The leading browsers,, Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari are taking steps to block videos that play automatically with sound on.
Publishers will have to post videos that people actually want to watch by choosing to start them.
Publishers will insist their actions are ongoing and not in reaction to anything Google and its ilk are doing, but many have become more nuanced about their autoplay video usage.
Time Inc. has taken steps in the past year to more clearly label click-to-play videos on its sites including Real Simple and Travel + Leisure, with markers like play button icons or the word “watch.” With click-to-play videos, the publisher also has been testing GIFs that give the user a preview of the video itself before deciding whether to click.
“In general, especially with the shift to mobile, optimizing the experience for users is probably one of the foremost things we can do.”
The Washington Post has a team that can adapt advertisers’ ads to different screens and formats, such as sound-off or close-captioned in the case of video ads, and it has been experimenting to find the right balance between the ad and the user, whether it’s sound-off autoplay with captions, still images or text, said Jarrod Dicker, vp of commercial product and innovation at the Post.