How Captions Get More Social Video Views With Gideon Shalwick Of Splasheo
By Dane Golden
Gideon Shalwick of Splasheo talks about how baked-in captions can increase social video views. GUEST: Gideon Shalwick of Splasheo. Follow him on Twitter. HOST AND CO-PRODUCER: Dane Golden of HEY.com | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support! CO-PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios TRANSCRIPT Dane Golden: It's time for HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners like you grow your customer community through helpful how-to videos. My name is Dane Golden and today we have Gideon Shalwick from Splasheo. Welcome, Gideon. Gideon Shalwick: Hi, Dane. How you doing? Dane Golden: I'm doing great. It's so glad to have you. Where am I speaking to you? Gideon Shalwick: I'm calling all the way from the sunny Coast or Sunshine Coast on the East Coast of Australia. Dane Golden: Splasheo, you running it from Australia, but it's available all over the world. Gideon Shalwick: Yes. Amazing, right? Dane Golden: Exactly. Gideon Shalwick: Don't you love how technology is today? Dane Golden: Exactly, so that's, it's a great product. Could you summarize what you're doing on Splasheo with, what I would call, baked-in captions? What is the service? Gideon Shalwick: Yeah, that's a good way of putting it, baked-in captions. What we noticed was that, or what I noticed is with my own videos sometimes, when you upload them to Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn and then it's quite a struggle to sometimes get engagement. Especially nowadays with videos auto-playing on your feed, if there's no captions on it and people watching it on silent, they're just not going to be engaged and they're not going to know what the video's about. We looked at that and thought, "Hey, is there something we could create to help with that?" We created this service, video captioning service, where we transcribe your videos and then burn those, the captions, right into your videos, because that's important. We can talk about that in a minute. Then also, we wrap your video in an engaging format. We add like a headline at the top, captions at the bottom. You'll have seen these videos, but then we'll also do little things like adding some branding, like you got a call to action at the end, and maybe some cool logo animation at the end. Really simple service, so it's not a tool, it's an actual service. We have real people doing the work because it's really important for us to get a really good quality result at the end. Dane Golden: Now, why, so you say captions are important when you're scrolling your feed, but why don't people just listen to the videos instead of the captions when they're scrolling through a Facebook or an Instagram or a LinkedIn video? Gideon Shalwick: Well, I guess I can't speak for each individual person, but if I look at my own behavior, quite often I'd be scrolling through Facebook or LinkedIn and whatever, and sort of just want to see what's up, and I don't necessarily want to click on every video that comes up. With auto-playing feature, which is turned on by default, but with most of these services, the video starts playing by itself without sound. Just by default, the normal setting that people would have when they scroll their feeds on social medial would be the auto-playing of video. If you don't have captions in your videos, you are missing out on a big audience. You're missing out on grabbing people's attention, getting them to engage and keeping their attention throughout your whole video. Dane Golden: Now the numbers I heard about Facebook, and this is a few years old now, I don't know if they've changed, but it was about 85% of Facebook videos are watched on silent, on mute or the default, no sound. Gideon Shalwick: Yes. I have that same stat. Yeah, it's incredible when you think about it, but it kind of makes sense. Like how often are you sort of in a situation with your phone where you don't want to have the sound on? Maybe you're at work and you're quickly checking your feed, or maybe you're on the train and you don't have your earphones with you and you're sort of checking your feed there. I mean, and sometimes you just don't actually want to press "play" to listen to the sound. You just want to sort of have a quick few seconds view of what the video's about. In most cases, that's on silent. Again, if you have a video that doesn't have captions and someone's watching it on auto-play on silent, how will people know what the video's about if it's just like a talking head with their lips moving and there's no other sort of information coming through the video for you to know what it's about? Dane Golden: We could probably assume that across the other platforms, that watching on silent is a pretty similar percentage. Now, you also put branding around ... Let's say I give you a 16 by 9 video to work with. What might be a good shape for you to return to me, and how big are the captions in comparison, and all that stuff? What's it look like? Gideon Shalwick: Well, one of the key things is to make sure that if you are going to be using captions in your videos, that they're big enough. Because most people watch these videos on their mobile phones, and if your captions are really tiny, that means they can't actually read it, so it sort of defeats the purpose. That is often the problem that you have with the normal captions that people will just upload on the ... What do you call it? The native sort of captioning on Facebook and YouTube, et cetera. I mean, they do work but you can improve it a lot by putting it into a different format. The most popular format we have from our templates is what we call the fancy square format. It's basically a square video that takes ... It's like you've got a 16 to 9 video, so a vertical video that you