VIDEO MARKETING VALUE

How Captions Help YouTube Viewership With Jason Chicola Of Rev.com

How Captions Help YouTube Viewership With Jason Chicola of Rev.com

Today Jason Chicola, CEO of Rev.com talks about why human-created captions are so helpful with getting more views and more watch time on YouTube, and shares some of the services Rev offers.

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GUEST: Jason Chicola of Rev.com – Also see Jason Chicola Twitter | Rev on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. And: Rev Voice Recorder, Rev Call recorder, Rev Translation, and Temi Speech Recognition Software

HOST AND CO-PRODUCER: Dane Golden of HEY.com | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQMorningFameRev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support!

CO-PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

NOTE: While HEY.com is an affiliate partner of Rev.com – and we get paid for clicks resulting in new business for them – HEY.com initiated this interview idea and Rev did not have any edits on the questions or content of the show, and did not pay us for the interview.

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help you grow your customer community through helpful, how-to videos. My name is Dane Golden. Today we have Jason Chicola of Rev.com. That’s R-E-V.com. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Chicola:
Dane, thanks a lot. Thank you for inviting me on your podcast.

Dane Golden:
I really appreciate it. Could you please tell us what Rev.com does?

Jason Chicola:
Sure. Rev is a marketplace for freelancers who work from home. Today they transcribe audio, caption video, and subtitle video. They do this with very high accuracy. We serve hundreds of thousands of small businesses, including tens of thousands of video producers, many of whom work on YouTube. Maybe YouTube producers will use us to caption their videos. Those that have probably larger production process will, in some cases, transcribe the audio of raw footage and will use us in the editing process. There’s a lot of reasons why your listeners may be interested.

But the way I would think about it for your audience is if you’re producing and editing video, it’s helpful to have a transcript. If you’re going to publish that video on an online platform, you want to have a caption file. If you want to distribute that video globally, you may want what we call a subtitle file, which basically is a translated caption file that might show your video in a foreign country.

"Traditionally, platforms like Google aren’t great at dealing with audio. Now having the transcript allows them to index it." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Dane Golden:
Let me just ask this, because I use this both with my clients and my own videos every day. I use your service several times a week. But could you explain why, particularly on YouTube, a manual captions is better than just going with whatever YouTube comes up with?

Jason Chicola:
There’s a bunch of reasons. A lot of people these days are watching videos on their phone and in quiet areas where they can’t hear that well. Many people turn the captions on. We have seen reports that watch time tends to increase by 40% when the sound is on. Now, YouTube does, as you point out, provide free transcripts, but they’re very inaccurate. If you want to a good laugh, just go on YouTube and type in, “YouTube caption fail,” and you’ll see ridiculous videos that show what YouTube comes up with. If your listeners have a larger audience and care about the quality of their viewers’ experience, human captions are just a lot better. It leads to longer watch times, because people can better understand the material. There’s other reasons, but that’s probably reason number one.

Dane Golden:
I want to understand, because YouTube is a global market, and we help businesses with their content marketing for YouTube. Could you explain why doing an English caption manually, or you call it a human caption, with Rev or, let’s say, some other service? But how can an English YouTube caption help with getting foreign language viewers or people who use English as a second language?

Jason Chicola:
Great question. There’s a handful of reasons why captions are relevant. Let me just start with why captions were created in the first place. Then I’ll answer your question.

"If you’re going to publish that video on an online platform, you want to have a caption file." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Dane Golden:
Yeah.

Jason Chicola:
Captions were designed for people who are hard of hearing. That could mean deaf, or that could just mean hearing impaired. There’s a surprising number of people in America, millions, that have better understanding of the material with the captions on. Now that’s, I would say, the original audience for whom captions were created, but there’s many other audiences that benefit a lot from captions that are even larger than the hard of hearing audience.

