Extend your reach with YouTube captions

Did you know that 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the United States? Growing your audience is tricky when so many viewers out there may not speak your native tongue.

Fortunately YouTube’s captions feature makes it that much easier to capture international audiences. Here’s how to get the most out of it.

Using YouTube captions

When you upload a new video to YouTube, you can specify which language it’s in—which helps YouTube provide auto-generated captions. (You can also do this retroactively for older videos by going back and specifying a language for them too.)


Unfortunately, these auto-captions often turn out to be inaccurate, especially if the audio in your video is poor. To fix this, you can go back and edit the captions yourself: you can edit both subtitles and closed captions (CC) via the Video Manager. For details, check out YouTube’s official documentation.

Our captions experiment

Do captions actually help search visibility? To find out, we ran an experiment on one of Fullscreen’s top channels, IceflowStudios. We used Captions for YouTube—a paid service and one of our partners here at Fullscreen—to create high-quality English subtitles for an older video on the channel. We used Google Translate to translate those English captions into several languages (based on audience traffic patterns) and uploaded those translated captions to YouTube.

The results weren’t immediate. But after about a month or two, adding captions boosted search traffic on YouTube by 19% and audience retention by 12%—the kind of results that can have a big impact on your earnings over time.

What to remember
  • Auto-generated captions can be hit or miss. Good audio quality is important.
  • Captions can’t guarantee you search visibility. Well-crafted titles, descriptions, tags, and thumbnails are crucial.
  • But when done well, captions and subtitles can definitely capture new audiences and boost your earnings.

And don’t forget that Fullscreen creators get 10% off captioning services from Captions for YouTube! Just sign in with your Fullscreen ID and password. Now get captioning!