Silent Videos – Where and How to Use Them?

In this post we’ll look at 10 best practices and tips to create effective and engaging silent videos!

Elisabetta Severoni
Content Marketing Silent Videos - Where and How to Use Them?

Table of contents

If we look back in history—more than 100 years ago—the history of video, from the Lumière brothers onward, was born silent. Therefore, it’s perhaps surprising that, in today’s realm of digital video marketing, silent videos are back on center stage and more important than ever. 

Why? It’s a matter of user habits and preferences, which are well explained by this data: 

  • According to a study by Verizon, 92% of online users watch videos in silent mode and half of them rely on captioning to understand the message they contain. According to the same research, people expect to find captions in tips and tricks videos (55%), those focused on food (53%), and those related to news (52%). (source: 
  • Around 85% of Facebook videos are played in silent mode. (source: 
  • As a result, 74% of companies that make videos optimize them for silent auto-play which is the mode in which they play initially on social networks, but, increasingly, also on different sites and platforms. (source: 
  • Also notable is this more specific and interesting data concerning LinkedIn. Here, video content optimized for silent viewing is 70% more likely to be viewed to the end. (source: 
  • Finally, it’s interesting to take a look at the videos that recorded the most views in 2022. In particular, those that worked best on TikTok, the social network that has experienced the most impressive growth in recent years, especially among younger users. Doing so, we can see that, in virtually all cases, videos work perfectly even without the audio.

So, let’s start by answering the first question in the title of this post: where to use silent videos? 

The most succinct answer is: everywhere, on every platform, and on every channel. More specifically, silent videos are absolutely essential on social networks (even more so than on YouTube), because the viewing experience is both quick and undemanding. 

Just think of how often we watch video reels on Instagram, even if only to pass the time between our next call, an appointment, while waiting for the subway…note: these views most often happen in silent mode. 

Given these premises, we will focus on the 10 best practices for creating effective and functional silent videos in the rest of this post. 

1. Think visually 

Let’s start with something obvious (at least on a superficial level): when a video is viewed without audio, in addition to the absence of dialog, voice overs, and thus spoken storytelling, the impact of music and sound effects more generally is also missed. We must be well aware of this limitation in order to turn it into a strength. 

Warning: it’s not just a matter of captioning! 

Text is important, but it plays a non-primary role in the script of a silent video. It’s very important, therefore, to plan and reason visually, focusing on the “rhythm” of the video, even when it’s very short. Pay particular attention to scene changes, which cannot rely on sound elements, yet still need to be clearly identifiable. 

Also, you’ll want to make sure that the brand is recognizable—and this can be achieved with great attention to graphics and a coordinated image. 

2. Create self-explanatory content 

Remember: if you want to convey a feeling of serenity, you can’t lean on any background music. The same is true if, on the contrary, you want to convey a sense of mystery, anticipation, suspense, or drama just to name a few examples. 

Again, it’s a matter of atmospheres and feelings that must be conveyed visually, as well as, of course, with the support of captioning and textual inserts. 

3. The role of subtitles 

Subtitles are the most obvious and straightforward solution that comes to mind when talking about silent videos. When there is dialog and voice overs, subtitles are a virtually indispensable solution (and there are many automatic systems that facilitate them). 

Beware, however: subtitles are a fallback solution for those who want to make video content that was originally created to be listened to as well (think of an interview, for example). Certainly, however, subtitles don’t have the same communicative power as captioning or other devices that are implemented for videos that are designed to be viewed in silent mode from the outset. 

4. Pay attention to the very first few seconds of the video 

Social networks are digital arenas where the competition to capture people’s attention is fierce. Video marketers know this very well. In our experience as users, just think of the enormous amount of stimuli that hit us as soon as we open the Instagram app, for example. 

In the midst of this myriad of inputs, brands are faced with the challenge of getting people to spend time on their video. There is a now-famous Microsoft study that showed how people, on average, end up losing attention after just 8 seconds (source:  So, everything is at stake in this very short period of time: it’s in these crucial seconds that the user decides whether to continue viewing or to move on to something else. 

This challenge becomes even more complex in the case of silent videos. Any advice? 

Start with strong, surprising hooks: captioning that takes the form of direct questions to the viewer, for example. Narrative openings, even silent ones, that create suspense and anticipation. Callbacks to current events. Promises. Provocations. All, of course, always thinking strictly visually. 

5. Prioritize a short format

On this blog of ours, we have often insisted on the importance of adopting both short form and long form videos in your video marketing mix. Both types are very useful, and – contrary to what we often hear – brevity is not necessarily the best solution. 

In the case of silent videos, however, things are sharper: a short format is better. The reasons are very simple: a long video without dialog, music, sound effects, can be very difficult to follow. 

6. Make sure that graphics are front and center 

In a video that takes advantage of audio, the graphic part can also be very sidelined, take up little space, and be relegated only to the end.  When making silent videos, on the other hand, the graphics and typography take on great importance-so give them their proper space. And don’t forget that most viewers will play your video with a smartphone, thus with a screen just a few centimeters in size! 

7. Incorporate animations 

We talked about captioning, graphics, and subtitles: in short, visual elements that are capable of supporting the storytelling and understanding of the message without audio. 

In this direction, animations are one of the most interesting and engaging solutions for the audience. By inserting them, you can achieve an excellent increase in the effectiveness of your messages, as well as a definite rise in the perceived quality of the video.  

8. Memes: why not? 

We all know about memes: they were born in the digital world and they quickly became popular, also becoming a powerful marketing tool if you know how to make the most of them. 

Think about it: the strength of memes also lies in their being self-contained, disorienting, and extremely succinct. Including them in a video that is viewed without sound, can be a great idea. 

Of course, it all depends on your brand identity, and the goals and target audience for your video. 

9. Ideate and produce from an omnichannel perspective 

This is a more technical best practice that is absolutely critical and must come upstream of the entire ideation and production phase of any video marketing campaign. We’re talking about the need for your videos to be optimized for any type of device, giving priority to mobile: because the vast majority of videos are viewed from mobile and silent videos all the more so. 

Optimization, then, must address the platforms themselves through which videos are distributed. There are big differences, both technical and stylistic, for videos posted on a company’s site versus those on a news site, or those featured on YouTube versus Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or more. 

Each channel has its own rules and best practices, and your silent videos must be able to adapt in the most automated way possible. 

10. Turn silent videos into an interactive dialog

Here, we come to the last point, which more than a best practice, constitutes a great opportunity. Silent videos cannot take advantage of speech, but they can turn into a great opportunity for dialog between company and user. 

How? By implementing interactivity

Even better: by leveraging data analytics to learn about the characteristics of each individual recipient and adapting accordingly and automatically. 

Personalized and interactive videos are the real breakthrough in video marketing because they simultaneously break two paradigms: that of the one-to-many message and of the one-way communication. How to make this type of video? 

By relying on specialized platforms such as the one offered by BabeleeLearn more about the opportunities offered by the Babelee Video Platform in the dedicated page!

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