May 15, 2024
Min Read

What’s a Watermark? When and How You Should Use One

Uncover what a watermark is and its diverse applications. Learn how to create a watermark for videos with the Captions app.

Image being edited with a watermark selected

Content creation takes hard work and creativity — and it can be really frustrating if you don’t get the credit you deserve because someone steals your ideas. Digital watermarks use superimposed patterns or signatures to showcase ownership, safeguarding your content from unauthorized use.

Read on to discover what a watermark is, including how and when to use it.

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What Does “Watermark” Mean?

A digital watermark is a superimposed marker embedded into an image, video, or audio file. Watermarks appear as a pattern, text, signature, code, or icon, depending on their purpose and source file. Some are visible, while others require software to detect. 

You can find watermarks in familiar places:

  • Photographs — Likely the most common watermark example, stock images and professional photographs often feature these marks across the entire image. 
  • Videos — Creators usually put watermarks in spots like the bottom corner or last clip so viewers can watch videos freely, which maximizes engagement
  • Documents — Official documents use watermark seals to indicate legitimacy or text seals to identify state, such as “Draft,” “Under Review,” or “Final Version.” 
  • Currency — Currency watermarks identify legal tender, typically appearing as a faint portrait or image when you expose a paper banknote to light. 
  • Digital media — You can find watermarks with the creator or purchaser’s information on various digital media content, including visual art, graphic designs, and eBooks. 
An image with watermarks across it

What’s the Purpose of a Watermark?

Digital watermarks serve the following critical functions.

Copyright Protection

Watermarks safeguard your intellectual property from thieves. If someone takes your content and claims it as their own, proof of ownership means you might be able to sue the offender for copyright infringement. Threatening legal action deters people from pirating your work without paying and ensures you have grounds to seek monetary losses in civil court. 

Content Attribution

You receive recognition and credit when people share or circulate your content, and watermarks ensure viewers know when the material is yours. This acknowledgment helps you track your material’s reach and efficacy so you can attribute conversions and shares to specific work. Leveraging this attribution data provides valuable insight into how people interact with your content. 


Watermarks reinforce your brand identity by raising your content’s visibility. Adding a signature or logo to your YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels helps users recognize your content. This generates more leads, subscribers, and conversions as previously unfamiliar viewers seek more of your work. 

Authenticity Verification

Digital watermarks help you maintain your content’s authenticity and integrity. You can check them to determine if someone tampered with or altered documents or images. This ability to accurately assess content integrity is critical for situations requiring trust and credibility, such as when you share digital certificates or official documents. 

Forensic Tracking

Forensic watermarking involves embedding imperceptible, hard-to-remove code into your digital media that lets you gather details about people who view, access, or share your content. This data allows you to track your material’s movements across digital environments, revealing individuals who leak or alter your content without permission. You can use this data in legal action against anyone who misused your work or alert your fans about a breach, in turn protecting your brand’s integrity. 

What’s a Watermark on a Video, Photo, or Other Media Used For?

Whether you create TikTok videos or practice photography, watermarking is useful across different media types, including the following.


Watermarks on official documents appear as faded background images behind the text. Embedding one on a contract, certificate, or legal paperwork safeguards sensitive information — an intact mark confirms a document’s validity, while a broken or missing one signals tampering or a security breach. 


Photographers often watermark photos displayed on public websites to prevent people from downloading and reusing the images without permission. Although you can use small signatures for branding, larger ones offer better protection because they’re more difficult to crop or remove. Pay close attention to your watermark’s position, size, and design to avoid negatively altering the focal points on your images. 


Creators use audio watermarks to claim copyright ownership over a song or audio file. Applying them involves layering distinct signals within a larger signal frequency, rendering the watermark undetectable to humans. It’s challenging to forcefully remove an audio watermark without corrupting the entire file, which helps them survive various attacks and remain intact.


Publishers often overlay watermarks in eBooks and other digital media to acknowledge ownership. These marks may include details like the purchaser’s personal information and the author or publisher’s copyright protection. Watermarking digital media allows authors and publishing companies to track unauthorized use and identify pirates who distribute licensed materials. 


The video industry primarily uses watermarking to protect against content theft, unauthorized distribution, and copyright infringement. Video watermarking embeds digital signatures into video frames — these contain your copyright information or brand logo, and are visible for branding purposes or invisible for maintaining copyright information.

Customize your watermark in just a few clicks

Customize your watermark in just a few clicks

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How To Make a Watermark for Your Videos: 4 Steps

Your video content deserves protection — use Captions to automatically or manually add watermarks by following these four steps. 

1. Design Your Watermark

Determine what you want your mark to display, such as your logo, website URL, or social media handle. Many apps like Canva and Adobe offer free tools for designing watermarks. Adjust the color grading, size, font, and pattern to match your brand image. 

If you choose a pre-made design as your watermark, check the design’s info on your chosen app or search design registers to make sure it’s free to use.

2. Add the Watermark to Your Content

Open the Captions app on your mobile device or desktop and navigate to your video project. Then, import the watermark from its saved location and add it to your video timeline. 

3. Customize Your Watermark

Edit your watermark’s appearance and position to maximize efficacy. You can drag it to your preferred location and determine its size, angle, and transition effects. 

For optimized viewing, consider placing your watermark in the video’s top or bottom corner so it doesn’t cover any added captions or other video effects. Decide if you want it to be visible for the whole video or only at the end, and revise the media accordingly. 

4. Save and Export

Once you finish positioning the watermark, save and export the edited video project and upload the content to your preferred video streaming site or social media profile. If you don’t have a Captions subscription, you can remove the watermark before exporting your content. 

Screenshot of Captions app feature that can be used to add a watermark

Elevate Your Brand With Captions

It’s never been easier to make quality content you're proud of with the help of Captions. Including a watermark can help protect your work and your brand. With Captions, you can automatically or manually add your logo, social media handle, or signature to videos and other digital media. You can edit your videos at home or on the go in the Captions app, leveraging its AI tools to take the guesswork out of content creation. 

Try Captions today and discover how easy (and safe) content creation can be.

May 15, 2024
Min Read
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