Video Optimisation: AutoPlay

Video is great for capturing an audience and telling a story in a way which is entertainment and engaging; sure, you could do it with text, but putting it in video form makes it so much more shareable. If you’ve grappled with webvideo marketing before you’ll know that placement and optimisation of said video can be a nightmare.

You want your videos to be noticable and you want to encouage your website visitors to watch until the last second, but all of this has to happen without annoying the visitor. Sean Knapp, CTO of Ooyala, a video publishing platform offering advanced analytics and monetization, has a thing or two to say about the use of autoplay for web content.

His first tip is to determine what it is that you’re trying to optimise for. Are you looking for a specfic action, or are you simply looking for user interaction and engagement? This will determine if Autoplay is appropiate at all.

Secondly, as a general rule, Knapp advocates that you should avoid using autoplay on your homepage. No one screams “get me off this site now” faster than me, when I navigate to a page which instantly begins playing something I didn’t ask to see. If you have advertising on your website, your advertisers won’t be impressed if their hard earned money gets them space on an often abandoned page.

Instead, consider putting your video on a page which the user specifically navigates to; at this point, autoplay is entirely appropriate, as the interaction with your website has already begun.

What about when the video is over, and your user is staring at a blank screen? You have their attention, but as Knapp states, they’re already in a “lean back” position, don’t make them have to “lean forward”. Try setting up a playlist which will allow your viewer to select another relevant video from your selection of content.

Ooyala offers a recommendation engine which intelligently provides a few options for the view, either based on similar views, or based on their individual browsing habits. Content discovery like this is big news, as the Internet expands and more and more content consumers are looking to technology for smart recommendations.