Have you ever been reading an article online then your computer comes to life playing a video, most of the time not even related to the article your reading? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Most users hate when videos autoplay, so why do they? Especially, when they eat up mobile data and destroy battery life.

Why Are AutoPlay Videos A Thing?

Advertisers have always been limited by slow internet connections. Initially, web ads were just text or static images. Over time they become more advanced a had animation or sounds and would pop up on the screen. As browser extensions like adblocker become more popular, those annoying flashing banner ads and pop ups are becoming less frequent. Advertisers are still trying to get in front of you. As internet speeds have increased, now videos have now become the chosen medium. They are more engaging and will grab someone’s attention by the sound of the video.

Once advertisers started with video ads, the snow ball started moving quickly. It is estimated that video ads generate 20 to 50 times the revenue compared to traditional ads. Developers also found that videos are a great way to keep people using their apps. Most websites are supported by ad revenue. Having videos play automatically when a link is clicked can pump up the numbers on the site. The website owner can then go to advertisers and say, ‘We have over 10,000 video plays a month’. This can make the site more desirable to advertisers, even if the user pauses the video as soon as it starts. YouTube has recently changed their algorithm to measure total view time instead of total view count when it comes to recommending videos.

Any Solutions?

There are no ways to disable all videos from auto playing. Google Chrome auto plays videos on about 1,000 sites that where there is high traffic. As you use Chrome, it will study the sites that you visit and only auto play videos on sites that you have watched videos on. Chrome will then disable auto play on the other sites. Some apps will allow you to limit the apps you see either through their main settings or accessibility settings. Unfortunately, auto play videos aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

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