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Last Updated: October 19, 2020

[Sept 2020] Alternatives to autoplay on embedded videos. How to improve our conversions rates as it’s no longer working.

All browsers changed their auto-play policies in 2018.  If videos are set to autoplay, it will be muted on desktop.  On mobiles, it will not autoplay at all in most cases.

Statistics do show that a video convert better than text only.  But we now have to use alternative creative ways to encourage people to play them.

Alternative 1: Animated Video Thumbnail

Example 1: Six elements to increase click through rate.

I use Thrive Architect as my primary page builder for the last 5 years.   In this example, I use animated GIF as the thumbnail as the primary image. There is a total of 6 elements, see if you can spot them, and watch the video to learn about them.

Watch this video to learn about the

6 elements of a high converting thumbnail.


Example 2: Larger and better quality video using Thrive Architect Background Sections.

You can have a better quality with a background section that streams a video with no sound, with a button to trigger a pop up


Wistia Video Thumbnail

The second alternative is Wistia.  It comes with a built-in animated video thumbnail.  As you can see in this example below, you want to record your videos so you can see the face of the person before the button is pressed.

The example here is not ideal, as it is hiding my face, reframing the video would be better.

Click to watch

Alternative 2: Conversion-focused thumbnail with a Call to action and arrows.

Great thumbnails (often with a human being on it) can make a difference in click-through rates.

Here is an example.  Of course that could be done in may different ways.

a) Watch this video to see how you can improve your static thumbnails

Alternative 3: Only show a video when your landing page loads.

Use white space and Hide everything on the page until they click Play.

Click the orange button to open a new page to see an example.

It will open a new page/tab with the Auto-Play Video

Please note that the examples below are accessible by clicking the orange buttons. You can test with different browsers.

Alternative 4: Keep on using Auto Play, but with the sound muted at first.

a) Pressplay for Youtube, Vimeo, S3, Wistia

Pressplay is a saas-based video suite and  has a lot of features all focused on lead generation and conversions.

b) Options without a paid tool using an arrow

If you just want to use YouTube, you could still use the autoplay function, but as you will see in this demo, the sound will be muted, and people will have to find the unmute icon, and will have missed the beginning of the video.

It will open a new page/tab with the Auto-Play Video

Place your video in multiple places on your website.

For all the examples mentioned above, embedding your videos in multiple places on your page often results in more click-throughs.

If you want more inspiration and ideas, have a look at this blog post with more examples of design considerations when using videos for conversions.

If your landing page builder doesn't support video popups, you can create a similated popup like with a static page.

Other Considerations

Your page load speed might be affected, we have to deal with this trade-off between load speed and conversions.

Use Closed Captions

Closed captions is probably a very good element for conversion. Companies like rev.com allows for videos to be transcribed for you with the timing in place.

News laws now mandates the use of closed captioning.

FAQ: What actually happens to a embedded video if it's set to Autoplay?

As a general rule, this means that videos can be autoplayed on desktop, but without the sound. Some conditions allows for sound to be played, when a user has interacted with the domain for example. You can see all conditions for Chrome Autoplay Policy Change.

On Phone and Tablet, autoplaying videos do not work in most cases.  

Possible Plugin for WordPress

WordPress Plugin with the autoplay functionality

This Embed Plugin (Pro Version) for WordPress mentions they have an option for auto play. I haven't tried it personally, but if you are using WordPress, it might be something too look at.

See all features on their website.

Leave a comment or ask a question.

    • Denis Ethier says:

      Hi Musa,

      I am using Thrive Architect with WordPress, and it has the option of a video background in a Page Section (called Background Section). Not all tools have this option, but it might be available.

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    About the author 

    Denis Ethier

    Thrive Themes Conversion-Focused Designer and Consultant.

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