Video As Website Background - Is It Good Or Bad? | W3 Lab

Video As Website Background – Is It Good Or Bad?

Videos as website backgrounds are becoming more and more common. Rightfully so, because they capture our attention instantly and we’re curious about where the video is going to go, so we watch them and stay on websites. Video has been one of the most effective marketing tactics (if not the most effective), so why not use it for your website background?

Today, we’re bringing you the pros and cons of videos as website backgrounds, if you cannot make up your mind whether you want one or not.

Let’s dive in.

Video as a website background – Pros

It looks good

It is undeniable that professionally shot and edited videos are very visually appealing. People love to see videos that easily flow and tell a story in a short amount of time.

professional video for your website background
Professional Video is The Key | Source:

They can showcase products, but also the company itself. A video of a team working hard and also having fun is a popular choice when it comes to background videos. Bonus points if it looks stunning and natural.

It also makes your website stand out. Despite it being the trend in the past two years, not nearly enough websites are utilizing it, so you will still stand out if you decide to go for it. Unlike a background picture that we look at for 5 seconds, a video will keep people lingering on your site because they will want to see the whole thing.

Videos convey much more than images

One time I clicked on a website of a digital agency that had a background video that featured their most notable clients. One of them was a cruising service that had stunning drone filmed shots, so the digital agency featured that video to showcase that client.

It was great for two reasons: it showed that the agency worked with a well-known client and the video was so stunning that I watched it three times. The video was so much more effective than a link to the client’s website at the bottom of a page.

Can`t say this video isn`t effective 🙂

But this is not where it ends. Videos are great if you have trouble putting your product into words. Use a video to show its use and looks, if photos cannot do it justice. Show a happy person using and enjoying it.

Videos keep people interested

As we previously mentioned, videos are real attention grabbers. When someone visits your website, you don’t have much time to convince them to stay. If they don’t like your colors or if they find your site boring, they will often just close it.

Videos are a way to keep visitors from exiting the page.

Video as a website background – Cons

They can be distracting

Imagine you set up your background video, it looks great, people are staying on your website for minutes, but you aren’t getting any conversions. What is there to blame?

Well, it could be the video.

As much as they’re entertaining and interesting, they can be a bit too interesting and distract people from looking at the central parts of your website, such as services and call to action buttons.

Another thing is that some people just don’t like being distracted. When they visit a site, they want to immediately look at who you are and what you have to offer and might see the video as an obstacle. While videos are innovative, you simply cannot go wrong with a good image background.

Videos can slow your website down

We all know that the entirety of content on a website must be optimized and videos are no exception. If the video is uncompressed or too big, it can take people ages to load your website up. And let me tell you, both people and Google aren’t fond of slow websites. Google won’t rank it high on the search page, while people will just lose their patience and close it.

google pagespeed insights tool
Google PageSpeed Insights Tool

There’s also another factor: it’s the fact that the video performance depends on factors you cannot control, one of which is the user’s internet speed. So, even if your video is optimized, someone with a bad connection will have issues opening it. No matter how small your video is, someone out there won’t be able to see it properly.

Not suitable for mobile devices

How many times have you forgotten that you had data on and watched a YouTube video on your phone and spent it all? Me too.

The same can happen with background videos. Aside from them not being suitable at all for mobile devices, they use a large amount of data.

Text that is difficult to read

If you have text positioned over the video, this can also be a problem. Trying to read and watch the video at the same time isn’t an easy task, and the text can distract from the video and vice versa.

Additionally, it can be very hard to read, especially for those with visual impairments. If you decide to use a video for your background, make sure that the text is positioned correctly and that the color of the font doesn’t match the color of the video.

Movement can be problematic

The movement and sound of a video can cause problems for people with vestibular disorders. Most of them probably aren’t expecting sudden visual and audio disturbances upon clicking on a serious website, so videos can bring them harm.

Advice for using video for background

Here’s some advice on how to properly use a video as your website background:

  • Don’t make it longer than 30 seconds (the best length is 15 – 30 seconds)
  • Don’t loop it endlessly, since endless loops can slow down both the visitor’s device and your website
  • Make sure it’s high quality, but smaller than 5mb and under 500k
  • Mute it by default and let people decide whether they want to sound or not as to not surprise anyone with a loud sound
  • Try to avoid lots of movement to make sure people aren’t too distracted
  • Let the video fade in as it starts playing so your visitors aren’t startled
  • Include a pause button so people can pause when they want to take a better look at something
  • Set the contrast so the text over the video can be read
  • Use an image as a placeholder for devices that don’t support HTML5

Wrapping up

There you have it – the pros and cons of videos as website backgrounds. The video is going strong as one of the main and most prominent internet trends and by the looks of it, it isn’t going anywhere just yet.

When it comes to using videos as website backgrounds, this has been a well-discussed topic, and today we’ve seen that the cons outweigh the pros. But if you really want your website to feature a video, we are sure than you can make it work if you follow our advice.

Hopefully, we’ve helped you make up your mind and thank you for reading!

Marija Milosavljević
Marija Milosavljević

Graduated as first in her class. Incredibly quiet and shy until the lag in Warframe turns her into a raging death-bunny.

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