The use of video backgrounds has become an increasingly popular web design trend in recent years. Rather than a static image, some webmasters embed a video in their site’s background. Considering that one-third of all internet activity involves watching video, you may feel compelled to use background videos. However, this web design trend can hurt your site’s ability to attract and retain visitors in several ways.
Comparison of Video Background Vs Other Background Media like Images, GIFs, Audios etc
When it comes to background media for web design, video is just one option among several others such as images, GIFs (using a GIF compressor), and audio. Each type of media has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, compared to a video background, an image background can be more lightweight, which can result in faster load times. This can be especially beneficial for visitors using slower internet connections or mobile devices.
Image backgrounds also tend to be more compatible across different devices and browsers, whereas video backgrounds may have compatibility issues. Additionally, images are more universally supported by web browsers than video, which means that the background will be visible on most devices. GIFs are animated images that can add movement and interest to a website, but they can have the same downsides as videos, such as longer load times.
Audio can be a viable alternative to adding ambiance and interest to a website. Unfortunately, it can also be a distraction for some visitors, especially if it starts playing automatically. When choosing background media, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Then, choose the one that best aligns with the goals and target audience of the website.
You can expect fewer conversions on a sales or lead-generation web page that’s designed with a video background. This is because video distracts visitors away from the call to action (CTA). Rather than seeing the CTA, visitors will automatically be drawn to the video. Whether you’re trying to sell a product, acquire email newsletter signups or generate call inquiries to your business, you’ll experience fewer conversions on your site when using a video background.
Longer Load Times
Video backgrounds will also affect your site’s speed, forcing visitors to wait longer for it to load. According to Kissmetrics, 40 percent of internet users will abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load. While many factors can increase a website’s load times, the presence of video is one of the most influential. When you embed a video directly on a web page, it increases the total file size of that page as well as the number of HTTP requests. A single YouTube video, for example, triggers nearly a dozen HTTP requests, each of which increases the page’s load times. When a visitor lands on the page, his or her browser must execute these requests to render the video.
Mobile Compatibility Issues
You may encounter mobile compatibility issues when using a video background. According to TechCrunch, mobile internet surpassed desktop internet for the first time in 2016. With more users browsing the internet on mobile devices than desktop computers, a mobile-friendly website is essential for online businesses. Even if a video background is compatible on a desktop computer, though, it may not be compatible on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices have smaller displays and different software than their desktop counterparts. Therefore, some mobile device users may struggle to watch a video background on your site.
Furthermore, a video background will consume more bandwidth than a traditional background with a static image or images. For desktop users with broadband-connected Wi-Fi, this typically isn’t an issue. But for mobile users with a 4G LTE connection, a video background may consume a significant amount of their monthly data limit. Some mobile users may be hesitant to use your website if it consumes a significant amount of their data, resulting in less traffic and fewer returning visitors.
You have to be careful when choosing a video to use as your site’s background. Grabbing the embed code from a YouTube video and pasting it into your site’s HTML could result in ads being displayed. Thousands of YouTube publishers enable ads on their videos to generate revenue. Some of these ads display at the beginning of the video whereas others display as an overlay at the bottom 20 percent of the video. Regardless, you probably don’t want ads displaying on your website. Google explains that only the original publisher and YouTube generate revenue from an embedded video’s ads. This means you’ll be sending free traffic to the publisher’s video and helping him or her generate revenue if your site has a video background with ads.
Lower Search Rankings
If you want to achieve a top search ranking for your website, you should avoid using a video background. Search engines pay close attention to a web page’s content when determining a ranking for it. In fact, Google says that content quality is the most significant ranking signal used in its algorithm. Content is available in many different forms, including text and video. The former, however, is more beneficial than the latter.
Search engines can easily crawl text content to understand what it’s about. If you publish an article that explains how to housebreak a puppy, Google and Bing will see the exact context of this article. As a result, you may discover your web page ranking at the top of the search results for the phrase “how to housebreak a puppy.” Unfortunately, search engines struggle to crawl and understand video content. Granted, Google and Bing can see the video’s title, description and other elements, but they can’t understand the context of the video. This otherwise subtle nuance makes video content less effective for search engine optimization (SEO) than text content.
