We often encourage small businesses to use video in their marketing mix. Why? Users watch and listen to a lot of media. And that usage is only going to grow. Despite this growing love of video and audio, there is one use of video nearly everyone hates. It’s called autoplay. It’s that way some websites play Jack-in-the-Box with video and audio on their website. Instead of letting users decide if they want to see a video, autoplay starts playing one as soon as a user lands on the website; before we’ve even clicked on the right-pointing triangle “play” arrow .
If you have autoplay video on your website, both Apple Safari and Google Chrome have a suggestion for you: Stop. However, even if you don’t stop, they are going to enable users to take control of when and what plays.
According to Mounir Lamouri, a Google software engineer, the biggest user complaint Google Chrome receives is “unexpected audioplay.” And it’s not just an annoying feature, According to Lamouri, autoplay “can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing.”
Starting in Google’s Chrome 64 (scheduled release date, Jan., 2018), autoplay will be allowed when either the media won’t play sound, or the user has indicated an interest in the media. According to Lamouri, this will allow autoplay to occur when users want media to play, and respect users’ wishes when they don’t. (How to turn off autoplay in Apple’s Safari web browser.)
Bottomline: Your customers like video. However, they don’t like video until they want to see it. In response to complaints, the web browser developers are turning-over more control to users regarding when media files start playing. Starting in January, Chrome will only allow automatic playback if the videos are muted by default, or if they meet Google’s criteria showing that users are actually interested in the content.