might record on your ... Sorry, not vertical. Horizontal sort of video that you might have recorded on your phone or on a normal camera. You can pop that into the template and it'll wrap it in a nice ... It'll have sort of a letterbox effect, I guess you could call it, or a meme effect. You might have seen sort of the meme effect with some videos. You've got the headline at the top, and then it actually gives you quite a lot of space down at the bottom to have really nice, big captions that people can easily read and consume on their mobile phones. Dane Golden: Right. The captioning is coming across, essentially, just as, just text that's showing up in coordination with what I'm saying in the video. One of the things about the square option, it's not just that it gives you space for these baked-in captions, but also it is almost twice as high as your normal 16 by 9 video. If someone's scrolling through, square is a really nice shape for video on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn because it takes longer to scroll through, thus they'll watch for longer. Gideon Shalwick: Well, that's definitely an aspect of it, because your video, if it's square, uses more real estate on people's phones compared to a horizontal video. The other thing that is probably even more important for getting people to actually stop and watch your video other than the captions is that if you can add a title or a headline at the top that is really quite compelling and will draw people in and grab their attention, that can make a huge difference to getting people to actually stop and watch. Then once you've got their attention with the headline, you've got the captions moving down the bottom of the video, which, what that does, also grabs attention because if there's movement it naturally grabs people's attention. We're programmed that way through evolution, I guess. The point is, people notice that there's some text moving on the screen, also the video is moving as well. The text moving on the screen, not only does it grab their attention, but it also engages them. If you've got text moving on the screen, you can't help yourself, you just want to read it. Like it's almost like when I say, "Don't, please don't imagine seeing a pink elephant in your head right now. Can you just not please see that in your head right now." You can't help yourself, you see it. It's kind of the same, not quite, but it's a similar sort of thing. You can't help yourself when you've captions moving on the screen, to read it. When people read the captions, that means they are engaged. When they're engaged, it means they're going to be watching for longer, and when they're going to be watching for longer, they're going to be much more likely to take certain actions on your video as well, like liking your video or sharing your video or leaving a comment or taking an action on something that you might ask them to do inside your video. Dane Golden: It's important to get people to watch longer, because as they're scrolling through, the average view time on your general Facebook video, unless it's really something extraordinary, can be pretty short, so you really want to get them to watch longer. Gideon Shalwick: Totally. I mean, in the olden days of the Internet, people used to say, "Content is king." To a certain degree, that's still true but I think, from my point of view, a better way of putting it now is that connection is king, or perhaps if content is king than connection is queen. What you really want to do with this video content is you want to connect with your audience. When you think about using something as simple as captions, if it's going to stop people from scrolling and actually stop and watch a video and engage with your video, that means engage, it connects. Like it's another word for connection when people engage. It's almost like if you could imagine like a lock, when it gets engaged, people are locked into watching your content, and that happens just naturally through having captions inside your video. Once you've got that connection, that means you've got the ability or the opportunity to build a relationship with the person on the other side. I mean, let's be clear. I mean that's really what we're trying to do here. We're trying to connect with other people and build a relationship with them, and this is a fantastic way of doing it. Dane Golden: I think that the idea of getting captions sort of presupposes the idea that a video should start very quickly when you're on one of these social video platforms. On YouTube as well, but if people are scrolling past and just sort of nothing's happening and no one's addressing the camera or addressing the viewer, it's a challenge. What are your thoughts on that? Do you agree or disagree? Gideon Shalwick: Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, we're all time poor and there's so many different things pulling at us all the time. I mean, it's just crazy. Not just on the Internet, so to be able to get people's attention is kind of like a, it's a new currency. Well, connection, to me, is the actual currency, if you can connect with people. The more you can connect with people and the longer you can connect with them, the more currency you have. It's a connection currency, and that currency can turn into monetary value later on. The challenge these days is to, not just help you stand out, but to connect. There's so much content out there, and you've got to find a way to connect with your audience. To do that, it's not just about creating any kind of content, it's about creating content that the audience, obviously, wants first of all. Then, secondary from that is to make sure you structure your content in such a way that in the first few seconds, they already know what it's about. You hook them, so to speak, so that it's clear to them that