If you work in political communications, you’ll know that online messaging in our digitised world is all about, to paraphrase one former Prime Minister, subtitles, subtitles, subtitles.

At every election, political parties dedicate a large portion of their respective budgets to getting their messages across. But as recent years have shown, big money investments in impressive broadcasts or social video isn’t always well spent. 

Without subtitles, even the most engaging party political videos will struggle to claim the attention of the average viewer or voter.

As the Facebook fanatics, Insta enthusiasts and Tweeters among you will know, the videos we see while scrolling through our timelines are muted automatically – and can only be listened to when clicked on.

Before 2017, this simple fact was little-known in, or made little impact on, the world of politics. Come the start of that year’s general election campaign, however, everyone soon arrived at the same realisation: sometimes, in order to create something new and exciting, you need to use something old and familiar.

Sometimes in politics, someone or something we think we know can reinvent, can become something brand new.
Sky Political Correspondent, Lewis Goodall

Picture of the Palace of Westminster. In the world of political communication, subtitles are becoming increasingly important.

For a Labour party reinvigorated by a massive surge in youthful and tech-savvy support, subtitles played an essential role in what would become a very impressive and successful social strategy. And through being the only party to make their content accessible visually as well as aurally, Labour were best placed to communicate their message to the 45 million social media users in the UK.

But since then, their political opponents have spent heavily to try to close the digital gap.

Click on their timelines and you’ll see how closed captions appear on every piece of video content, from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru to the Conservatives. Newer entities like the Brexit Party and Change UK are getting in on the act, too.

Changing the face of political communications

With a general election (yes, not another one!) on the cards, the political value of accessible social video looks set to skyrocket.  

Around 85% of Facebook users worldwide watch video content with the sound off. With this, and the reports which suggest subtitles can increase engagement by anything from 12 to 40%, in mind, the benefits of adding closed captions to your video content are there for all to see. Quite literally.

Want more people to engage with your social content? Looking to boost your video views? Then get in contact with a member of our VoiceBox team today…

Sim Johnston