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How Much Text Should I Use in My Video? Secret Tips from Designer [+Free Templates]

More and more businesses are choosing to add text and captions to their marketing videos for a good reason. For videos with captions or 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.

Text on video is important. It helps your audience follow the message even when the sound is off. Sometimes, it conveys the message even better than an image, and it definitely helps the video to be more engaging, understandable, and clear.

But how much text on video is enough? Or better yet, how much text is just the right amount?

Why add text to video?

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.

Add text to video

Adding text to video makes your content accessible to everyone. There are 350 million people in the world who have trouble hearing, and text in videos makes that content accessible to them.

It also makes it accessible to 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.

The 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.”

Add captions

Another way to improve your SEO is by adding closed captions to your videos. These are beneficial because closed captions are text files 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.

Add text to your videos easily

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Maria Cherepanova, a marketing designer here at, makes dozens of videos every week: for ads, blog posts, landing pages, and social media. She shared some of her secret sauce recipes for placing text on video.

Tip 1. Match the text and background

A text on video doesn’t exist by itself. It would actually need a video to become text on video (but this is not Maria’s secret tip yet ?)

Try matching the background with the amount of text you put on it. If it is an actual video and not just an animated static image, you might want to put less text on it so that the viewer focuses on the video and not the text.

Match the background with the amount of text you put on it.

At the same time, align the text you put on videos with the objects that are in the video. For instance, imagine you are making a video about wild horses. The moving horses are located in the lower part of the screen, so you might want to place your test in the upper part. This way, both horses and text are visible. Like this:

If the background is an image or an abstract video, you can put more text on video because this way, the text and not the image should draw more attention. The emphasis is on the text anyway. Like this:

Tip 2. Highlight what’s important

Human beings are visual creatures. That is, we interact with visual content better and rely on visual guidance whenever possible. Just think about: what text is easier to read – the one with the bullet points or the one without them? The only thing that changed is the structure of the text.

The same principle works for text on video, too. After all, it’s still a text, so try highlighting the most important words, no matter the amount. When you highlight a certain word or phrase, it helps you stay focused and get rid of the less important text or rephrase it to make it shorter. The less text you have, the better. Like this:

Your video is not a poor PowerPoint presentation, so avoid putting too much text on the screen. Highlighting the words and phrases will help you stay focused. You can use numbers to indicate what part of the text is showing on the screen so that the viewers can follow the story more easily. Uh oh, and by the way, each number can be placed on a separate slide (scene), too!

Pro tip: Before publishing your video, run a quick “corridor test”. That is, ask whoever is in the corridor (or any other person around you, for that matter) to watch your video. If they have enough time to read everything that you’ve put on the screen and follow easily with the story, your video is ok to be shared with the world.

Tip 3. Break the text into smaller chunks

If you really need to use a longer text, try breaking it into smaller chunks and placing each phrase on a separate slide. For instance, if your text has 3 phrases with 5-6 words each, they can be placed on one slide (scene). If the text is longer, it would be best to break it down into shorter phrases and put each phrase on a separate slide (scene).

If it’s a quote that you want to use fully, Maria recommends two ways of how you can approach it:

  • You can start a quote on one slide and finish on the second one. Use opening quotation marks on the first slide and closing quotes on the second.
  • You can make the quote stay longer on the screen. This way, the viewers will have enough time to read it.

Tip 4. Don’t be afraid to experiment

When Apple released their promo video for iPhone X, it was revolutionary. They only put one word on the screen, and this word was changing so fast people really had to focus on following along. People loved the idea so much they started using this new technique to make their videos really catchy. For instance, this is our promo video from the INBOUND conference we attended this year:

The idea behind this tip is quite simple: don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment with the amount of text you put on the screen. It might just be one word on the screen or several sentences; you wouldn’t know what works best for your audience unless you try.

Add Text to Video with

add text to your Facebook video ads

Here’s what one can do in to add text to video online:

  • 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.

How to add text to video: templates and examples

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.

Edit this template

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.

How to add text to video: examples of text-heavy videos

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:

Edit this template

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.

Edit this template

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:

Add text to video: contrasting 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:

  • dates
  • numbers
  • statistical information (like percents)
  • abbreviations
  • 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:

Edit this template

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!

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