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Should I enable video autoplay?

When adding a video to your theme in a Video or Video hero section, autoplay is disabled by default, and there is no option to enable it. However, it is possible to enable video autoplay in your theme. The following information and recommendations may help you decide whether you should enable this feature or not.


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.

 

Browser Restrictions

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

Browser Platform Unmuted Autoplay Muted Autoplay Exceptions
Chrome Desktop/mobile ☑️  Sometimes ✅  Yes Unmuted autoplay possible when a site has enough points on Google's scoring system.
Safari Desktop ☑️  Sometimes ✅  Yes Unmuted autoplay possible for larger sites, like Facebook and YouTube.
iOS Mobile ❌  No ✅  Yes N/A
Firefox Desktop/mobile ❌  No ✅  Yes N/A

 


Should I Enable Autoplay?

 

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer for whether you should autoplay your videos or not. It is ultimately a functionality trade-off with pros and cons, and only you can make this value judgement.

 

✅  Pros

 
There are many positive aspects of enabling autoplay, as it can:
 
  • Draw customers in with engaging, eye-grabbing content.
  • Present commercials and advertisements.
  • Demonstrate how your product works immediately. A survey found 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.

 

❌  Cons

There is one reason why so many browsers block the autoplay functionality: users find autoplay unappealing.

  • Annoy users. A survey found 71.2% of people find autoplay 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 which 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 they use.
  • Appear differently according to whether the user has a mobile or desktop device.
  • Reduce the page speed.

How Can I Autoplay My Videos?

 

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.

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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.

 

Our Recommendations

 

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.

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