Will Apple blocking autoplay videos on Safari impact you?

Let's face it autoplay videos can be annoying. To make the experience smoother for users, Chrome recently also went as far as to introduce built in ad blockers. Now the time has come for frustrated Apple users to be rid of this function.

The company announced at its recent Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 that Safari Web browser's latest update will block videos from autoplaying. This is part of a series of new features Apple unveiled for Safari, which will be available with the new operating system, High Sierra. However, the good news  for marketers is that the announcement only involved Safari and not apps such as Facebook and Instagram.

As such, the immediate impact will be negligible, Brendon Chase, group strategy director, McCann Worldgroup Singapore & MRM//McCann strategy lead, APAC, said. He added that it will only  affect 15-20% of mobile users and about 5% of desktop users.

Chase said, "The immediate impact will be minimal to most advertisers using standard IAB ads and those who follow industry best practices. Some ad platforms that have auto-playing ads as users scroll may be affected, but they may just re-think how to implement their technology."

James Lewin, head of innovation for Mindshare APAC and Nike lead for SEA echoed Chase's sentiment, saying that the new update will have "little to no impact for brands and advertisers who prioritise a positive consumer experience."

According to Lewin, only the brands that align with performance networks that disregard consumer experience and optimise to an action will be impacted. He added:

As such, expect verticals such as travel, financial services, application owners, ecommerce and other conversion-focused areas to be most affected by this move.

What you should be focusing on now

Industry players also said that Apple's latest move is a sign that brands should avoid creating intrusive ads that push messages and reassess their approach to consumer experiences.

Sanchit Sanga, chief digital officer for Mindshare Asia Pacific, said this move will make consumer experiences the key aspect when measuring positive brand connection. Publishers also have a role to play in all this, as Apple's latest autoplay blocker "will force them to cater to a respectful user experience."

According to Sanga and Lewin, GroupM sees this as a "positive move" that is in accordance with Google's recent Chrome developments of similar nature. Sanga added:

Eventually, consumers will have a less intrusive browsing journey, which should be the core focus for everyone in digital marketing.

MRM//McCann's Chase advises marketers to think smart, saying they should look at "how messages can break through without being annoying". Marketers should also explore ways to "create meaningful relationships with people as people" which is more than just display marketing, he added.