Starting Music or Audio Automatically: Don’t Do It

One of the fastest ways to lose the attention of people for a plethora of reasons is to shout at them, tug on their shirt sleeve or kick sand in their sandwich. Metaphorically speaking anyone who uses the technique of playing any sound on a web site automatically (without the visitor’s permission or interaction) is doing just this.

Imagine your visitor works in a banking environment where things are relatively quite and sounds echo. Then envision a waiting area and offices filled with visitors just as the Social Marketing Director decides to check the local MLB schedule and stats for a blog tie in and is greeted, not quietly, with a lady in a video loudly stating, “I occasionally suffer with diarrhea.” It happened … to me.

Another scenario may be a spouse using their tablet in bed trying to finish an assignment for the morning when the click on a link taking them to a page that loads with a Flash movie with thunder and sirens blasting.

Still yet the very innocent visitation to a local chinese restaurant (which failed their most recent health inspection by a horrible 58 score) site to check the menu when a Flash video loads with the sounds of rushing water and birds chirping loudly.

Cute, but stupid. If it causes me and most of my friends to immediately click that “X” or the back button you can bet it’s happening with a majority of other visitors. You can check this for yourself by checking two statistics on your log: Time on site and bounce rate. If your bounce rate is 70% or higher and your average time on site is less than 60 seconds you can be quite sure you’re killing your own business.

The argument, or statement, was made yesterday on Social Media Edge Radio by our own Mike Mueller that it makes a difference if you know you’re going to be presented with automated audio yet as I pondered that I further believe, for me, it does not matter. Even if I visit Hulu or Netflix with the intent of watching a video with audio I still do not want *any* selection to begin playing automatically with sound. A roommate, spouse, significant other, child, or other sleeping individual just woke up to your music BLASTING through the house or apartment. Congratulations, you just put your potential fan into a situation.
It’s hard to imagine that these sites with the auto play videos have owners who appreciate, respect, and care about their customers.
#7 Auto playing music, sounds or videos

Image: David Castillo Dominici /


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