it's important for them to watch your particular video and they don't keep on scrolling. Yeah, the structure of your video's certainly important, and applying sort of an engaging sort of a format like this can really help to stop people and actually engage with you. Dane Golden: Now, what results have you seen since starting to offer this service? Gideon Shalwick: Well, there's quite the interest. I mean, we're still a very new service and we want to do this right. We're really paying attention to delivering really high quality work for our clients, but there's a lot of our clients been getting some amazing results. I mean, a few of them have just been using it on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been actually very interesting. Where one of our clients, they used to get like, I don't know, two or three comments on their videos per video. Then they, for their first video that they used our service, I forget the number now but it was something like between 60 or 80 comments for that particular video. We were all just blown away by that. I think that just points towards the fact that there's more engagement when you do something like that. People notice, they sit up and notice when you add captions to your videos. I mean- Dane Golden: I'm sorry, so they were getting how many comments before? Gideon Shalwick: I don't know, two or three or like 13. Dane Golden: Now they're getting 80? Gideon Shalwick: Well, for that one particular video. It's still early days and we really need to measure it over a number of videos and over a period of time, but certainly, that particular one was really great. There's one of our clients as well, is also on LinkedIn. I don't want to mention names because they- Dane Golden: Sure, no problem. Gideon Shalwick: ... I mean, they might not like it, but he is doing a really great job. He gets about between 3 and 5,000 views on these videos on the YouTube now regularly. He submits about two a week and consistently gets in the high ... What do you call it? The high decades, not the teens. What do they call it? The- Dane Golden: High 10,000s? 30's, 40s, 50s? Gideon Shalwick: No, no, no. Not .... No, like- Dane Golden: Roughly how much? What's the number? Gideon Shalwick: Between 50 and 100 comments. Dane Golden: 50 and 100 comments on his ... I'm sorry. Are we talking LinkedIn now or YouTube? Gideon Shalwick: No, this is ... Yeah, this is LinkedIn. Actually, the reason that I'm mentioning LinkedIn is because there seems to be something up there that's worth looking at with video. I mean, they've just ... It's a new thing. Video's still a relatively new thing for them. The way they've structured their feed is also very interesting. They also have their feed now that's got video in it where their video's auto-playing the feed. That is just, that's just awesome for the time we live in right now. Yeah, I'm just looking at here, I'm just scrolling through this particular client's videos. His latest one had about 15 comments, and before that 30 comments, and before that 98 comments, so that one was interesting as well. Because it's not just the comments always, it's sometimes also the topic that you have, but certainly, when you add a good headline or title for your video that's visible when people scroll through and you've got the captions in there, you've got a much better chance of capturing people. The other thing that a lot of people don't realize, it's not intuitively obvious, is that adding captions to your videos is not just for engaging the regular, English speaking folk, or if you're doing this in English, your native language speaking people, it's not just for them. It's also for people from other languages who might not understand your language, in this case, English, all that well. If there's captions there, that's going to help them engage and connect and understand your content a lot better. Not to even mention that people who are hard of hearing or deaf, they would love these sort of things. I mean, it's a smaller sort of a population, but those people are all people who could be watching and consuming your content that you kind of miss out on if you don't have these things in place. Dane Golden: Right. Even if you speak English great with a, the main accent, the American accent, of course. Gideon Shalwick: The only proper accent, right? Dane Golden: The only true accent is American. No. The truth is, is that even if you're someone who speaks the same dialect of English as the speaker, it can help comprehension because you have a lot of distractions. Even if you're listening, if you see the words at the same time, you will remember more. Gideon Shalwick: Oh, exactly. I mean, it's intuitive to realize that because I mean, when you have captions moving on the screen, so if you're reading the words while you're watching and listening, there's three learning modes you're covering in one go. You've got the visual, you've got the auditory with the sound, and you've got the ... I don't know. What do you call the reading one? That's a, is that ... Dane Golden: Literary. Gideon Shalwick: Literary, maybe. They're three different modes that people get to consume your content with. From what I understand, from the educational world, the more modes you can include in your communication, the better chance you have of your message being consumed and sticking in people's minds. Dane Golden: Also, there's something about SEO, this is supposedly helping. What is that? Gideon Shalwick: Yeah. I mean, there's all sorts of sides benefits you can get from captioning your videos. One that was surprising to me was the SEO benefits that you can get from this. UScreen.TV actually did a study on this and talked about how when you're captioning your videos, what's going to happen is more people are going to watch it, more people are going to share