Immigrants or people that are overseas where English is a second language generally find it hard to understand spoken English, especially if people will speak quickly, which happens a lot. When I spend time with, say for example, friends of mine whose parents are immigrants, what I find is they watch HBO in English, Game of Thrones, with the captions on. So people for whom English is a second language, I would say, close to a majority of them use the English captions to better understand the material. That’s a really big benefit to video publishers.

To give you another example, Lynda.com, L-Y-N-D-A, is a big customer of ours. They caption every single video on their site with Rev. They’ve done it for almost five years.

"If you distribute a video globally, you may want a subtitle file, which basically is a translated caption file that might show your video in a foreign country." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Dane Golden:
Just as an aside so people know what Lynda.com is if they don’t, this is a huge educational and training website that was bought by LinkedIn for like a billion dollars, or something.

Jason Chicola:
That’s right. Yeah. LinkedIn bought them for $1.5 billion. They continue … Prior to the acquisition they used us. After the acquisition, they use us even more. I have spent time with Lynda.com’s production team and asked them, “Why do you care about captions?” The number one thing they said is that, “We have customers all over the world and English is a second language,” and if they publish a video without captions, they hear about it, because those people know that they can understand the content better with captions. Whether it’s the foreign market or whether it’s people in the United States for whom English is a second language, they benefit massively from captions.

Dane Golden:
You’re talking … Lynda.com, I assume that they’re on Wistia, or Vidyard, or some other proprietary platform. But as far as from the social video perspective … We talked about YouTube, but you also have video on Facebook now, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. How are captioning … Is it evolving on these different social video platforms? What can we see there, and how is it used differently?

"A lot of people these days are watching videos on their phone and in quiet areas where they can’t hear that well. Many people turn the captions on." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Jason Chicola:
Each platform is really different. I would say that in the last five years, online video has grown by leaps and bounds, and there’s simply more places to watch video. Facebook and Instagram, platforms where video wasn’t a big deal a couple years ago are now making video a central priority. One of the reasons why these platforms are creating a demand for captions is that people use Facebook literally on the toilet, in line, in school, in meetings, okay?

Dane Golden:
Right, right.

Jason Chicola:
There are all situations where playing sound on the toilet is a little weird, playing sound in a video in a meeting is a little weird, playing it when you’re in line at the grocery store is a little weird. In all of these situations, these platforms are figuring out that the right customer experience to default to mute with the captions on. Now that’s not how YouTube works, because YouTube … There’s a presumption on YouTube that when you go there, you’re there to watch a video. When you go to Facebook, you’re just killing time, typically. These platforms are creating much greater awareness of captions and the default in norms of when captions are used are changing, depending on the platform.

Dane Golden:
Now I use the captions, after you guys transcribe them, I use them in two ways. I use them, one, as captions built in to the YouTube platform or sometimes Facebook, or I think LinkedIn is offering that now. But, also, I take those captions and I morph that into a blog post, and then I embed that video on the blog post, because I think that’s going to get twice as much SEO. It’s going to be seen one time on YouTube, but it’s also going to be more searchable on a blog post. Have you seen people doing that now that they’re making captions easier for people?

"If you want to a good laugh, just go on YouTube and type in, 'YouTube caption fail,' and you’ll see ridiculous videos that show what YouTube comes up with." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Jason Chicola:
A lot, and it’s a rapidly growing trend. There’s a couple things you said that I think are important. Certainly, you talked about SEO. Traditionally, platforms like Google aren’t great at dealing with audio. Now having the transcript allows them to index it, so that if you have a video about advertising, let’s say, and you’re talking about some new feature in AdWords, AdWords targeting, your audience may be Googling the term AdWords target, which might be in the video, but not in the title of the video. So if one of your producers who listen to this wants to get more people looking at their videos, you really do want to have the transcripts out there, so that Google can index, so that customers can find the right content at the right time.

