Background Video and Web Design: What You Need to Know

Beginning in 2013, video rose to prominence as a powerful and strategic web design tool for catching the attention of users and engaging them in new and unique ways. Now, here we are in 2015, and video is even more common and powerful. So, as a business owner, web designer, or developer, how can you leverage video for positive results? Let’s take a look at what you need to know about this effective channel.

The Power of Video

Video has long been used for connecting with internet users – this isn’t anything new. What is new is the fact that video is being used on website homepages to greet visitors and capture their attention. And while it took a while for web designers and developers to hone in on the value of video, they could no longer deny its power.

According to research, nearly half of all internet users take some type of action after viewing a targeted video. This makes it exponentially more powerful than other mediums and typically produces a higher retention rate than textual content. Understanding this, websites have started to incorporate background videos on homepages. If you’re still a little mystified by how video works on a homepage without making it feel predatory or invasive, check out these high quality examples.

Tips for Designing With Video

The reason most people don’t invest in video is that they’re afraid of messing up. After all, it’s better to have no video than to have terrible video. Well, the issue is that most website owners, designers, and developers don’t understand how background video works and what purpose it serves. Let’s review some quick tips to realign your thinking.

Purpose of background video

Background video serves an entirely different purpose than a feature YouTube video. Background video is designed to catch the user’s eye without distracting them from the site’s overall conversion funnel.

Audio must be muted

There’s absolutely nothing more frustrating – from a user’s perspective – than clicking on a website and having a video auto-play with loud audio. If your video has an audio track, it needs to be muted by default. If the user wants to unmute, they can, but it’s their choice.

Smooth and lengthy

Background videos must be smooth and subtle. If you’ve ever visited a site with a choppy background video, you know how distracting and disrupting the experience can be. It’s also critical that the video is long enough to avoid frequent repetition. Because background videos are on a loop, any short video will repeat over and over again – driving visitors crazy. Anything above 30 seconds long is ideal.

How to Find Quality Video

A common question is, “How do I find quality video?” Well, you have a couple different options:

Buy stock footage

The best option is to purchase stock footage from a website like or These websites have fantastic footage and plenty of options. Some low resolution footage is free, while most higher resolution versions have a price tag.

Film your own

If you have a larger budget, filming your own footage may be ideal. This allows you to customize the video to the website, which always feels more natural than stock footage.

Make Video a Priority

You don’t necessarily have to invest in background videos, but it is important that you make video a priority in the web design process. The internet is clearly transitioning away from text and toward video content. It’s much better to be on the forefront of this shift than to be the last designer willing to budge. Video is a priority for internet users and it should be a priority for you.