university marketers

3 Tips to Improve Video Performance for University Marketers

3 Video Marketing Tips for University Marketers

According to Cisco’s forecasting report published June 6, 2016, video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2019. Establishing a successful video marketing strategy is imperative for university marketers who want to increase admissions, guide incoming freshman and international students, and advertise campus events and updates.

Captions greatly improve the success of video marketing campaigns by making videos searchable, more enjoyable and engaging, and accessible in the social media environment. With 61 percent of businesses already using video as a social marketing tool, universities must make their promotional videos count. Below are 3 tricks to boosting video performance for university marketers using one simple method.

1. Set Your Videos Up for SEO Success

SEO is a leading component of any online marketing campaign. Google reported over 1.2 trillion searches in 2012, which is about 3.5 billion searches a month. Since then the numbers have only grown.

Captions and transcripts are the key to unlocking SEO for online videos. For SEO to be possible, web pages must first be crawled and then entered into a search engine’s index of web pages. Only once a web page is indexed, can it be found through a Google search. In the case of regular online videos, search engines are unable to crawl video content and thus can only evaluate videos based on their titles and descriptions.

university marketersUniversity marketers can overcome this indexing obstacle and ensure that videos will rank highly by adding captions and transcripts. Captions and transcripts deliver textual data to search engines that enables them to crawl a video’s content, index the video, and know if it is relevant to a given search. Additionally, transcriptions are keyword rich and allow for long-tail keywords which improve search accuracy and Google rankings.

To enable a search engine to watch, or more accurately read, your video, transcripts should be pasted directly into the description section of the video, or into the HTML of each of the pages where your videos are hosted. Without the transcript placed there and formatted to standard page hierarchy, the video content is invisible to search engines.

Publishing SEO optimized videos is paramount if you want your videos to be easily found. Only 8.5% of online search traffic makes it to the second page of Google search, so a high search ranking is key to thousands of people discovering your university’s

2. Keep People Watching

Watch time, or the length of time someone spends watching a video, is not only important for communicating your ideas or call to action, it is also a consideration for search engines when ranking your video. Search engines view watch time as an indicator of quality video content. The longer time people spend watching your videos, the higher quality they must be, and the higher the ranking will be.

Both Google and YouTube use watch time as a primary factor for ranking, rather than relying on the number of video views. This method of measurement is so significant to Google that it patented “Watch Time Based Ranking.” The more and longer a user is watching a video, the higher the Google ranking will be. This increased emphasis on watch time pushes companies to provide content that fosters deeper interaction.

Recent trials from leading online publishers revealed a 40% increase in video viewing when videos were captioned. They also found that viewers were 80% more likely to watch a video to completion when closed captioning and multi-language subtitling were available. Furthermore, Facebook’s internal tests showed that captioned video
ads increased view time by an average of 12%.

Captions correlate with longer watch times for various reasons. For many video viewers, the environment they are in does not allow them to turn the sound on. For others, captions make video viewing more enjoyable.

Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, found that 80% of people who used closed captions had no hearing loss. And for the many viewers whose first language is not English, captions enable a fuller understanding of the video.

3. Don’t Let Social Media Fall to the Wayside

university marketersPosting videos to social media should be an integral part of your university’s marketing strategy, as social media is a leading influence on the college-aged demographic. For 18 to 33-year-olds, video is the preferred method for gathering online information and following brands on social media is a must. By including video on social media, your university can speak directly to prospective students in a format they enjoy.

Due to the silent auto-play feature on most social networks, videos need to be able to convey their message without sound. Recent Facebook findings estimate that as many as 40% of video ads don’t communicate their message effectively unless the sound can be heard. Captions solve this problem by letting users view the video in silent mode while still knowing all of the spoken words.

Additionally, captions have been shown to capture audiences’ attention, keeping eyes on your videos long enough for them to make an impact. With 65% of Facebook videos being viewed on mobile devices and as much as 85% of video views happening with the sound off, it is imperative to put out eye-catching content that can be viewed without sound.

Even if your social medial viewers don’t stay for long, getting them to watch for the first three to ten seconds can have a big impact. Facebook and Nielsen found that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.

This social media market is huge, especially for potential college students. For university marketers, it is crucial to include captioned social media video in your marketing strategy.

And Don’t Forget…

university marketersWhen using a video campaign to boost enrollment or student involvement, remember that your audience comes from varying backgrounds.

One in five Americans speak a language other than English at home and there are over 974,000 international students studying in the US. Captions enable these individuals to better understand your videos and be more inclined to share them.

Captions and subtitles can also have a dramatic effect on international student enrollment, as your videos will communicate a welcoming and supportive environment. Lastly, don’t forget that individuals with disabilities, such as hearing loss, may want to view your university’s videos as well.

As you can see, captions, transcripts, and subtitles incur impressive benefits for university marketers. From working behind the scenes to get your videos accurately indexed, to keeping your viewers more involved, they are a great hidden tactic. With an easy investment in captioning, you can improve the performance of your videos and ensure your marketing campaign is a success!


Nicole E. Flynn, CMO at cielo24, is deeply interested in exploring and communicating the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) intersects with various aspects of our daily lives. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which AI can be ethically harnessed to improve the quality of life and make our world a better place. Nicole seeks to educate and inform audiences about the potential of AI technology and how it can be used to drive innovation and growth.