But I would say a different way to think of it … One benefit is what we said, indexing for SEO. The other benefit is you want your content to do double duty. You worked hard to make a video. I watch videos, but sometimes I’m not in the mood for a lot of reasons. I may be in a rush. There’s some topics where I’m kind of interested, but if it’s a 10-minute video, I don’t want to watch the video. I want to read a blog post about it. Giving your listeners and viewers the opportunity to choose, “Do I want to watch the video? Do I want to read the post?” That’s going to drive higher engagement. As the guy running the channel, you don’t know which one they’re going to want, so you want to give them those options.

Dane Golden:
Give them the options.

Jason Chicola:
Being able to do double duty with content is a great idea.

Dane Golden:
Now, what is Rev trying to do differently with captions than other companies or services? How are you approaching it different, because you definitely are?

"Lynda.com caption every single video on their site with Rev." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Jason Chicola:
We make captions better, faster, and cheaper than anybody else. Prior to our entry into the market, a typical price for captions would be $3 to $4 a minute. We charge $1 per minute. Typical turnaround times for caption files would be two to four days. Our typical turnaround on a caption file for a YouTube video, which is typically short, is two to four hours, okay? Our quality is quite good. We promise accuracy over 99%. If, God forbid, we make a mistake, we offer for free, caption editing software so someone can go in and make a correction, change a word, even fix the timing.

Let me start with price. How and why is it that we are so inexpensive? We have a network of over 30,000 people that work from home. They use software that we built that allows them to caption and transcribe files extremely efficiently, saving them time. Other companies that operate in our space, that compete with us, they have much smaller networks, and their software is not very good. We started the business thinking that if we can save customers a lot of money, then they’ll be loyal to us. But more importantly, they will caption and transcribe more content, because things that at $4 didn’t make sense, make a lot more sense when they’re at $1.

Dane Golden:
Yeah, they sure do.

Jason Chicola:
We’re trying to grow the market, and we see it happening. If we only charged $4 a minute, we might be able to get broadcast customers, but the up-and-coming podcaster, the up-and-coming YouTuber with a small channel wouldn’t be able to afford it. $1 expands the market, and we’re loving that.

Dane Golden:
Now, I want to talk a little bit about some of the features that I’ve noticed and interest me. One is about having people with different accents speaking. You have this option where it can say, “Oh, someone with a Southern dialect,” or, “Someone with a British dialect or accent.” Why do you choose to offer these particular variations? What have you found by offering it?

Jason Chicola:
Sure. I’ll say a couple things about accents. The first thing I want to point out is that our competitors will typically charge more for audio with accents, and we don’t. But to answer your question specifically, we ask about accents because we want to do a good job on quality. We give our freelancers the opportunity to choose which audio they work one. Some transcriptionists or some captions have no problem with accents, like say for example a Southern accent, whereas others do. We’re giving them a heads up, so they can choose the right jobs given their skills, preferences, and abilities. What we have found is that the more information we can give them about the job, the more they’re able to self-select the ones where they can do a great job. So, ultimately, everything we do in this respect is designed to give the customer better ultimate quality.

"Giving your listeners and viewers the opportunity to choose, 'Do I want to watch the video? Do I want to read the post?' That’s going to drive higher engagement." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Dane Golden:
I noticed, and I think you’re still doing this, is that after one of your team finishes a captions for me or a transcription, I can rate it. I think you’re still doing that. What happens with that rating? Is that mean if I give a low rating, that person gets fired? Or, does that mean that if I give a low rating, that I won’t get that person again? What’s the goal of rating someone?

Jason Chicola:
There’s a couple ways we use it. First of all, as you suspect, if you give someone a low rating, which we define as a one, two, or three on a five scale. Our marketplace will prevent that person from ever claiming one of your jobs in the future. This actually can be a big deal, because many customers, especially … Let’s say one of your listeners, has 100 videos on YouTube. They create an account, they post 100 videos. Somebody might see them and say, “Oh, I like his topic,” and want to go and do 30 of them. So if you give them a bad rating, they are improving your experience by keeping that person from doing other content.

