multiple languages.

 

Where Your Video is Posted

Captioning on Facebook (method #1) is currently only available for videos that are posted to pages. If your video is living inside a group or on your personal profile, you will have to use method #2 to generate your captions and then add them to the video.

 

Your Wording

If you are using a lot of jargon or specific lingo that’s not in everyday use, your captions will still generate, but they will be wildly inaccurate - just be aware that you’ll likely have to spend extra time correcting the captions so that you don’t leave your caption viewers confused.

 

Method #1: Generate Captions Inside Facebook

Once your video is uploaded or your live video is complete, you can have Facebook auto-generate captions for you. Note that if your video is longer than 30 minutes, Facebook won’t be able to generate your captions right away - keep checking back. There are several ways to get to the video edit screen:

From the video post:

  • Click the drop down in the corner of the post

  • Select Edit Post

From the video section of your page:

  • Click the video you want

  • Click the drop down in the corner of the post

  • Select Edit Video

From Publishing Tools

  • Click Publishing Tools

  • Click the edit icon beside the video you want

 

Once you’re there . . .

  • Click the Subtitles & Captions (CC) option

  • Click the Generate button. Your captions will start being created.

    • If the Generate button is greyed out, select your language

    • If you need to review and/or edit them, click the edit (pencil) icon. A new screen will open - at minimum I’d recommend browsing for any names (proper names, place names, names of products/services/programs, etc.). Once you’ve made your changes, click Save Draft

  • When you’re done, click Save

If you notice any mistakes in the captions that you want to fix, simply follow these instructions again to edit.

If the Generate button is missing, you’ll need to check out method #2.

If you cannot save your video after generating the captions, it’s because you haven’t entered a title for your video.

 

Method #2: Generate Caption File on YouTube

This is a 2 or 3-step process: download your video from Facebook, use YouTube to generate your captions, then upload the caption file to Facebook.

You would need to use this method if:

  • The Generate button is missing from your caption options in Facebook

  • You want to add captions to videos that have been originally posted inside a Facebook Group

If your video was recorded live on Facebook or you no longer have it on your computer, you’ll need to complete this step. Otherwise you can skip to the next step.

 

Step 1: Download Your Video From Facebook

  • Find the video post (do not navigate to the videos section of your page or profile or group)

  • Click the video to begin playing it

  • Click Click for more

    • Note: this link appears on the video when it’s playing - it will disappear if you pause the video

  • Click the 3 dots in the top right corner of the post

  • Click Download Video

This article assumes that you’ve already got a YouTube account set up. If you don’t, I’d recommend this tutorial from Jessica Stansberry.

Step 2: Generate Captions on YouTube

  • Click the upload icon in the top right corner

  • Change the privacy to private

  • Select your file to upload

  • Once your video is finished uploading (wait time will depend on the length/quality of the video and your internet speed), click Done to confirm

  • Click Video Manager

  • Click the dropdown beside your video and select Subtitles/CC

    • Even though it’s not obvious, your captions are generating right now - again, wait time will depend on the length of the video and audio quality

  • Keep refreshing this page until you see a new section called Published with a button listing the caption language

    • If captions have not generated after the equivalent length of your video has passed (i.e. a 10 minute video will take approx 10 minutes for the captions to generate), there may be another issue with your video - review these troubleshooting tips

  • Click the caption button

  • Click Edit

  • Review and edit the captions - at minimum I’d recommend browsing for any names (proper names, place names, names of products/services/programs, etc.)

  • Click Save Changes

  • Click the caption button again

  • Click the Actions button

  • Select .srt under the Download section - the caption file will download to your computer

  • Find the file and rename it with the following format: filename.en_US.srt

Step 3: Upload Caption File to Facebook Video

This step can differ depending where on Facebook your video is.

On your Facebook Page:

  • Follow the steps in method #1 to get to the Edit Video screen

  • Click the Captions option

  • Click Upload SRT File

  • Select the file from your computer

  • Click Save

In a Facebook Group or on your personal profile:

  • Find the video post (do not navigate to the videos section of your profile or group)

  • Click the video to begin playing it

  • Click Click for more

    • Note: this link appears on the video when it’s playing - it will disappear if you pause the video

  • Click the 3 dots in the top right corner of the post

  • Click Edit Video

  • Under the Captions section, click Choose File

  • Select the file from your computer

  • Click Save

Note: if you upload a caption file, you cannot edit the captions in Facebook (although Facebook says this functionality could be coming soon). You would have to edit them on YouTube and then re-upload them to the video on Facebook.

Which Method is Best?

For me, it depends on the situation.

If I have pre-recorded a video that I am going to be uploading to Facebook, I will generate the captions in YouTube. I find that the caption generation in YouTube is more accurate, and even when it’s not sure of a word it will spell it out phonetically instead of substituting it with the closest sounding word, which is what Facebook will do. Even if the spelling is occasionally odd, it still allows viewers to get a more accurate idea of what I’m saying. Yes, method #2 takes longer, but it’s mostly waiting for things to upload and generate so I will complete other business tasks during those times.

If I have a Facebook Live video, it’s out there in the world as soon as I end the broadcast. I want to get the captions up as fast as possible while the video is likely to get the most engagement, so I’ll use the Facebook-generated captions.

Facebook says that videos with captions are watched 12% longer than those without. Here’s how to easily generate captions for your videos.

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