Our free and Pro YouTube plugin now supports an embed Facade Mode. As defined by Google, a facade is "a static element which looks similar to the actual embedded third-party, but is not functional and therefore much less taxing on the page load." Our particular feature improves performance by loading a static/lighter version of the player. When the video is clicked, the real player loads (note: currently for live streams, the real player is always loaded). We have tested this feature in multiple cases and found it to successfully improve your Lighthouse performance score by addressing the following recommendation: "Some third-party resources can be lazy loaded with a facade – 1 facade alternative available". In fact, watch the benefits illustrated using GT Metrix's Lighthouse-integrated analysis below:
As shown, there's also an option to "autoplay on facade click". With it, the real player plays immediately after the facade is clicked and the real player is loaded. Otherwise, it will require an additional click. Note that checking this option will use YouTube's autoplay feature, which will not contribute toward play counts.
This feature is available with the free version of our YouTube WordPress plugin.
You can also demo the free feature in this facade demo page on an actual WordPress site.