What happens is we might have a transcriptionist or captioner who’s quite good in general, but doesn’t do quite as well on your content for whatever reason. Maybe they’re not as good with the material, or with your voice, or the style of the audio. Conversely, if you give someone a five out of five, we let them know this person really liked your work. And we encourage them to mark your account as a favorite for them. What that does is that gives them not quite preferential access, but that will then, when they log in, they will first see jobs from their favorite clients. What we’ve done here through a somewhat soft mechanism, is if you give somebody a five, they will probably favorite you, and then there’s a higher likelihood that they will do more of your work in the future.

The other thing we do beyond that is if you do give someone a low score, we have a person go investigate it. We have about 10 different quality control systems in place today. Nine of them are not visible to the customer. So even if you never rated, have no fear, we have tons of quality control working behind the scenes. The customer input is one additional input. We take it seriously. We look into it. But it’s not strictly necessary. That’s said, I absolutely encourage customers to rate maybe not all, but some of the jobs, because it absolutely will lead to better performance.

"YouTube watch time tends to increase by 40% when the sound is on." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Dane Golden:
I see. Yeah. That’s interesting to me, because usually … One of the things I like about having, as you say, human captions done, and particularly by you guys, is that there’s a lot of times when you upload a video to YouTube, and the automated captions will get the word wrong that’s the new word or the very technical word that is not in its dictionary, but that’s word you want to be found for on search. I’ve been usually very impressed by your team just coming up with these very obscure words and sometimes even … As much as I hate to admit it, some of the audio that I’ve sent you guys hasn’t been that great. And you’ve been able to decipher some words by some speakers that I never would have found. It’s really been helpful to me.

It’s good to know about that rating, too, because occasionally, somebody misses a word, or even if I’ve uploaded it to … There’s an area where you can pre-describe words. If there is an error, it’s nice to know that that person will just be assigned a different job with a different type of content. I’m not putting them, necessarily, out of work. But I really have appreciated and thank you for a good quality product.

How do people get Rev and subscribe to the service?

Jason Chicola:
Sure. Customers can come to our website, Rev.com. That’s R-E-V.com. From there, they can order captions by clicking the Captions link at the top of our home page. If your customers have a YouTube channel, when they go to order captions, they’ll note that there’s two ways to do it. If they want to get a single video captioned, they can paste the URL of that video into the order box.

But if they want to caption everything on a channel, or if they want us to put the caption file into YouTube, we have a YouTube integration, which is quite popular. It’s used by many thousands of customers. This is really what we recommend. You have to provide your YouTube credentials through our service via the YouTube API. Then for whichever files you want captions for, we’ll get them done. And rather than email the captions, we will upload the completed captions to YouTube. We will also email you to confirm that it’s done. But that’s probably the easiest way for your listeners to use us via that integration, which they will find if they go to Rev.com, click Captions, and then choose the button that says, “Connect to YouTube.”

Dane Golden:
That’s very turnkey. What other websites and social media about you or Rev should people know about?

"Facebook and Instagram - platforms where video wasn’t a big deal a couple years ago - are now making video a central priority." - Jason Chicola, Rev.com

Jason Chicola:
I would point out our apps. We have three apps today. We have one called the Rev Voice Recorder, which makes it easy to record an in-person meeting and get it transcribed. We have a Rev Call Recorder, a different app that records phone calls. And we have an app called Temi, T-E-M-I, which can record meetings and give you an automated transcript, for only 10 cents a minute, that’s quite accurate.

Dane Golden:
I’ll put the links to those apps in the show notes. I only knew about one of them, so we’ll definitely do that. Jason, thank you so much for being on. Jason Chicola of Rev.com. Appreciate you being on.

Jason Chicola:
Dane, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Dane Golden:
My name is Dane Golden, and I want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. HEY.com is about helping you grow your customer community through helpful how-to videos. How do you do this? By sharing your expertise, because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you’ll earn their loyalty, and their trust, and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Jason Chicola. Please subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app, and on YouTube, and wherever you watch social video. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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