While automated captions have been an option for Facebook video uploads for some time, The Social Network now looking to expand its efforts to improve accessibility, which includes the addition of new auto captions for IGTV uploads.
As you can see in these screenshots, now, when you upload an IGTV video, you'll be able to toggle on 'Auto-Generated Captions' in your caption settings. The accuracy of the generated text will, of course, be relative to the clarity of the audio in the clip, but it will help to open up your IGTV content to a broader audience, while also expanding potential viewing by those looking to watch with sound off.
The announcement comes as part of a larger push by Facebook to improve its accessibility options.
As explained by Facebook:
"While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050."
As noted, Facebook has offered auto-captions on video uploads since 2017, but more recently, it's also added automatic captions for Facebook Live and Workplace Live as well.
"Facebook Live automatic captions are helping governments disseminate crucial public health information, and ensuring that millions of viewers across the world – whether they have hearing loss, or are just watching where audio is not available – get the message. And, as workplace policies evolve, automatic captioning has become essential for employers to keep their staff and customers informed through safety updates."
The accuracy and speed of Facebook's captioning system is also improving, and while it won't be 100%, the gradual improvements on this front are leading to significant advances in the underlying technology.
And aside from catering to a broader audience of hearing-impaired users, auto-captioning can also have benefits for brands uploading their video content. Indeed, recent data from Facebook showed that branded content ads designed for 'sound off' viewing have 48% more relevance to viewers, and lead to 42% higher purchase intent in lab studies.
That also relates to your broader creative approach in utilizing visuals, but the evidence shows that keeping silent viewers in mind can play a key part in maximizing your campaigns.
Auto captions on IGTV will be available in 16 languages at launch, with more to follow.