Add Text to Video: Everything You Need to Know [+Free Templates]
First published on September 28, 2018. Updated on August 26, 2019.
More and more businesses are choosing to add text and captions to their marketing videos, for good reason. For videos with captions/subtitles, 80 percent more people watched the entire video. Millions of videos are produced and uploaded throughout the Internet every single day, so it’s important for yours to stand out.
Adding text to video is one way to ensure this happens. Below I’ve detailed a list of reasons why you should jump on the text-to-video bandwagon, as well as a review of 3 popular video tools. Let’s dive in!
Lots of people watch videos with the sound off. The majority of videos on major social platforms like Twitter and Facebook are watched with the sound off. To make sure you get your message across to your audience, it’s a good idea to add text to video.
Adding text to video makes your content accessible to everyone. There are 350 million people in the world who have troubles hearing, and text in videos makes that content accessible to them.
It also makes it accessible to the millions of people who don’t have English as their native language, as they have the opportunity to translate the text in the video. They also might not understand the words if they are spoken too quickly, but they can pick up what they’re missing in the written text.
Text in videos also contributes to a boost in SEO. Text boosts SEO because it makes it easier for people to find your videos online. Search engines can’t “watch” videos- they crawl for text. By adding captions, you’re making your videos available to people who are searching for specific keywords and terms. See below for tips on improving your SEO by adding text to video.
Text can get people invested in a video before it even really starts playing. It takes people a lot longer to watch a video and understand what’s happening when there aren’t words to guide them in the right direction. A little well-placed text at the beginning of a video can hook an audience quickly and prevent them from scrolling right on past your video.
Text keeps users engaged longer, so they watch the video longer.
Text also increases viewing time by as much as 40%. Think about it- text keeps users engaged longer, so they watch longer. In addition, it takes people more time to both watch a video and read text, so automatically they are spending extra time on your video. It’s a win-win.
Add text to video to boost your search engine rankings
As I said before, search engines can’t watch videos but they CAN read text. Therefore, you want to add as much text to your video as you can without it taking away from your message. One way to do this is by placing a transcript of your video on your website.
What is a transcript?
A transcript is just the written text version of the content that’s spoken in the video. Search engines can then easily find the transcript, index the content, and rank your site accordingly. This is much more effective than having them index your site based on the title of the video or description alone.
A transcript is the written text version of the content that’s spoken in the video.
According to 3playmedia, a study was done that “compared 37 web pages before and after adding transcripts, and pages with transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than they did before transcripts were added.”
Another way to improve your SEO is by adding closed captions to your videos. These are beneficial because closed captions are a text file that search engines can read, so they can also index and rank them. This means that videos with closed captions will rank higher than those without them.
Videos with closed captions might rank higher than those without them.
A study by PlyMedia showed that videos with captions received 40% more views than videos without them, and there is an 80% chance that viewers will watch a video to the end if there are captions available.
You DEFINITELY want to have a keyword strategy in mind when creating your videos and their transcripts. Keywords are extremely important to SEO, so this isn’t something you want to overlook.
The size of the text
You want it to be big enough for people to read easily, but not so big that it distracts from the important information being presented in the video. A big percentage of videos are viewed on mobile devices so it’s a good idea to try out different text sizes with a small screen in mind.
Big text is usually better for this, as long as it’s not too big. Watch the video on your phone so you can see for yourself.
It doesn’t hurt to create different designs for all the various platforms where your video could potentially be viewed, however. Regardless, just know that optimal text size will differ based on the size of the screen.
Text color and fonts
Along similar lines, the color and font style of the text is extremely important. Both should match your brand. If the colors on your website are muted, you probably don’t want to use super bold prints in your videos.
The same goes for font style. You want it to be clear without it being distracting. It should also mesh well with your logo and branding on your site.
The color and font style of the text on video is extremely important as they should match your brand.
Both color and font style should also reflect the tone of your video, ie: you don’t want to use a super abstract, artistic font if your video is supposed to be serious and professional.
Placement of text
When want to add text to video, the placement of the text is important. The only time this doesn’t really matter is if you’re placing the text over a blank background. If you’re using it in conjunction with graphics or animation, however, you definitely want to take time to think about where on the screen you want your text to appear. You don’t want it to accidentally end up covering someone’s face, or over half of your product or business logo.
Here are a few options how you can add text on video, depending on the background video/image.
Option 1. Wrapping text around an image.
When you have an object shifted to one side, place your text on the free space next to the object. The logo can go to the top right/left corner.
Option 2. A talking head video
When editing a talking head video, add your text to the lower part of the screen. This way, it won’t obstruct the speaker, who should be the main focus of the video. The logo can go to one of the upper corners of the screen.
Option 3. A moving object
If you are showing a moving object that is pretty much centered, it’s ok to place your text across this object, as long as the text doesn’t stay there during the whole video. This way, you will be able to focus the viewers’ attention both on your footage and text. It works particularly well when you are featuring a hashtag, date, or a website name.
How long should you leave the text on the screen when you add text to video? How long will it take people to read it? The answers to these questions aren’t easy.
Obviously, people all read at different rates, so there’s not a “one size fits all” answer to this. It’s important to consider that even if you assume your consumers can read and process the text quickly that they’re also trying to take in other things while watching the video, like the graphics and animation that’s happening in the background. It doesn’t hurt to give them an extra few seconds of processing time.
That being said, you don’t want them to spend too much time reading, so make sure you’re only using text to highlight important information. Tell your story in images, not in words.
