Video Backgrounds: How and Why to Use Them

One of the biggest trends in web design in the recent years is the increased usage of video content. This lets you easily tell your story and communicate with visitors in a more effective and engaging way. When it comes to sending a message through a web design nothings beats video.

We’ve already written about the huge benefits of using videos on your website, but now we would like to take a look at this from a slightly different angle and talk more about video backgrounds.

As the name suggests a website with a video background has, well, a video instead of an image or texture for background. The reason why video backgrounds are so popular these days is that they could pass a message to visitors and tell them your story in an easier way. Just think of how easy is to express something with a video and how hard it could be with words. In the same time, web technology has advanced and it allows web designers to create more and more interactive website, including such with video backgrounds.

If done right, a website with a video background could really make the difference between you and the rest, but if the video is not engaging enough or has poor quality, this could totally ruin the whole website. This means that the biggest challenge is to produce a high-quality video. Perhaps that is the reason why video backgrounds are mainly preferred by companies that can afford to produce such videos.

Of course, having a high-quality video isn’t enough at all as you can ruin your website in tons of other ways. To help you out, we’ve created this list of best practices on how and why to use video background on your website.

Why use a video background

Here are some rock-solid reasons to put a video background on your website:

– We are naturally drawn to videos

One of the main reasons why video backgrounds are a good choice for your website background is that they tend to easily draw the attention of website visitors. Just think of TV that is turned on in a room. Everyone passing through that room will probably look at it. It’s the same with the video. Most of your visitors will stop for a moment to look at it even if it’s for a few seconds.

– They are not so irritating as other autoplaying videos

You know that one of the most irritating things you can see on a website is a video on autoplay. But what if I told you that there is a way to put an autoplaying video without irritating your visitors? Video backgrounds do just that! The reason is that they look as part of the design of the site and not like something that has no real purpose rather than just be seen.

– They give a fresh and more trendy look to your site

As we mentioned it in our intro, video backgrounds give a fresh and trendy look to your website. They are a perfect choice when you want to shake things up and redesign your website.

– Videos tell your story better than words

Some things cannot be explained with words and you just need to see them with your eyes. That’s why It’s often easier to tell a story with a video rather than with a text.

– You can show your products and services in action

If your company is offering a product or some services, video backgrounds are perfect for showing what you offer in action. This way your visitors won’t need to read a single word and they will not only know what you do, but they will also see it with their own eyes.

Best practices of using video backgrounds

As we told you, video backgrounds work best when they are done corectly.

– Make the text above them easily readable

Usually you will want to put some text over your video background. For example, your slogan, a short description or just a call-to-action. One thing you need to make sure is that your text is always easily readable.

– Don’t make the video too long

Your video doesn’t need to be just a few seconds, but it’s pretty obvious that nobody will sit and watch a 15-minute background video on your homepage. In our opinion, the ideal length is around 20 seconds. This time is more than enough for your visitors to decide what they want to do next. They may decide to leave your site or move on to another page. But anyways, in around 20 seconds they will probably stop watching.

– Mute the audio

We told you that background videos are less irritating. Apart from the fact that they are part of the design, they are also less irritating because they are usually with muted audio.

What kind of websites are best suited for video backgrounds?

Not every website is suitable for a video background. Online stores, blogs, news websites, catalogs and such websites which purpose is to provide information that constantly changes aren’t a good fit. Instead, video backgrounds are good for corporate websites, portfolios and even landing pages.

Big brands using video backgrounds

Some of the biggest brands out there are using (or have been using at some point) a video background. Just take a look at some of them

PayPal

video background on paypal website

One of the most popular online payments systems PayPal has been benefiting from a video background. It was introduced on their site in the first half of 2014 and the fact that they still haven’t changed it as of the end of 2015 clearly shows that the video background works.

Their use of video background follows the best practices as the text above the video is easily readable and despite the fact that there is a video background with a pretty good quality, the site loads fast

Airbnb

video background on airbnb website

The online platform that connects people looking for a vacation home with people renting their homes introduced a video background on their website a while ago. It’s on the top of the page and generally shows people on vacation exploring the world.

Just like in PayPal it features some text and a call-to-action button above the video that are white which makes them easily readable for the users.

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