SOCIAL MEDIA

How to Add Closed Captions to Instagram Videos

I had a crazy thought the other day about how the speech-text-technology has improved so much in the last couple of years, and how cool it would be if you could capture captions as you recorded a video, or even translate what you say into a different language. This comes from my need as a marketer since I’m always looking for different ways to help users grasp the key messaging faster, and to make my content much more accessible to others.

Luckily, as I review my daily feed about new products, I have been able to identify a couple of tools that can allow us to make this happen. I figured I would put together a resource talking about the three apps I have found so far, and how I used them to produce captions and subtitles.

Why is it important to add text to your Instagram videos?

In a nutshell, you should caption your Instagram (and social media) videos because:

01

Most users, including myself, have their volume off when watching videos.

Instagram says 70% of watched stories have the sound on and, by 2016, 85% of Facebook videos were being watched without sound.

02

Your content will be more accessible to people with impairments or that speak a different language.

The World Health Organization estimates that, unless action is taken, by 2030 the number of people with disabling hearing loss will grow to 630 million.

03

Video marketing will continue growing, and video must be exciting and visually engaging.

According to Cisco, by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic (85% in the US).

Closed Caption App for Instagram with Clipomatic

Use Clipomatic, a Closed Caption App for Instagram

 This is one of the first tools I found that uses the speech-recognition feature on an iOS device and that actually works. You must use the app to record the video (so, no pre-recorded video) and the words would just appear in the form of a caption right on your recording. You must speak clearly, but even if it doesn’t get the right word, you can easily edit the captions. While using Clipomatic is not bad, and you can make both vertical and square captioned videos, I don’t find the fonts very stylish. Instead, I find the caption design a bit gimmicky. There is one style that I prefer that looks similar to the default Instagram stories font.


Pros: Identifies the words automatically using speech-recognition technology, and there are 30+ languages available.

Cons: Online available for iOS, it costs $4.99 and, in my opinion, the fonts are not very stylish.

Adding Subtitles Instagram Story with Inshot

Use InShot to Add Closed Captions to Instagram Videos

I have talked about InShot before on my IGTV videos, and I honestly it is the app that I use the most to edit my videos. It’s worth paying for the features of this app since you can not only cut, trim and stylize your videos but you can also add captions. Unlike Clipomatic, you do have to add the captions yourself, but the app is easy to use.My favorite part is that you can use a custom font! You just have to send the font file to your phone, access it through the app, and use it! This is great to maintain a consistent brand and look. If you need more help on how to use your own font, here is a video.

Pro: You can use a custom font, it has good looking styles, and you can add your logo. It is also available for both Android and iOS.

Cons: Some features are paid, and you have to type the captions yourself.

Adding Subtitles Instagram Story with Kapwing

Use Kapwing Closed Captioning Tool for Instagram Stories

Lastly, the other tool I recommend checking out is Kapwing. Unlike Clipomatic and InShot this is a free resource that you can use on a browser. I was able to access the site on my phone and upload the video, but I couldn’t add the captions. I like this tool because is easy to use, mainly when you are producing a piece of content that takes a bit more time, more strategy, or you have a large number of videos to edit.


I personally like it too because I am able to use both my brand color and font. Kapwing uses Google Fonts, and they are testing out a feature to identify the captions from the video that you upload. The downside is that, if you want to use it for free, there is a watermark with their logo. You can find more about this tool here.

Pro: Easy tool, uses common Google Fonts, and it has a beta auto-generate feature

Cons: Some features are paid, and you have to type the captions yourself.

There are many other tools that you can use to caption not only your Insta videos but all your social media videos. I am starting to see more tools like Caption This popping up, but they are mostly all for iOS devices. I wonder if it has to do something with the voice-recognition technology not being there yet for Android (if you have an opinion on this, please let me know in the comments!)

I will continue to keep an eye for new tools, and how the technology evolves over time. I would be excited to have an app that is able to capture captions automatically or, even better, translate my words into Spanish or vice versa.

UPDATE MARCH 2021

Adding captions to Instagram Videos using the Threads App

In 2019, Facebook launched 'Threads' from Instagram, a new camera-first messaging app that helps you stay connected to your close friends. While I didn't really understand why they would launch yet another messaging app, the benefit of downloading and using it is that it generates automated captions to your videos.

One note to take into consideration is that the limit to this video is 30 seconds. You can both record a video using the app or upload a video from your camera roll.

Pros: It creates captions for you automatically.

Cons: You need the app installed, and they limit the video to 30 secs.

You can download the Threads app here for Android and here for iOS.

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