it, more people are going link back to your video or your content as well. Then overall, you're going to have the side benefit of getting a better SEO for your content as well, which is pretty cool. Dane Golden: I'm sorry. I still don't understand. What do you mean? I don't understand how you mean that it's doing better for SEO. Do you mean on the website? Do you mean [crosstalk 00:19:34] when the video's on the website or on YouTube? Or ... I'm not getting it. Gideon Shalwick: Well, so there's, I guess there's two parts to SEO, at least. I'm not an expert but that's the way I understand it, is there's your on-page optimization that you want to have, then your off-page optimization. For on-page, that's like your title and your meta tags and the actual content. Then off-page, things like other people linking back to your content. Those all give signals to Google that your content's worth ranking for. When you're creating great content and it's engaging and people start sharing it, that's naturally going to happen. Dane Golden: Got it, got it. Okay. Gideon Shalwick: Yeah, so that's one aspect. I mean there is another aspect as well where, like on YouTube for example, and we've known this for years. When you just ... This is slightly different to what we've been talking about, but if you upload your caption file to, or your transcript file like natively to YouTube, that means your caption file or the text inside your video becomes searchable. It's probably searchable anyways, in any case, with the automatic captioning that YouTube does, but when you upload your own one, it means it's more accurate and that definitely gets indexed. That also helps for ranking your videos, apparently. Dane Golden: Right, right. When it's readable, more people can comprehend it, and then they watch longer. If it's embedded on your webpage, the dwell time is longer. Then because they can engage with it easier, they share it more, thus creating more SEO. Would that be right? Gideon Shalwick: Yeah. I mean, look, I'm not an SEO expert- Dane Golden: Okay, okay, but- Gideon Shalwick: The algorithms change all the time, so who really knows at the end of the day? I mean, intuitively, it makes sense that any of the major platforms, whether it's YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn or whoever, would want to serve content that other people like, because it means that more people will stay on their platform. It means that they can then sell more advertising. If you're creating content and using captions to sort of boost the effectiveness of your videos, which means more people will watch and more people will stay on the platform, I mean, of course, they would want to give preference to that sort of content. Dane Golden: Absolutely. Now, what do I do if I want to use Splasheo ... Is it just called Splasheo captioning, or what's it called? Gideon Shalwick: Well, I mean, the brand is called Splasheo. It's a video captioning service that we're offering, so yeah. I mean, it's just Splasheo, but we- Dane Golden: How does it work? What do I send you? Gideon Shalwick: Well, basically, we just need your video, your video. You can select one of our templates and customize like the colors and your fonts and add your logo and things like that. Essentially, we just need your video and you go through the process and submit your customizations. The cool thing about this is that there's no software for you to work with. There's absolutely no software. We don't want our clients to use any software. Now, we are very particular about that. Because we know that once you start using software, you start fiddling and once you start fiddling, you waste a lot of time, you get frustrated and next thing you know, you start kicking your dog or something like that. We don't want our customers to kick their dogs. We take that away, that pain, we take that pain completely away. You just give us your video and select our customizations and we take care of the rest. We send you the finished video back within about a day, during business days. Dane Golden: Fantastic. Well, thank you, Gideon Shalwick: . How can people find you and Splasheo on the Internet? Gideon Shalwick: Well, you could just Google Splasheo or go to Splasheo.com. That's Splash and then E-O at the end, .com, so Splasheo.com. That'll get you to our homepage and depending on when you're looking at that, there might be some different offers on there. At the moment, we've got a seven day free trial if you want to give it a go. That gives you access to up to four videos that you can submit through the system. Each video credit is worth five minutes, so each of those videos can be up to five minutes long, four of them during the seven day trial period. Welcome to give that a go if it's still available when you get there. Dane Golden: Excellent. Thank you, Gideon Shalwick. You will be able to find this episode by searching for HEY and Gideon Shalwick. That's G-I-D-E-O-N S-H-A-L-W-I-C-K or Splasheo. My name is Dane Golden and I want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. HEY.com is about helping you grow your customer community through helpful how-to videos. How do you do this? By sharing your expertise. Because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you'll earn their loyalty and their trust and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Gideon Shalwick. Please subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app, and if you like this podcast, please give us a review. If you don't like this podcast, please keep it to yourself. Also follow HEY.com on YouTube and wherever you watch social video and please follow me on LinkedIn. This podcast is brought to you by our affiliate sponsors, so please check those in the description. That's enough, and until next week, here's to helping you help your customers through video.