Why Click-to-Play Video is a Digital Publisher’s Best Friend

Blog 3 min read | Aug 1, 2017 | JW Player


Change is afoot in the world of video advertising.

In the months to come, both Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browsers are expected to release updates that approach video very differently than ever before. Rather than autoplaying, videos featuring audio that is not muted will require users to click to play, putting the control squarely in consumers’ hands.

This development stands to have a huge impact on the browsing experience. According to JW Player data recently cited in Business Insider, based on 400 million daily plays on our network-independent video platform, 65% of video plays in Chrome and 53% of plays in Safari are currently autostart, with half of those being sound-on. The numbers are similar for video ads: 61% of video ads in Chrome and 66% of those in Safari currently play without user initiation.

Despite its popularity to date, autoplay video isn’t usually the optimal approach for digital publishers and their advertising clients. Why? Simply put, autoplay may catch a user’s eye, but it isn’t likely to deliver the most qualified view; if consumers feel as though their browsing experience is being interrupted, it’s the publisher and advertiser that they’ll blame.

Over the years, we’ve seen video become the go-to format for engaging consumers online. The publishing community has worked hard to maximize this opportunity, but individual publishers aren’t always on the same page about best practices, vacillating between attracting as much attention as possible and putting user experience first. They’ve had to weigh the needs of their revenue goals with the needs of their users, and the scales don’t always tip in the latter’s favor. In response, browsers are stepping in to impose a limit that strikes a balance between user experience and ads.

The digital world is in a constant state of flux, and it’s often difficult for publishers to continually adapt. Even the savviest of publishers aren’t always sure of best practices and question the benefits of making a dramatic change. In the case of click-to-play video, however, we’re confident that publishers will find this change to be a positive one. When you upgrade the user experience, you improve your bottom line. The intent to watch is critical to both user experience and securing maximum yield for your ads.

With video on its way to becoming a dominant form of communication on all sites, it’s increasingly urgent for publishers to think about their video investment. Here’s our advice:

Start by applying click-to-play video, so that when those browser updates arrive you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Adopt digital video best practices, like ensuring that pages load in under two seconds and video players are at least 500 pixels wide and are placed in the main viewport.

Check in with your technology partners for expert advice, and leverage all available tools that facilitate the implementation of these best practices. Asking questions like Is my vendor innovating to support the latest ad standards? and Do they make it easy to create a mobile-optimized video destination with a highly visible player? is critical to ongoing video advertising success.

At JW Player, we applaud the decision to require sound-on videos to be click-to-play across Safari and Chrome. It’s a smart way to create deliberate intent for users to watch and boost ad revenue. The more you prioritize user experience, the better the advertiser and consumer relationships will be moving into the digital future.


Looking for more video publishing best practices? Download our video advertising playbook

Contact JW Player today to strategize about video publishing best practices that will help grow your business.


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