Social video text highlight strategy explained

Text overlay is a key strategy in social media video because it makes content accessible for all users, including those who are hearing-impaired and those who may not have access to audio devices in the moment.

Highlighting the right words in that text is a strategy for keeping viewers focused on the important facts and helping them to read the text at a glance while they also enjoy the visuals.

Here are some guidelines for making the most out of this strategy:

  1. Start with a great visual before your first text appears.
  2. Use big, bold text. No more than 3 lines in the bottom 1/3 of the screen. I prefer sans-serif.
  3. Leave the text up on the screen about 1 second longer than it takes you to read it.
  4. Use just two colors: White or black for the regular text and a bright color for the highlighted text.
  5. Outer glow is better than drop shadow, because it will help your text stand out from the background on all sides.
  6. Use more than just quotation marks to make it clear when something is a quote, but don’t use your highlight color. Try italics or sentence case lettering.
  7. Try not to highlight more than half of the words in a single slide.
  8. Pick the highlighted words or phrases carefully. They should be the key elements of the slide, and readable on their own. For example: “The nation’s oldest hardware store, a piece of Massachusetts history, is going out of business” can also be read with only the highlights as “Nation’s oldest hardware store, going out of business.”

Here are some of my recent examples where I used this strategy: