Making Your Video Work On Mute

Audio is a critical component of most videos, but have you ever thought about what happens to your video when the sound is off?
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all default to mute for their auto-playing videos. Viewers might watch for a few seconds before deciding to unmute your video, or they may watch the entire clip without sound. After all, no one wants to be the person in line at the coffee shop watching videos at full-volume on their phone.

But would a viewer understand your video without sound? Facebook’s research has found that 41% of videos on the platform are “basically meaningless without sound.” That’s a pretty big number you don’t want to be a part of.

Don’t miss out on the huge opportunities of engagement and growth that video provides by always relying on sound to make your clips work. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you want your video to work on mute:

1. Start with a bang

Videos should grab the viewer right away. For an intro to work when a video starts on mute, though, it has to be visually arresting and bold.

Opening with a logo splash, for instance, isn’t going to catch the attention of someone scrolling through their feed. Instead, try something with a major visual “wow” factor. Those first few seconds are really crucial to your success.65% of viewers who watch the first three seconds of a video will continue on to at least the ten-second mark, and 45% will watch for thirty seconds.

2. Use text

Text overlays and splashes can convey information that would otherwise come from sound or voiceover, and many times it makes sense to subtitle all spoken dialogue, especially on Facebook. In fact, Facebook has said that view time increases by 12% for captioned videos. But don’t go overboard with non-subtitle text – your viewers don’t want to watch an essay.

If you do use subtitles, make sure the font size is large enough to be legible in a small player!

3. Let a visual idea guide you

Even when utilizing captions and text overlays, strong imagery is what carries a muted video. Some concepts, such as how-tos or product videos, are naturally more visual than others, as are certain subjects, like a fashion show or a travel clip.

When conceptualizing your social video, start with an idea that lends itself to being conveyed visually. It makes the process of selecting or capturing high-quality, on-message imagery easier, and those images will tell the story for you.

Not every single video you produce has to work without sound – some topics are too involved. But for short social videos, making it work without sound means you’re taking full advantage of video’s ability to engage and grow your audience.

Want to see the tips in practice? Check out some great examples of social videos, and get our insight on why they worked so well, in our post: “5 Under 1: Short branded social videos that really work”

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