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Your Auto-Play Videos Have Been Given the Silent Treatment, Now What?

July 9, 2015

Your Auto-Play Videos Have Been Given the Silent Treatment, Now What?
Don’t you just hate being given the silent treatment? Well, that’s exactly what Instagram and Facebook did to their auto-playing videos. Now people are reacting with a few creative ways to work around this auditory absence.

The silent treatment

Instagram introduced auto-play video in 2013 with one crucial difference: muting the video by default. Now as you know from your days in middle school when Sarah gave Jess the silent treatment and Jess and her friends began giving Sarah and her friends the silent treatment back, once a bandwagon begins, everyone hops on board. Soon after Insta banished auto-playing sound, Facebook did the same with its videos.

Outsmarting the mute button

In response, video publishers decided to simply make their videos just as easy to read as they are to be heard. Many have produced videos that are heavy on text overlays, which tell the story without voice-overs or background music. The idea is to make the videos on these platforms volume-agnostic. You need to give viewers the option to watch both with audio and without it. Many of the videos currently on Facebook only make sense with the sound on. If you want to attract the majority of users, you need to rethink your strategy. You simply can’t count on the audio channel anymore, with YouTube, video is something people seek out; with Facebook and Instagram, it just appears as part of the feed, in a more intrusive manner.

It’s not one size fits all

All of this means that publishers have to put more thought into other parts of their video presentation beyond audio. One of the most important components of Instagram videos is actually the screen-grab that appears as a teaser. That initial image must be something that will get people to stop and linger there long enough for the video to continue playing. In addition to text heavy videos, brands are also using animation and cinematographs to catch users attention without audio. With these new platforms, videos aren’t one- size-fits-all. You need to experiment with different styles and see what works best for your brand. Luckily for you, we can help! We love to make all sorts of videos, from live-action to animation. Drop us a line at or tweet to us @digitalbrew_co.