Silence! 3 to-dos for the autoplay video takeover

3 minute read

Why is everyone talking about “silent video” all of a sudden? What year is this? When did we move away from the talkies?

Silence! 3 to-dos for the autoplay video takeover  I  North by Northwest Boise

The year’s most discussed video marketing news is easily social media’s video coup, and the onset of silent video. Feeling a little lost in this new world of pre-roll and scrolling video?

A background vocabulary lesson –

Auto-Play/Scrolling: Videos will play automatically as you scroll through your feed, typically muted until the viewer clicks on it

Pre-Roll: Video advertising which plays before your selected content; Typically “skippable”


What does this mean for your video marketing?

Adjustments to your go-to format will be necessary if you’re looking to grab attention with autoplay and silent video. Additionally, Twitter found results that make the transition well worth it:

  • “People were 250% more likely to prefer autoplay videos over other viewing methods (including click-to-play and video preview thumbnails)
  • Users had a 14% lift in video recall, when comparing autoplay to other video formats
  • Brands saw a 700% increase in completions of Promoted Videos via autoplay”


  1. Play to the circumstances

Brands like Geico and have won favor by working their campaigns into a funny and unique take on the circumstances inherent to pre-roll, autoplay, and silent video. By working within their restrictions instead of trying to fit the old model into the new, they instantly received some great press as innovative adopters of the new normal.

“The opportunity with muted video is to find the balance between stopping power and staying power – not giving it all away in the first second, yet providing enough reward for people to stick around to watch, and then maybe listen, too.” (ClickZ)


  1. Have fun with it

We’re all transitioning into this together, which enables creators to have fun with the format. As we all figure out how we like to engage with silent video, there’s room to test, play, innovate and grow. Soon enough, we’ll see trends begin to take hold, such as the aforementioned humorous and meta routes.


  1. Decide on your necessary KPIs

Facebook and Twitter go with a 3-second rule: A “view” is only counted if the watcher stays on the video for 3 or more seconds. However, counting total views is little helpful when determining engagement. As with any advertising metrics, you’ll want to key in on engagement statistics, usually provided through native analytics.

“We stopped looking at video views as a metric,” said Mike Hayes, global digital marketing manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “We’re now focused on retention and completed video views. We want to know how many people watched the full video and we’re optimizing toward that.” (AdExchanger)


Further reading:

Silent Video May Become Your Brand’s Loudest Statement (ClickZ)

Silence is Golden: Be Quiet and Let Your Video Speak for Itself (ReelSEO)

– Watch silent movies for creative inspiration

– “Production quality matters” – With the spotlight on your video’s visuals, it’s crucial to give your viewer something exceptional to look at as they take in your message.

How Facebook is Bringing Back the Silent Newsreel (Medium)

– “Readable videos” – Content with either textual graphics or subtitles allow your viewers to watch without sound, while accepting your message.

Lights…Camera…Silence: Are Silent Autoplay Videos the Commercials of the Future? (Emerging Vintage)

Brands Confront Video Metrics Mess in an Age of Autoplay (Digiday)


My prediction? Readable videos will likely become the norm for brands looking for an easy solution, which will eventually lead to being passed over as the audience tires of seeing the same idea in repetition. Brands will have to become more creative in their efforts to lure viewers to the “unmute” button. As ClickZ points out, “constraints inspire creativity,” and we’re hanging out on the horizon of a whole slew of inventive ideas.


(Image via)


steph profile for web

About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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