Answer: There's no right or wrong answer for whether you should enable autoplay. It's ultimately a functionality trade-off with pros and cons. Here are some important factors to consider to help you make a decision:
- Draw customers in with engaging, eye-grabbing content.
- Present commercials and advertisements.
- Demonstrate how your product works immediately; a survey found that 73% of people are more likely to make a purchase when they can see a video explaining how it's used.
- Display reviews and testimonials from customers.
However, there's a reason many browsers block the autoplay functionality. Autoplay can be unappealing for users, as it can:
- Annoy users; a survey found that 71.2% of people find autoplayed videos 'annoying'.
- Drain the customer's battery on mobile devices.
- Increase data consumption on mobile devices.
- Take customers away from the site; if your customer uses a browser that disables autoplay, they may need to click on the video and be taken to an external video platform to view it.
- Behave inconsistently from user to user, depending on which browser is used.
- Appear differently according to whether your user has a mobile or desktop device.
- Reduce the page speed.
How do I enable/disable autoplay?
When adding a Video section to your theme, you will have the option to autoplay it:
- Within Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Themes.
- Select Customize.
- Select Add section.
- Click Video, and then select Add.
- Scroll down to Autoplay, and select its checkbox.
However, you may notice when testing your storefront from various devices that even when autoplay has been enabled within your theme, your videos do not play automatically upon entering the page - unfortunately, this is due to browser restrictions.
Why won't my video autoplay?
The ability to play a video automatically is ultimately controlled by the user's browser. All themes and video hosting services must adhere to the user's browser settings.
Historically, autoplay has been disabled for videos on mobile devices. This default setting now extends to the majority of desktop browsers. This is in order to:
- Improve user experience
- Minimize incentives to install ad blocker
There are many browsers to choose from, each has its own individual policy towards autoplay videos. However, there are autoplay policy similarities.
The table below shows that, while autoplay on videos with sound is almost always blocked by the browser, muted videos are often allowed to autoplay.
Main browser autoplay policies
|Unmuted autoplay possible when a site has enough points on Google's scoring system.
|Unmuted autoplay possible for larger sites, like Facebook and YouTube.
What affects my chances of autoplay working?
Videos without sound
As you can see from the table above, the majority of browsers allow autoplay on videos without sound. While it increases the chances, muting your videos does not guarantee they will be autoplayed on every browser. This is a limitation outside the theme's control.
Across Shopify themes, muted videos are frequently used for large, full-width video backgrounds with a text (or other element) overlay. Here at Eight, we call this a Video hero, which you can find by going to Themes > Customize > Add section.
Videos with a text overlay are muted by default. This setting greatly increases the chance of your video autoplaying on your storefront for as many users as possible.
Ultimately, every store has different priorities, and only you know what's best for yours.
If it is important to autoplay your videos, we have some general recommendations for getting the most out of this functionality.
🌟 We recommend using the pre-muted Video hero feature.
🌟 We recommend using closed captions on videos as a substitute for sound.
🌟 We recommend ensuring your site functions without the autoplay video, in case a user enters your site with a browser that blocks autoplay video content.