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AutoPlay or Not? That is the Video Question.

Web Usability | Website Design | Posted on Mar 2, 2013 | Last updated on July 6, 2022

auto-playAutoplay is when a video starts to play automatically when you land on a web page or landing page. There are many very strong opinions on this. While I was doing research for this post, I was amazed at how universally disliked autoplay is by most web users.

Manual play or click to play is the standard used by most websites today.

Most visitors feel that it is inconsiderate to not allow them the right to control their online experience. They view it as obnoxious when a video plays automatically, especially in office situations.

On the flip side, many businesses invest substantial sums of money in producing quality videos. They want to ensure that their videos are watched. They are more likely to favor autoplay.

So what do published studies show? Does autoplay increase bounce rates because people leave quickly? Does it improve conversion rates because more people see your videos?

I went searching for results from studies rather than just opinions. I spent over 2 hours searching. I found hundreds of opinions, but very few studies with data. This is clearly an emotional issue with only limited data published.

  1. Over 95% of the opinions were against auto play. In general visitors hated autoplay. I found no comments or postings from users that liked them. Most compared them to being as annoying as pop-ups. I found some marketers that swear by autoplay.
  2. I found a 2009 StomperNet study that showed that an autoplay video at the “add to cart” point increases conversion rates slightly. While manual play videos reduced cart abandonment from 37% to 5%.
  3. Report from EyeView has seen autoplay both hurt and sometimes help conversion rates and encourages A/B testing. They saw one client experience a 20% improvement in conversions with autoplay.
  4. Found on Warrior Forum, A/B split test results on an opt-in page had 9.7% conversion rate with autoplay and a 41.2% conversion rate with click-to-play. This shows a huge loss in conversions from autoplay.
  5. Andrew Angus did an A/B split test and found no increase in conversion when the video auto played.

Most web visitors have a strongly negative opinion against autoplay. Reported conversion results are mixed  so your results may vary and you should definitely test using A/B split testing.

Anyone have results they would like to share?

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