Autoplay is Great Way to Deliver A Message

When Instagram introduced muted autoplay in 2013, it rocked the tech world. Empowered with the capability of scrolling through a feed without calling attention to oneself, users could peruse content on the subway, in a meeting or on a date, with their companions or colleagues none the wiser.

Facebook soon took note, and began offering the same feature. But for publishers, the move wasn’t so clear cut. If viewers weren’t obligated to watch the content, how could advertising spend and viewership be billed?

While the kinks are still being worked out, it’s become clear that autoplay is a great way for publishers to deliver a message. The format is informative, engaging and unobtrusive. It offers users the option to turn off the feature on mobile, if they might get billed for data usage.

As publishers have recently wrestled with how to handle muted autoplay, other entities and ad agencies have taken note.

Channels on Facebook, such as Tasty, feature autoplay videos that immediate capture the viewer’s attention, and in two minutes can teach people how to cook a creative dish. Before Halloween, the page curators posted a 2:29-second video that showed how to create and bake an entire Halloween-themed meal, and linked to the full recipe so users could find more information.



Additionally, in September of this year, Hillary Clinton’s campaign introduced an ad that made great use of muted autoplay. The 59-second spot began immediately with a caption that read: “You can leave this ad muted--there’s nothing to hear,” and featured a man speaking in sign language.

These ads encapsulate breakthrough moments for publishers that have struggled to encourage viewers to watch their ads on news sites and social media. While muted autoplay is a beloved feature by consumers and can encourage them to return to the publisher’s site, it’s relatively new terrain.

Here are three ways for publishers to capitalize on this feature to maximize viewership and engagement:

Captions are Your Friends

As many publishers have begun practicing captions, they’ve seen increased dividends and interaction from viewers. Each Facebook video autoplays on silent, allowing advertisers to capture the user’s attention and entice them to continue watching, so publishers can encourage content creators to keep users on the page.

Make It Native!

Autoplay videos have a lot of potential to disrupt the user experience and frustrate viewers -- if they’re not done correctly. Using a native video platform, publishers can keep the UX clean and boost monetization without frustrating consumers. Native video can result in an 82% higher brand lift compared with pre-roll advertising. For example, Sharethrough has claimed that publishers are considering supporting video on their sites, because they can demand direct-sold native Cost Per Thousands (CPMs) that are 70% to 120% above pre-roll CPMs, according to VentureBeat.

Filter It

Viewers have short attention spans, and you’re competing with everyone else for your audience’s attention. If it doesn’t fit, your ad won’t be it. Keep the advertisement relevant, targeted and demographic-appropriate. But don’t just target the consumers: target the content itself. Is the video 15 seconds long? Then is that 45-second Swiffer spot really necessary? Curate carefully.

Muted autoplay is relatively new terrain, and there is uncharted territory that has yet to be explored.

It’s clear that autoplay is having a moment, and consumers, publishers and advertisers tend to all be in favor. While the future of autoplay has yet to be set, for now it’s here to stay. Publishers can maximize their returns using the steps above. Go forth and create!


1 comment about "Autoplay is Great Way to Deliver A Message".
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  1. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, October 28, 2016 at 7:14 p.m.

    Let me guess David, your company produces native video content that I am sure is somehow "scaleable" -- when I first read your headline I thought it was a joke and then I read the column and there was no punch line.  Autoplay -- sound or no sound -- is the symbol for what's wrong with our industry -- no concern for user and their experience -- just hyperbole that pretends to feign interest in the consumer while the clear and only focus is how we can charge an advertiser as quickly as possible.  Thanks for ending the week on such a dumb note. 

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