Auto-playing videos may seem like an okay idea at a first glance. But were you aware that having these videos on your website drastically affects the way viewers use your website? No one wants to be bombarded by videos that they weren’t looking for and it’s advisable to avoid adding an auto-playing video onto your website in order to provide an enjoyable user experience. Whether you’re an agency or you’re a video production service, we break down the reasons why you shouldn’t have an auto-playing homepage video!
Videos slow down web pages
Your website landing page plays a crucial role in whether or not visitors stay on your website for longer than five seconds. If the page on your website to load takes longer than people prefer, they automatically move to close the tab and move on to the next.
Audiences look for optimal website performance and if your website performs poorly and takes time to load, this would make visitors feel compelled to leave your page. It takes only a matter of seconds for visitors to decide whether or not they want to stay on a page for long and auto-playing videos that slow down your landing page will affect this drastically.
Auto-playing videos distract from your CTA
When users stumble upon an auto-playing video, they tend to get distracted and will ignore your main call to action. You want your visitor to take the desired actions on your website but this may not happen when you include auto-playing videos on your landing page. The goal of your homepage is to send users onto different pages on your website and persuade them to complete your CTA. For the most part, an auto-playing video simply encourages users to stay on your landing page to watch said video, distracting them from the real purpose.
It increases Cognitive Load
In Psychology, Cognitive Load refers to the mental effort needed to carry out a task. A good user experience that’s caused by a good interface will reduce the cognitive load, making it easier for users to navigate through your website. Including an auto-playing video on your homepage will increase the cognitive load – fast-moving or flashing images in the background distract users and make it harder to identify the information they are specifically looking for. A good user interface will reduce the hassle users would go through when faced with an auto-playing video.
Users have less control
When users visit a homepage and are automatically forced to watch a video, they’re not in control of their own viewing experience. There’s no control over what the user actually wants to watch as the auto-playing video does not give them an option to choose. Embedding a video on your homepage gives the users a signal that only the website owner is in control and they may feel that they’re seeing only what you want them to see.
It adds no value to your homepage
Your website’s homepage is the front door to your business or organization. It’s the primary landing page for all of your site traffic and provides an entrance into your world. Think of it as the main door to a shop. The purpose of the door is to allow people inside and let them explore and navigate through to get to where they want. The goal online is to take user traffic and direct it to the next page as quickly as possible.
Auto-playing videos work against this goal. Similar to how you would not appreciate being abruptly stopped from entering a shop, your video will stop users from getting on to the page they need to be.
Provides a poor user experience
The main consequence of slow loading times on landing pages is poor user experience. When users visit your website, they’re looking for a seamless and lag-free experience. If your website fails to deliver fluidity from the get-go, users are highly likely to leave your website within seconds. To deliver the best user experience and keep visitors on your website for a longer period of time, you need to get rid of the extras that slow down your page – and this would definitely be the auto-playing video.
It defeats the purpose of a landing page
Instead of having your landing page be the star of the show, the auto-playing video will take attention away from your main page and distract users. They will find themselves watching the video instead of paying attention to the website itself, thus killing the main purpose of your landing page and failing to convert your visitors into leads and customers. You want your visitors to navigate through your website’s pages – not spend time watching a video.
Not everyone likes a surprise
To many people, a surprise such as a video suddenly playing on a homepage may feel like more of a nuisance, rather than a pleasant and engaging surprise. Some may find it annoying! To those who aren’t fans of surprises, the auto-playing function may feel like a jack-in-the-box – the video just springs onto them with no warning and may even unpleasantly startle them.
Auto-playing videos can be compared to pop-up ads
Many business owners may feel the need to include an auto-playing video as video is more engaging online. When you compare the feature to pop-up ads, you realize that this is largely unwanted by internet users. Users haven’t asked to see these ads and therefore have the displeasure of an ad popping up on their screens. Similarly, users have not asked to see your video and may not appreciate an auto-playing video sprung on them out of the blue, especially if they have unknowingly set their device volume on loud.
It causes unnecessary interruptions
Imagine you’re the user looking for your company’s services and you stumble upon the website. You could be watching a video on a different screen or perhaps listening to music. You click on the landing page and all of a sudden, you’re greeted with a video that immediately starts playing. The audio from this will conflict with the previous video or music you were indulging in and your first instinct would most likely have you exit the website as quickly as you can. These interruptions online can have a massive effect on the number of people that do stay on your website and can result negatively.