This one Instagram video trick could drastically improve engagement

Why your Instagram video needs subtitles, and how to do it.

Over 1 billion Instagram users each month

Over one billion people use instagram every month, and half of those are engaging with Instagram Stories (Source: Hootsuite, 2020). If you own a brand or you help with the marketing of one, if you are not utilizing Instagram to market your business, then you are surely leaving money on the table. 

But what format actually works on that platform?

Videos are more effective on Instagram because they can hold your audience’s attention for longer. The brand imprint is more effective. It’s important to note that engagement might be higher on an image because of the scrolling nature of Instagram. However, the onset of IGTV and stories trains the average Instagram user to hold their attention-to-post ratio longer. 

All that being said, having video isn’t a game changer – unless people are actually watching those videos. In 2020, a large percentage of users are still using Instagram with the sound off. There are several reasons why a user might be using Instagram with the sound off. Perhaps they might be viewing their social media feeds in areas where it is difficult to listen, or they simply don’t want to have the noise in the background, or the environment they are in is not conducive for it. Regardless of the reason, if your video on instagram does not have subtitles, it will be scrolled over (literally!) and the content you put so much effort into making will be wasted. 

That is why, in order to be effective at Instagram video – whether in stories, feed – or IGTV – you’ll want to include subtitles for the user.  Unlike Youtube, Instagram currently does not offer this function.  

Tools to help you generate video subtitles

As someone that renders videos for brands, Kapwing is a platform that has helped us countless times. You simply upload your video, and utilize the video editing tools. The platform is completely free up until 500 MB of video or less than 10 minutes of content. You can remove the Kapwing watermark – even in the free version. 

Here’s a step by step breakdown on how to add subtitles to your video using Kapwing:

  1. Go to in your browser
  2. Have your video easily accessible on your desktop
  3. Drag video file and drop it onto the are where it says “upload”
  4. Select “Subtitles” across the top navigation to utilize the video function that creates subtitles.
  5. Inside the “subtitles” section, select the green button that says “Auto-generate”. Allow a couple minutes (depending on your video file size) for the AI to read your video and generate subtitles.
  6. You’ll want to edit the copy for spelling or words that were perhaps misheard
  7. Select the red “Done” button when finished
  8. Select “Publish” and wait for the software to render your video without watermark
  9. Download or share to Instagram as you see fit

Need help with your Instagram?

If you are a brand looking for help on your Instagram videos, or Instagram in general we’d love to chat. Send a note to sam[at] or  team[at] for more information.