Is adding embedded content to a website a good idea?

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I’ve embedded content for years. Examples include:

  • YouTube videos
  • Anchor podcasts
  • Tweets
  • Documents
  • Ads
  • External vendor platforms
  • And more

Embedded content makes it easy for us to add external content assets. They usually flow directly into the content on the website and are easily added into the HTML editor.

Can’t picture what embedded content looks like? All these podcasts on my podcast page are embedded.

Advantages of embedded content

Embedded content helps us showcase content that is not easily added or not practical to add to the website natively.

Videos

Videos can be added to WordPress sites directly, but they also should be on YouTube. If that’s the case it makes sense for many brands to just host the video on YouTube and then embed it on the website. Plus, they may rank on YouTube in search and show as recommended videos.

Podcasts

It’s easy to upload audio files to WordPress and render them as an audio player. I used to do that, but then it doesn’t tie easily into my podcast metrics. Now I just embed the Anchor version, which also distributes to Apple, Google, Spotify, Pandora, etc.

Amazon affiliate ads

I display my book as embedded content via an Amazon code.

When it renders it looks like this:

Issues of embedded content

However, I’ve seen two issues come up. 1) Embedded content loads slowly or 2) it doesn’t show at all

Embedded content loads slowly

A lot of times this content loads last and that can make it look like the page is broken.

It’s just loading slowly, but how would the end user know that or even care? 

Embedded content doesn’t load at all

I’ve seen this especially with embedded content that is ads lately. For example, in my article about Amazon Merchandise there were two embedded content pieces (with the arrows highlighted):

They showed on desktop proper, but didn’t show when an ad blocker was turned on.

They also didn’t show on mobile Safari at all.

The below is the mobile version from my phone.

Embedded content issue solutions

How to overcome that problem depends on your goals. If you are sending people to an embedded signup form that doesn’t load in time, that’s a problem.

Is there a direct link for the form you can send folks to instead?

How can you tell if there might be a problem? Look at the completion rate. If a lot of people are exiting without signing up there might be an issue.

For content campaign like the one above, the answer is to also add links within copy and with other native pictures. In this example the circled items are links to the products that are not embedded.

Embedded content wrap

Of course occasional issues with embedded content shouldn’t mean to never use embedded content.

I’ve seen few issues with YouTube videos. Do make sure if it’s not your video that the owner has embedded plays turned on.

Test it by embedding the video, viewing the preview page and trying to play the video. If it doesn’t play, you can also just link to it.

I’ve seen this mostly with ads and other external content.

Just see what you want to embed, what the goal is and give people a secondary way to access the content in case the embed isn’t working.

That’s as easy as saying below the embed code: Click here to view the content in its original location.

Embedded content can help us provide a better user experience but make sure it’s accessible one way or another.