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20 gorgeous examples of websites with video backgrounds

Everything about having a background video seems to go against the basic rules of web usability.

It means the page might take longer to load, or the user might become distracted, and surely nobody thinks autoplay music is a good idea.

That may all be true, or it may not, I haven’t been able to find any stats to support either side of the argument.

What’s certainly true is that these moving images captivate the user and ensure the website stands out from the standard cookie-cutter formats we’re used to seeing.

I’ve rounded up 20 of these spectacular websites, many of which are also good examples of the trend towards using scrolling as a design feature.

If you have any thoughts on whether a background video is a good idea, let me know in the comments.

Red Bull vs GoPro: taking content marketing to the extreme

It’s the big one. The bout to beat them all: ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. ‘The Thrilla in Manila’. ‘The Brawl for it All’… These will all seem like mere ‘Fisticuffs in Magaluf’ when this contest is over. 

In the red corner, unsurprisingly… Red Bull, with its commitment to broadcasting the most extreme of escapades to a worldwide audience, including a whopping 3.7m YouTube subscribers and a high concept strategy of putting thrills and spills before energy drink sales.

In the blue corner, strapped head-to-toe in tiny cameras so viewers can witness every single punch in glorious high definition clarity… GoPro, with its intimidating dominance of social video, constant gracing of the top ten biggest brands on YouTube and an effortless ability to marry its products perfectly with its content.

Two giant brands. One arena that can barely contain them both and one glorious winner, turkey-trotting over the shattered bones of its crushed opponent. 

I am but the lowly referee, cowering to avoid the blows, but too fascinated to look away. So let’s take a glance at these titans in the content marketing and social worlds and see which will be crowned the ultimate champion.

Ding ding…

14 best branded Instagram videos from August 2014

This month’s round-up of brilliant branded Instagram videos comes bearing an exciting new upgrade.

Last week Instagram introduced a new standalone time-lapse video tool called Hyperlapse, which is actually quite brilliant. I wrote about it in greater detail here: Instagram’s Hyperlapse: social video toy for brands

It’s very early days yet but it will be interesting to see how quickly brands begin using the tool and how many different creative ways time-lapse can be used.

In the meantime, here’s a breakneck Hyperlapse trip around the Econsultancy office…

The importance of quality content

Forget the hard sell and the dry press release. Audiences have wised up, so give them high-quality content that they can really engage with.

For anyone who’s experienced the following phrase bellowed at them across the boardroom by a senior executive “we should get into content marketing, everyone’s doing it, Coca-Cola’s doing it, BMW is doing it, Red Bull is doing it, we should be doing it too” then this is for you…

Content marketing is everyone’s favourite hot new digital marketing phrase right now, yet the truth is that while the label has grown in popularity, the notion that content marketing is anything new isn’t quite correct.

What the imaginary senior executive above doesn’t realise is that his company has actually been making content for years. It just hasn’t been called as such until recently.

The company has been creating blog posts, surveys, whitepapers and reports for the entire length of its existence. In many cases, it understands the power of content and how it can keep its existing audience happy and engaged.

However the new era of content marketing brings with it more of a tactical focus: in seeking to help audience growth, generate new leads, spread brand awareness and improve brand perception on a much larger scale.

In line with this, content marketing roles are being created and teams are being restructured across an incredibly diverse range of industries. Content marketing has become an umbrella term, one that bonds together five different disciplines – editorial, marketing, PR, SEO and social media – in order to focus on one long-term marketing strategy.

96% of consumers find video useful when buying online

Online video is increasing in importance and effectiveness when it comes to purchase decisions.

Nearly three quarters of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.

This research comes from a new study by Animoto, designed to explore how online video impacts consumer decisions and drives brand engagement for small businesses. 

I discussed the power of video embedded landing pages a few months ago in 10 excellent video-embedded landing pages

Video is one of the best and most persuasive of all visual tools as it’s capable of delivering large amounts of information quickly and succinctly. Especially if it’s about a new service or product.

Videos also increase the length of a visitor’s stay. If you feature your own face, or the face of an employee in a video, a visitor is more likely to trust you. Videos can help strengthen your online presence, and videos can also help you rank higher in SERPs.

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A look inside GoPro’s dazzling YouTube strategy

GoPro is the fifth biggest brand on YouTube according to The Touchstorm Video Index and as only 2% of the top 5,000 YouTube channels are from brands, this is a considerable achievement.

With 1.7m subscribers to GoPro’s YouTube channel, how does this California-based digital camera manufacturer keep its audience entertained and engaged, on a social video platform notoriously difficult for brands to achieve success on? 

If your answer is “because GoPro makes the kind of exhilarating, extreme sports videos that make you lose control of your bodily functions while sat at your desk” you’ll be half right.

Here I’ll be taking a look at GoPro’s YouTube strategy, using the best practice tips I laid out in my article from last year: YouTube strategy for brands.

YouTube strategy for brands: 10 of the best

Only 74 of the top 5,000 YouTube channels are from brands.

This research comes from Touchstorm’s latest study, The Touchstorm Video Index, covering Q3 2013 and concentrating on the ‘YouTube 5,000’, an elite group of channels with at least 43m views each.

Of those 5,000 channels, only 2% are owned by brands. That means there are 4,926 teenagers with webcams, older people with camcorders, vloggers with flipcams, bedroom animators with smartphones and various other fashionistas, musicians, close-up magicians, action figure critics and amateur film-makers who are completely dominating the platform and squeezing out the big companies.

What can brands do about this? Is there any hope for them?

Here are some key findings from the report, along with our own insight, ideas for strategy and a look at the brands who are using YouTube successfully.

10 of the most shared brands on Instagram video

40% of the 1,000 most shared Instagram videos (Instavids) last month came from brands.

The 15 second long Instavid format has only been around for a few months, but is already giving Vine a run for its six second-long money. We’ve discussed the respective benefits of each in this provocatively titled article Fight Club! Instagram vs. Vine.

It seems that brands have been quick to utilise this longer form media. The 150m incumbent Instagram users are clearly a major draw, as opposed to the still not inconsiderable 40m users on Vine, although it should be noted that Vine picked up all those users in just nine months.