Should You Use a Video Background in Your Homepage Banner?

Do you know what a video background and coriander (the herb) have in common?

You hate it. Or you love it. There is no in-between.

Some consider video backgrounds annoying as hell because they don’t let you read in peace.

And others think they are gorgeous addition to their website that will make their competitors jealous.

But nobody says, “Video backgrounds? Meh. Don’t care.”

Which team are you on?

Can this article persuade you to switch teams?

Read on to find out.

Video background: pros & cons

✔️ Pros:

  • Makes your website look slicker
  • Can communicate certain things faster and better than text

❌ Cons:

  • Makes your page load slower
  • Distracts visitors from the text
  • Annoys visitors because they have no control over it / can’t stop it
  • Provides little information on its own
  • Can make text hard to read (if the contrast between the background frame and text becomes low)

The cons are definitely much more than pros. So, do we have a verdict?

Not so fast.

✔️ According to Unbounce’s conversion expert Michael Aagaard, they’ve seen video backgrounds work well on pages that aim to communicate a certain vibe or create an atmosphere, like a conference, an event or a restaurant (source). And when you look at the examples at the end of this email, you’ll understand why.

❌ He does NOT recommend using a video background on pages that promote complex offers. Such offers require a lot of explaining, and a video background is too much of a distraction in this case.

Meaning:

  • if you need a proper tagline and one-two sentences of an explanatory text in your banner to tell your prospects what you offer and why they should care, and/or
  • your video background doesn’t provide additional value by showing something plain text won’t be able to communicate that effectively

…background videos aren’t your friend.

Using a video background on your website: Best practices

If you still like to use a video background, follow these best practices:

  • Video supports the main CTA, not distracts from it
  • Text remains clearly readable at all times
  • Video loop isn’t too short (looks odd) or too long (increases load speed). Optimal length: 5-10 seconds
  • No or muted audio
  • Test it against a static image (always a good idea)

Examples of using a video background effectively

Below are a couple of sites that are using video backgrounds effectively.

Notice that because there’s little text in the banner, the focus is all on the video, which acts as the main means to communicate the message (in this case, show what awaits their prospects):

Basically, a background video works well when it stops being a background but becomes a main means of messaging.

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