The shift to virtual events spiked during the pandemic, but they continue to be a key business and marketing strategy for connecting with audiences in 2022. Whether you’re a veteran event producer or just starting to dip your toe in the world of webinars, you can’t ignore the importance of hosting accessible events that facilitate attendee engagement.
In fact, engagement is the secret sauce for hosting in-person, virtual or hybrid events. One method many business and event producers are implementing today to help attendees stay connected and retain the information is captioning. This tool ticks many important boxes. Specifically, they improve attendee engagement and accessibility for those with disabilities, international viewers, and others. Here are 10 additional compelling reasons why captioning your events will help take them to the next level and engage greater audience pools.
Reason #1: Audience members who are Deaf or hard of hearing
About 37 million people in the US are Deaf or hard of hearing. Captions help include these individuals in your events and ensure they can participate with equity whether attending virtually on in-person. Not effectively including this population can result in an expensive lawsuit while causing you to lose out on their buying power. These facts are noteworthy considering people in the US with disabilities control about $490 billion in disposable income.
Reason #2: Increased international reach
Virtual and hybrid events allow you to reach global audiences. Captions are incredibly useful to serve as a visual aid for those attending your events and participating in a non-native language. Taking this small extra step will make it easier for global participants to understand the content. As a result, they will feel more included, increasing their likelihood of engaging with your business and becoming repeat attendees.
Reason #3: Catering to an aging population
Statistics show that older adults are the wealthiest age group and one-third of people between the ages of 64 and 75 experience hearing loss. Since people over 50 are responsible for more than 50% of consumer spending, it’s a huge misstep that only 15% of advertisements target them. Closed captioning is just one way to ensure you include and connect with older audience members.
Reason #4: Viewing silently is now commonplace
69% of viewers watch videos with the sound off. Some members of your virtual audience will likely be viewing silently from their workplaces while commuting or when home with other family members they don’t want to disturb. Captions offer these viewers flexibility and increase the chances of them participating and comprehending the event content. Captions will also prevent them from dropping off the event after noticing they can’t meaningfully participate if using sound is not an option.
Reason #5: Audiences expect captions for on-demand events and recordings
People may not be able to attend your events at the given time, and on-demand video will allow them to engage on their terms. If you go through the effort of planning events and recruiting speakers, why not get additional eyes on your content through on-demand viewing opportunities. Especially when not live, captions will help engage these on-demand viewers and keep their attention. Some viewers may also be watching the recordings on the go without sound. Captioning recorded events translates to a minimal investment but a big payoff in giving your events more longevity and views long after they occur.
Reason #6: Captions can become helpful transcripts to reference later
Some event attendees, as well as the business producing the event, can greatly benefit from transcripts of the event dialogue. The transcripts are helpful for generating post-event articles, quotes for referencing and callbacks for important research in an easy, read-through format. Fortunately, if you’re captioning your events, you can produce the transcripts seamlessly. For example, Steve Broido, the Director of Multimedia from The Motley Fool, uses Verbit for its live streams to both caption the content and deliver word-for-word transcripts to use after them.
Reason #7: Provide attendees with searchable text to reference event dialogue
Some webinars and events can last for hours. Searching through the recorded video manually when attendees want to rewatch a relevant section can be time-consuming and frustrating. If you caption and transcribe your events with a partner like Verbit, you can deliver attendees searchable event content. That resource allows them to easily jump to the desired part of the event recording they want to watch. This feature is also helpful for event producers and anyone who wants to go back and reference specific sessions, speakers or occurrences.
Reason #8: Increase attendee engagement, comprehension and retention
Captions improve engagement, comprehension and retention for attendees and on-demand viewers whether they’re watching with the sound on or silently. In fact, viewers are 80% more likely to complete event videos when they include captions. Therefore, captions will help you spread your event messaging more effectively so that it resonates with your target attendees.
Reason #9: Improve SEO for your site
If you’re not considering how your events can improve your brand’s search engine optimization (SEO), you should be. Live streaming your events with the captions and generating transcripts for your site after those events allows Google and other search engines to crawl them. As a result, your content is searchable and you will increase your SEO rankings.
Reason #10: Accessible events build a reputation of inclusivity
Captioning and producing accessible events is another excellent and easy way to demonstrate your corporate commitment to inclusivity. The benefits of gaining this reputation are extensive, especially given that 64% of purchasers are more inclined to buy from companies they view as inclusive. Accommodating the diverse needs of various attendees won’t only help you attract and engage more people in your events but is also highly likely to help your business’s bottom line.
Captions are one essential way to improve your events, whether they’re shown in-person, within Zoom webinars or in hybrid live streaming scenarios. Contact Verbit to learn more about using our captioning and other solutions to produce accessible events that meet the needs of attendees with disabilities and the on-demand expectations of all viewers.