In recent years, many websites have started incorporating videos that play automatically in the background when a user lands on the site.

These “experience videos” can be visually engaging and provide a quick introduction to a company or product; however, they can also have some serious downsides that can negatively impact a website’s user experience and search engine optimization (SEO).

One major issue with experience videos is that they can be distracting and annoying for users who are trying to navigate a website. These videos can take away the control from the user, as they start playing without any action on their part.

Users may find it disruptive when a video unexpectedly starts playing with sound, especially if they are in a public space or have their own audio playing in the background. Such interruptions can lead to a poor user experience and discourage visitors from staying on the site.

Apart from the user experience, experience videos can also have technical drawbacks. They can significantly increase the loading time of a webpage, especially if the video file is large or the user has a slow internet connection.

Website videos and SEO

Slow-loading pages frustrate users, and research shows that visitors are more likely to abandon a website if it takes too long to load. Moreover, search engines like Google consider page loading speed as one of the factors when determining search rankings. Therefore, websites with experience videos may suffer in terms of SEO, as slow-loading pages are less likely to rank higher in search results.

Experience videos can be problematic for mobile users. With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets for browsing the internet, it’s crucial for websites to be mobile-friendly; furthermore, experience videos can consume a significant amount of mobile data, leading to higher data usage for visitors. This additional data requirement can result in slower loading times and increased data costs for users, which can be a deterrent for mobile visitors and may lead to a higher bounce rate.

Explainer Videos

What can website owners do instead of using experience videos? One alternative is to use embedded explainer videos, which are shorter and more focused on providing specific information about a company or product.

These videos are embedded on a website, rather than playing automatically, and can be easily accessed (the user gets to choose when and if the videos play) by users who are interested in learning more about the company or product. Embedded videos give users the freedom to choose when to play them, ensuring a more user-centric experience.

Another alternative is to use static images or graphics that are visually engaging and provide a quick introduction to a company or product. These images can be just as effective as videos in capturing a user’s attention and providing a quick overview, without the downsides of experience videos. They are lightweight, load quickly, and allow users to explore the website at their own pace.

While experience videos may initially seem like a great idea for capturing a user’s attention and providing a quick introduction, their downsides outweigh their benefits.

The distracting nature, slower loading times, negative impact on SEO, and potential issues for mobile users make them less-than-ideal choices for many websites. By using embedded explainer videos or static images instead, website owners can provide engaging content that is both user-friendly and search engine friendly. Prioritizing a seamless user experience and considering the technical implications of videos can help create a website that attracts and retains visitors effectively.

If you’re wondering how to go about designing effective landing pages for your campaigns or have any questions about using video on your website, contact 14 Oranges.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

The Downside of Website Videos that Play Automatically