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Ask a Designer: Should I Have an Autoplay Video on my Homepage?

Design, General Marketing, Video, Video Marketing, Website 0 Comments

According to HubSpot, including a video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in their decision process, and one-third of all online activity is spent watching video.

But when it comes to autoplay videos, most marketing professionals recommend not having them at all. Why the disconnect between video marketing and autoplay videos? We sat down with one of our designers, Ryan, to find out.

First, what is an autoplay video?

Ryan: An autoplay video is what it sounds like – a video that plays automatically without the user having to click play. These videos are often used on website homepages as a way to draw attention or express information right away.

So why do marketers advocate against these types of videos?

Ryan: There are many reasons why marketers and designers shy away from autoplay videos, but some of the main ones are that the videos often slow down the page loading speed, they create too much for your viewer to think about, and they are often viewed as intrusive.

First, an autoplaying video will slow down your homepage load time, which is a very important factor when keeping visitors on your site. As page load times increase, so do page abandonment percentages, according to this infographic from Kissmetrics. Every second counts, so you shouldn’t sabotage this conversion possibility with an autoplay video.

There is also something in the website world we call “cognitive load.” For our purposes (we’re marketers, not psychologists!), cognitive load refers to the amount of effort a visitor has to go through to do something on your site. Whether it is clicking a call to action, scheduling a meeting, or signing up for a newsletter, you want to make it as easy as possible for your visitor to take action.

Videos often create more cognitive load and therefore, less completed actions. Good user experience rests on reducing the cognitive load of your users. They should be able to complete actions in a frictionless, stress-free way.

Lastly, autoplay videos are often see as intrusive or annoying. Imagine you’re sitting in a quiet doctor’s office, library, or conference room. While surfing the web, you stumble upon a web page that has an autoplay video. Your phone or computer volume is all the way up, the video plays, and you are instantly the center of unwanted attention. Chances are, you are going to exit that web page as fast as possible to end the embarrassment.

You can quickly see the problem – that company just lost a website visitor because of their annoying video and will likely not see them again.

So what do you suggest instead?

Ryan: Video marketing is undoubtedly valuable, when used strategically. Instead of having autoplay videos, try adding videos on other pages of your website and make them optional to watch. I know the FMG Suite and Advisor Launchpad content libraries have hundreds of user-friendly videos that financial advisors sprinkle throughout their website to share information in a quick and fun way. This is a great way to use videos in your marketing materials.

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