Tell your story in images, not words.
The best way to test out timing is to put together a few mockup videos and test them on real people. Then get their feedback on whether they were able to read and process the information in time.
Now, how can you add text to your video? Let’s take a look at three great tools that will help you out with this task.
Available on App Store and Google Market.
- Very user-friendly – I was able to figure out this app pretty easily.
- Tons of fonts to choose from and they’re listed alphabetically so specific ones are easy to find if you know what you’re looking for.
- Colors and style are customizable and easy to choose when you want to add text to video
- Very easy to use sliding bar at the bottom to place text in specific spots in the video.
- Easy to save and export video to a variety of locations including text messages, email, Facebook, Dropbox, and iMovie.
- Ads at the top which are very distracting on a small screen
- You really need to have somewhat of a background in graphic design because while it’s very easy to create designs, they don’t give you ideas for what will look good. Determining font size and style and color and placement is all on you, so if you’re not artistic you might be in trouble.
- I feel like they could make it easier to move the text around and customize the tilt and size. In Instagram, you can do all of this with just your fingers, which is what I kept trying to do with this app.
- Instead, you have to click on their buttons and then use ratios and sliding bars to move things around. Seems more complicated than it needs to be.
- There were a lot of reviews that said that people had issues with the app crashing while they were in the middle of using it. I did not experience this but clearly, others have.
Adding text to video with iMovie
- Already downloaded on iPhones so you don’t have to go searching for it in the app store.
- Right off the bat it gives you the option to make a movie trailer which is super creative and outside the box.
- Very easy to choose photos and videos already recorded from your camera roll or saved on your desktop
- Automatically strings together multiple videos that have been selected and adds transitions in between clips
- Gives you options to add filters, background themes, music, fading and speed changes
- Only available for Apple users so Android is out of luck
- Not very easy for beginners to use! I selected a “theme” from the settings menu, and absolutely nothing changed in my video. I couldn’t figure out what else I needed to do to add this theme.
- I saw no options for adding text anywhere in the app. In fact, I had to Google how to do it and the majority of the search results that came up said it was too complicated for beginners and that I should just use a secondary app. Not good, especially considering how easy it was to add text in Vont.
- After I couldn’t figure out how to add text in the app, I switched over to the desktop version…which looks like a completely different program from what I have on my phone. I don’t even see how they both can be called iMovie, they’re that different.
Unfortunately, they’re different in a bad way (for beginners at least). iMovie on the desktop has WAY more options…making it a lot more complicated to use. I think this could be a great option for seasoned audio producers.
The good news is that on the desktop I could immediately see the button I needed to use to add text to video.
Add text to video with Wave.video
Here’s what one can do in Wave.video in terms of adding text to video:
- A lot of pre-made templates to choose from so you don’t have to start from scratch if you don’t want to
- Also a ton of options for royalty-free video clips that you can insert if you don’t want to include your own photos or video
- The tool comes with 3 pre-set options for formats for Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, so if you plan on posting to one or more of those platforms it’s really simple to make sure your video is optimized.
- There is a clear button that says “add text” so it’s very simple to add whatever text you want to the video.
- There’s also a section where you can add your business logo or a watermark
- When you’re finished producing the video, you have the option to download it right to your computer, or to share it automatically to social media, DropBox, Vimeo and more.
In one of the webinars, a user asked us a question on how he could create videos with lots of text.
The question is not trivial. Sometimes you do need to put a lot of text on video, and you definitely want it to be readable and attractive. How do you approach this task?
Here are a few tips that you could implement when creating a text-heavy video.
1. Stick to a plain background.
Big chunks of written words look overwhelming on a video. You don’t want to overcomplicate things by putting text on a cluttered background. Instead, go for a plain background.
A colored background, abstract pieces, or a light, clean image/video will do well.
2. Make sure the text doesn’t obstruct the image.
If you are using a picture or video as a background, choose the one that would have some free space in it. Place the chunks of text on the sky, sea, field, or any other “free” surface. This way, you’ll make sure the text you add to video is clearly readable.
In the examples below, notice how the text was places on the free, less cluttered part of the image.
In this regard, the background image adds context and complements the text. If you put the text on the free part of the image, the message is still going to be clearly readable.
Here’s a video example:
3. Match the text and background color.
When you add text to video, make sure the text stands out. At the same time, you want it to go well with the video background. You can achieve this either by matching the text color with the background or by making it contrasting.
For instance, in this video, the blue color of the text matches the background, giving the video a consistent look.
Pro tip: in order to find out exactly what the color is, use the tool like Eye Dropper. It’s a Chrome extension that lets you pick a color from any web page using a pipette.
Another idea is to choose a contrasting color for the text. Put a dark text on the light background and vice versa. Notice how the light yellow text looks easily readable on the dark background:
4. Highlight important words.
When you add a lot of text to your videos, it might be difficult for your viewers to grasp the main idea. Besides, they only have this much time to read the message.
Make it easy for your audience to understand what the text is about by highlighting important facts and words in the video. A few ideas of what you might want to highlight:
- statistical information (like percents)
- keywords that are crucial for your audience
Here’s an example of such video. Notice how the highlighted parts make it easier for us to comprehend the whole text. It’s like we instantly know where to pay attention:
Over to you
Regardless of the tool you choose to use, adding text to video is an important step in online content marketing. Many businesses are getting on board, so you don’t want to be left behind! What has been your experience when adding text to video? Do you have any helpful tips? Comment in the section below!