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Embedding a YouTube Video on Your Website with AutoPlay (Yes You Can, Perhaps You Shouldn’t)

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Because of its watermarked logo, I’m not a huge fan of embedding YouTube videos on a website. However, from a social media perspective (including the fact that iPad/iPods can view the video), I understand why some folks (including our own Living in Las Vegas Podcast) do so.

Besides the watermark, one of the other complaints about embedding a YouTube video is that when grabbing the embed code from the YouTube site, you can’t have the video start automatically–when the visitor hits the page. Now, to be sure, there are arguments for and against doing so. To really understand the value of autoplaying a video, you should do some A/B testing to see which technique helps best improve the results of your call-to-action.

The good news is that you can autoplay a YouTube video. And it’s very easy to do. Simply add “autoplay=1” to the embed code.  That’s it!  Easy, peasy, 1-2-Threesy. 

That’s the good news.  The bad news, as is demonstrated by the embedded YouTube video below, is that I cannot set the volume programmatically.  For me, I consider this a show stopper.  There is something to be said for autostarting a video, with the sound off, to create curiosity.  But, if I’m blasting audio to a visitor who did not ask for it, that’s a problem. 

Besides autoplay, there are many other parameters available for embedding a YouTube video.  For a list of all the parameters, go here.

(Speaking about iPad/iPod video delivery, my next blog post will likely be about that very subject. Specifically, what to use to deliver website video to the iPxx family of products without having to use YouTube.)

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 · 4 Comments


4 Responses to “Embedding a YouTube Video on Your Website with AutoPlay (Yes You Can, Perhaps You Shouldn’t)”
  1. So that’s why I’m getting blasted by these websites that I’m trying to open in the background – the ones I’m planning to deal with one by one after I’m through with a list. We’re usually listening to baseball on at the same time, so I don’t want to turn down the main volume control, and I don’t want to hear one, much less five raving videos roaring along with the game.

  2. You got it, Anne. Kinda of a PITA and not a great idea.

  3. Tom Dolan says:

    Hey Scott,

    I like the fact that the videos can be started/stopped at the will of my visitors. I have multiple videos on my site and so auto-start is not a choice for me. As far as the YouTube logo goes, I don’t care really. It’s become ubiquitous on the web and I don’t think people even see it anymore.

    I see this feature simply as another choice. Good for some not for others.

    BTW, if you get a chance, visit my blog. I built it on a free WordPress theme with some long distance advice and assistance. Production values are increasing, Content still needs filling out, and I think I’ll redo the ‘About’ video, but all-in-all I’m off to a good start.

    Thanx for the info, always gets me thinking.

    • Hey, Tom.

      I agree with you on most accounts. We have in the past autoplayed a video on a website but have done so w/ no audio. It is OUTSTANDING at creating curiosity with the visitor,

      “Hey, what’s going on with that video? Turn up the volume so I can here what’s being said!”

      More times than not, we’d don’t autoplay.

      Regarding the YouTube logo, for me, it’s a matter of professionalism. If you go to a F500 website, you’ll be hard pressed to find an embedded video w/ the YouTube video. The reason? Branding. YouTube isn’t paying me to further their brand so I am disinclined to help in that matter.

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