Mobile Videos Often Watched Without Audio, Study Finds

A survey of U.S. consumers found that 92% view videos with the sound off on mobile and 83% watch with sound off, according to a new report from Verizon Media and ad buyer Publicis Media .

The report recommends that advertisers caption their advertisements because 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

The report also found that 50% of consumers said captions are important because they watch videos with the sound off.

The reasons people said they watch video without sound include they were in a quiet space, they didn’t have headphones, they were waiting in line or they were multitasking.

When captions are available, 37% of viewers said they are encouraged to turn the sound on because the videos seem more interesting, and 29% said that even with the sound off, they were better able to understand the video because of the captioning.

The report found that adding captions helped ad performance, contributing to an 8% lift in ad recall, a 10% lift in ad memory quality and a 13% lift in brand linkage.

Interestingly, the report found that if an advertiser used both captioning and brand logos during videos, there was a 12% decrease in ad memory.

“Too many branding elements can have an adverse effect by distracting the viewer,” the report said.

The report concluded that:

  • Marketers should design for sound off by using visual cues, over-laid text, or open captions.
  • Marketers should utilize captions tactically to improve ad recall, brand linkage, and communicating information when sound is off.
  • It’s a balancing act between context and distraction. Choose the right branding formats and placements to avoid over-crowding the creative.
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.