Increase Viewing Time of Your Videos with Subtitles

When you spend so much time creating content, you really hope people look at it, and even better, they enjoy it. It’s hard with so much content being generated to grab the attention of someone long enough to make a lasting impression. And yet, there are businesses out there finding great success in social media posts and advertising online. A part of this success is understanding how people are taking in content online. Studies show that 87% of Americans watch videos as part of their online usage. And although studies also show that viewers retain only 10% when they read and 95% when they view, they also show that 70-80% of video is viewed without sound. (LinkedIn)

What this says is video is still the leading way to gain people’s attention. If you just have text, the likelihood that someone will retain that information is about 10%. If you have subtitles added to your video, even if people watch it with no sound, they will still be able to read what the video is about and you can add 12% more viewing time to your videos. The visual nature of the video grabs their attention, the words help them to know the context and stay engaged. Also, if you’re looking to be inclusive, having subtitles opens up your content to be more accessible, creating a welcoming feel for those that might not otherwise have been able to enjoy your content.

So whether you are creating a long-format video for youtube or a short format video or Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or maybe a stories video or Reel, the theory is all the same… video grabs the attention of users far more than other types of content. Adding subtitles to your videos gives you an even better chance of keeping the user engaged and watching your content.

There are several different ways to add subtitles to a video, but first, you have to convert audio to text. You can either do this yourself by listening to the video’s audio and typing it out, or you can use a converter.  You can also hire someone to transcribe the audio, but these blogs (meaning the one you are reading) are really about giving you the tools to do things yourself. So, I won’t be going into detail about hiring someone for this kind of work. If you have enough funds to hire someone, you probably aren’t reading this blog anyway!

On a personal note, I started out using 360 Converter and for the most part like it.  I still have the trial version and I use it for some short-form videos. However, I have started listening and typing out my own text right in Filmora (affiliate link).  For a short video under 5 minutes, this isn’t too tedious. I think if I were creating longer videos, I would buy the license for 360 Converter. As I have mentioned before in other blogs, time is money and time is happiness. 

So how do you get text from an audio file? Here are my suggestions:

Use a voice to text converter

Both are decent at being accurate, assuming you are articulate and there isn’t much background noise. Each of these versions can give you a timestamp for the text, this makes it easier to cut and paste into Filmora.

Write out the audio conversion yourself

  • If you used a script to record, most the work is already done!
  • Listen to the text and type it out in a document or right in Filmora. I recommend only doing this method if you are a fast and accurate typist.

Now, you either have text typed out or you chose to use the last method and have text typed into Filmora.  In either case, you are ready to add subtitles to Filmora!

Tips and Advice:

  • Tip One: There are a lot of different aesthetic options for subtitles and I recommend sticking with one or two versions. This keeps your videos cohesive and streamlined. There are a lot of cool things you CAN do with subtitles, however, the goal of subtitles is to make your video more accessible so leave the fancy “I know how to do cool edits” techniques out.
  • Tip Two: You can move the subtitle in the preview screen. Just click it (should have dotted lines around it) and drag it to where you want it.  Depending on what is at the very bottom of your video, this might not be the ideal location for your subtitles, though this is usually where they are placed.  Consider your content and find a place that works for the entire video.
  • Tip Three: Once you have edited the location of the first one, to keep them all in the same area, copy the first one. Move the red line to the next section, paste, edit, repeat.
  • Tip Four: Watch the amount of text you add to a subtitle. The text doesn’t wrap. Keep the text short, then press enter to start a new line and add more.  Ideally the text should be all the same size throughout the video.

Add Subtitles you got from a converter program/app

  1. Go to the file where you have the text from the audio file.
    • Copy the first part of text. 
    • If you used the option to use the time stamp, notice the start and end time of the text.
  2. Open Filmora and add your video to the edit area.
  3. Open up or expand the video so  you can see the audio variations clearly.
  4. I prefer to detach the video from the audio, that is a personal preference. I find it easier to edit different pieces.
    • If you want to detach the audio from the video, click on the audio portion.
    • Right click to show the menu.
    • Click detach audio.
  5. Click on Titles in the menu bar.
  6. Click on Subtitles, pick a subtitle. I use Subtitle 1 or Subtitle 4.  Review Tip One!
    • Subtitle 1 is a solid black background with white text.
    • Subtitle 4 is a less opaque black background with white text.
    • There are others you can choose. To make it easier for next time, click the heart to add it to Favorites.
  7. Click and drag the subtitle above the video in a new track.
    • You will want the start time to be the same or nearly the same as the time stamp of the audio to text file. You can get more precise by moving the red line to exactly the start place and dragging the subtitle down into the track next to the red line.
    • If your red line is exactly where you want the subtitle, you can click the green square plus on the subtitle thumbnail and it will be added right at the place the red line is on the timeline.
    • You can then click and drag to move.
    • You can also click and drag the back end to adjust the time the subtitle is seen.
  8. Double click the subtitle you just added in the track, the upper left area will change to the subtitle text so you can edit it. You will also see the subtitle over the video in the preview.
  9. Paste the text into the subtitle edit area (upper left quadrant). Pay attention to Top Four!
  10. Make a another subtitle for the next portion of text, see Tip Three!
  11. Repeat the addition of subtitles and editing until you are done.

Adding Subtitles to Video in Filmora  (typing out the audio)

  1. Open Filmora and add your video to the edit area.
  2. Open up or expand the video so  you can see the audio variations clearly.
  3. I prefer to detach the video from the audio, that is a personal preference. I find it easier to edit different pieces.
    • If you want to detach the audio from the video, click on the audio portion.
    • Right click to show the menu.
    • Click detach audio.
  4. Move the red line to the be right when the audio starts.
  5. Click on Titles in the menu bar.
  6. Click on Subtitles, pick a subtitle. I use Subtitle 1 or Subtitle 4.  Review Tip One!
    • Subtitle 1 is a solid black background with white text.
    • Subtitle 4 is a less opaque black background with white text.
    • There are others you can choose. To make it easier for next time, click the heart to add it to Favorites.
  7. Click and drag the subtitle above the video in a new track.
    • If your red line is exactly where you want the subtitle, you can click the green square plus on the subtitle thumbnail and it will be added right at the place the red line is on the timeline.
    • You can then click and drag to move.
    • You can also click and drag the back end to adjust the time the subtitle is seen.
  8. Double click the subtitle you just added in the track, the upper left area will change to the subtitle text so you can edit it. You will also see the subtitle over the video in the preview.
  9. Move the red line back slightly, press play. Click in the edit area of the subtitle, that is the upper left area. As the audio plays, type the text. 
  10. Repeat the addition of subtitles and editing until you are done.

Watch and listen to your video several times, adjust the subtitles as needed.


Adding subtitles can feel like you just walked into a yoga class for the first time; challenging and not everything goes the way you thought it would. That’s ok! I highly recommend working on a short-form video, under two minutes, to get practice adding subtitles. Once you do it a few times, it gets easier. As I said, I started using an audio converter and now I mostly add subtitles to my videos directly in Filmora. It is all about personal preference and what works with the amount of time you have available.


Happy editing! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.


*This post contains affiliate links. When you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Your support is appreciated.


Hi! I’m Carolyn.

I help small business owners manifest their destiny through functional business coaching and social media management. My passion is helping people discover their greatness. If you are seeking a better life full of happiness and joy and an abundance of success, let’s talk. Your best life is waiting.

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