Poor User Experience
Creating a positive user experience requires a clean, functional web design. Numerous studies have shown, however, that autoplay video hurts websites’ user experience. Google has even taken steps to discourage websites from using autoplay video. In April 2018, the search engine company updated its Chrome browser to mute autoplay video, citing the negative impact of autoplay video on user experience. Autoplay video, including a background video, forces visitors to watch the content, which can leave many feeling dissatisfied.
The Impact of Video Background on a Site’s Bounce Rate
The use of video backgrounds in web design can have an impact on a site’s bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate can indicate that visitors are not finding the content on the site engaging or relevant to their needs.
Using a video background can increase the bounce rate as visitors might be distracted by the video and not be able to find what they were looking for. Additionally, if the video background takes too long to load or is not compatible with mobile devices, visitors may quickly leave the site in frustration. This can result in a higher bounce rate and fewer returning visitors to the site.
It is important to consider the potential impact of video backgrounds on the bounce rate when deciding whether to use them in web design.
Difficult to Update
Finally, a video background can be difficult to update. With a traditional background, you can easily make changes in Adobe Photoshop or any other graphics editing program. Modifying a video background, on the other hand, requires editing the video or recording an entirely new video. If you’re tired of looking at your site’s video background, you must exhaust significant time and resources into updating it with a new video. If you’re a business owner, you may lack the necessary time and resources to make these changes.
As you can see, video backgrounds have some serious flaws. They distract visitors away from the CTA, create mobile compatibility issues, slow down your site’s load times, promote lower search rankings and more. You can still use video on your website, but don’t integrate it into the background. Rather, use video as a supplemental form of content to help convey the messages of your web pages.
Not all Videos are Created Equal
While video backgrounds maybe doing more harm than good, videos continue to play an important role in your digital marketing.
Explainer videos on your website, TikTok, YouTube and YouTube Shorts can be highly beneficial for brand awareness and engaging with new and existing customers.
In the past the cost of video production prohibited many SME’s from using the medium. Nowadays smartphone can do just as good a job as a full production crew in the ’80’s, but it you want to take it to another level, platforms like VEED.io are worth investigating.
Simply uploading your media file to their platform and editing the video is so easy, even I can do it. In the editor you can add text, add and remove audio, add subtitles automatically, crop, rotate, add filters & effects, and much more!
Have you got a world-wide audience or multi-lingual community? Check out the ‘translate video‘ feature. Imagine reaching new customers who are not native English speakers. What would that do to your bottom line? Now you can automatically translate your videos into more than 100 languages. The benefits are endless!
Can video backgrounds be optimized for faster load times?
Yes, video backgrounds can be optimized for faster load times. This can include compressing the video, reducing its resolution, or hosting the video on a high-speed, reliable service like Vimeo or Wistia. Additionally, you can use a video background in combination with a loading spinner to show that the site is loading.
Are there alternatives to using video backgrounds?
Yes, there are alternatives to using video backgrounds, such as adding an image background, a GIF background, or an audio background. Each type of media has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s wise to choose the one that best aligns with the goals and target audience of the website.
Will using a video background negatively affect my site’s SEO?
While using a video background itself may not directly harm a site’s SEO, it could potentially result in lower search rankings if it causes issues such as longer load times or poor user experience. Furthermore, search engines may have difficulty indexing the content of a video background which may limit the visibility of your website.
Can I avoid forced ads showing up on my video background?
To avoid forced ads showing up on your video background, you can choose videos from video hosting platforms such as Vimeo or Wistia instead of YouTube. You can also use a paid option on YouTube, where you will have more control over the ads. Additionally, you can consider using a short video loop that doesn’t include ads.
Can I use a video background on a mobile-friendly website?
Yes, you can use a video background on a mobile-friendly website, but it requires more consideration and optimization. As mobile devices have smaller displays, it’s critical to ensure that the video background is not too large and consumes less data. Also, video background playback on mobile devices can also be affected by poor internet connectivity. Therefore, it may be necessary to optimize the video to play smoothly on mobile devices and provide alternative options for visitors with limited internet connectivity.
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