Autoplay Revisited

“Turning autoplay on always improves conversions.”

That’s what the gurus say.

And then one day working with one of my clients, we did something stupid.

We tested the idea.

And what do you know?

In our case, we discovered turning autoplay on suppressed conversions!

The tactic of turning autoplay on as a way to boost conversions has been around just as long as the infamous Belcher button.

It was a quick way to bump conversions.

Basically what it means is when a visitor hits the video sales letter page, the VSL AUTOMATICALLY starts playing.

Common knowledge says turning autoplay on improves engagement and conversions because the visitor is forced to watch the video.

They don’t have to click “play”.

Logically, it makes sense.

Except when you test it and then you find out differently.

In light of my client’s experiment, we have a new, perhaps different theory.

Our theory is that when autoplay is turned off, visitors are not shocked by the audio suddenly starting. It’s not disruptive.

The ones interested click “play” because they want to watch the VSL of their own volition.

It isn’t being forced on them.

They watch because THEY WANT TO WATCH and this improves engagement, and ultimately conversions.

44% engagement was a shocker to me. Which is why I wrote this email.

The non-autoplay conversions are more than double autoplay.

Now, am I advocating you turn autoplay off?


I am advocating you TEST IT yourself.

The hardest part about this business is that we don’t know how high is high.

We start where we start, and then we try to figure out how to improve.

We struggling trying to discover out what’s suppressing conversions.

The thing that absolutely kills you though is MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.

This is why it’s so important to keep an open mind and test–even those very things you have a particular affection towards.

In other words, sometimes it may be necessary to kill your babies.

So try the experiment yourself and let me know what happens, ok?

I’d love to see if this is a sea change in overall behavior of visitors.

Nil Obstat (“Let nothing stand in your way”)


P.S. FYI: There’s another thing you’ll notice about the charts.

The smooth versus rough disengagement over time.

By the way, where you see that first big drop off in engagement?

That’s the first call to action. People are clicking through to the order form. 🙂

They’re watching because they want to watch–and more of them are buying. Almost double.

Sometimes, you really have to study these charts to glean the insights.

Good luck with yours and if you need help, just reach out. – Matt


I don’t know about you, but normally I see myself as simply a copywriter.

However, in recent years, I’ve seen myself more and more as… “an attention hacker.”

You may remember AIDA–attention, interest, desire and action. It’s a copywriting formula that’s stood the test of time.

That’s is, until recently…

Yeah, that’s right. AIDA’s working less and less. And there’s a reason.

I first started noticing this anomaly several years ago, when I was being asked to write these long epic, content-rich article landers.

You see, with information consumption behavior on the Internet these days…

… you can’t just rely on getting someone’s attention ONE TIME at the beginning and then assume it’s there for the rest of your copy.

It doesn’t work like that anymore.

AIDA is no longer a linear, sequential process.

Interest does not “follow” attention.

It’s essential you get AND KEEP attention throughout the entire process.

This is admittedly DIFFICULT.

Roughly 10-15% of my actual copywriting efforts is devising ways to keep someone’s attention on what I want them consuming so they don’t get bored.

So that they stay engaged.

Now, let me give you an idea or two I use every day that may help with that…

My first go-to attention hacking tool is FORMATTING.

In most of my work, I format the copy so that I highlight what’s important.

I’ll change the font size, I’ll bold or I’ll underline.

(I rarely italicize because italics can be hard to visually digest.)

We mix these formatting types up so there’s little repetition. We don’t want them falling into a reading rut.

My hope is we’re bolding, underlining or highlighting something in almost every paragraph.

(If there isn’t something worth highlighting in every paragraph, I would question the value of why the paragraph or sentence is there in the first place.)

Now you may ask “How do I know what to highlight?”

And the answer is simple:

You highlight promises, claims and benefits.


When you pack your communication like Eugene Schwartz, you’ll have promises, claims and benefits oozing from every sentence, every bullet.

The beauty of what you’re doing is that done right, your people reading appreciate the formatting.

How do we know?

Because when you use tools like you can actually see them consuming the page.

Not only that, but people who appreciate your communication, buy your stuff.

Conversions go up.

Which is kinda the whole point, right?


P.S. If you don’t want to use, you can use and it’ll do the same thing. It’s free.


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