You’re scrolling on your phone when an interesting video appears. It’s 5:30, and you’re on the subway home. Almost instinctively, you flip the switch on your phone to ensure it’s on silent, and then press play. You don’t want to be that person who accidentally starts a video where a video shouldn’t be started.

*queue the endless scroll of silent videos*

Volume Down, Down, Down

Regardless where you are no one likes a sudden outburst of sound escaping their phone and the slight embarrassment that follows. When a person watches a video, they’re viewing three things: words, images and audio. Among these three mediums, audio plays the smallest role in “how” we perceive information because it’s not as directly linked to what we see, it’s linked to how it makes us feel.

When a video goes viral, people look for a reason why it’s popular. Some say it’s because of the actors, some say it’s because of the writing or directing, and some simply attribute popularity to luck. However, there is one thing that links all of these shared videos together: they can be viewed without sound.

An Ecosystem of Silent Videos

Facebook has built a video ecosystem that doesn’t require users to turn up volumes. 85% of videos on facebook are being viewed without sound. Most people’s news feeds now sport short videos with text or captions narration what’s shown on screen; these usually feature background music but also allow for easy consumption without needing sound turned fully ON in order watch them.

Need an example?

The video recipes from Buzzfeed’s Tasty are some of the most popular on social media. Their short, easy-to follow tutorials have been viewed more than 80 million times and counting! One way they do this well is with great visuals that promising viewers will be able to produce delicious treats at home after watching just one time through these fun little clips.

8 Second Rule

In 2019, it was estimated that a person would only pay attention to something for eight seconds if they’re not captivated (some are now saying it’s only 3 seconds). But video actually helps us capture the attention of people more quickly. The truth though? You can hold someone’s interest much longer than you might think with great storytelling skills and great visuals. Don’t sweat your audio – most aren’t listening anyways.