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Kirk Loftin

Should You Include Audio in Your Video?

Videos are made up of two main components: the visuals and the audio. But, in a time where auto-play videos are muted on social media, what’s the best way to effectively use audio in your videos so that your message isn’t lost on mute, but is improved when included? How do you know which options are right for you to use for audio in your video content? 


Consider what would make your video the best, given no restrictions. If your video is of your kid’s piano recital, audio is absolutely necessary. If it’s to show off dominoes falling into the shape of a Mario riding Yoshi, then not so much. A step by step instruction video needs audio if you have a person saying each step, with on-screen text, not so much. Be aware of what your video needs to get your message across. In other words: know what your video is. 


Visuals with No Audio

Sometimes, audio is absolutely necessary. Think about a music video (any music video). Mute it and see if it’s nearly as good (although you could make an argument for the incredible visuals in OK GO’s music videos). Video without audio puts all of the weight of the video on the visuals. But with audio, a video is enhanced and made more memorable. Most social media auto-plays videos muted, meaning the user has to turn on the sound manually to hear that. If you’re posting to social media, is your video going to make the impact you want even if it’s muted?


Audio with No Visuals

Is it possible to have a video without visuals and just audio? Sure, look up at podcast on YouTube. If there’s a video it’s either just a camera pointed at the person’s face talking into the mic, or a still image of the podcast logo. Yet these YouTube videos can get millions of views. It’s very unlikely that this is the kind of video you need, unless you’re a record label releasing a new song that doesn’t have a music video yet (but even then those are being replaced by lyric videos).  


Videos with Both Audio and Visuals

For marketing purposes, usually the best option for video content is to create a video that works as a video without audio (for the formats that are auto-muted like Instagram or Facebook), but that includes audio that makes it even better for those that can hear it. I know this seems like a tall order (“just do everything great!”), but as long as you plan out for this kind of video, it’s not as difficult to achieve as it initially seems. 


The key, as it is with a lot of things in business and marketing, is to plan ahead. Know what you need from your video, what message you’re trying to get across. Know what your audience will actually experience (don’t post an audio-necessary video on a platform that mutes video). It’s okay to tell people “hey, make sure to turn on the sound!” if your video needs it (just don’t ask for this if it isn’t necessary, that’ll backfire). The bottom line is that you want your visuals and your audio to marry in a way that leave your viewers riveted, engaged, informed, and if possible, amazed.

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