Adding a video to your landing page—whether it’s a product demo, customer testimonial, or an animated background—has often been championed as an effective way to showcase your offer to visitors. For years, it’s been widely accepted that videos can (and do) boost your conversion rates. Heck, at the time of writing this, we’ve got loads of content explaining why you oughta have one of those newfangled moving pictures on your page.
But it looks like we’re gonna have to change that.
At Unbounce, we love to learn—and lucky for us, we’ve got access to data from millions of landing pages (and billions of conversions) that we can use to determine whether marketing “best practices” hold up. It’s what conversion intelligence is all about: combining your know-how with mathematically validated insights to help you make informed decisions and get the best results from your campaigns.
So, we decided to explore a best practice that we’ve believed for years. Does including a video on your page boost your conversion rate?
The answer is somewhat nuanced, and we’ll get into the details below. The bottom line, though, is this: Videos do not boost your landing page conversion rates—and in some cases, might even harm them.
How We Got Our Data
Before we get to all the juicy results, let’s talk a bit about our data set and how we went about our analysis.
To ensure our results weren’t impacted by seasonal conditions (around Christmas or other holidays, for example), we looked at three separate and distinct time frames. We also wanted our analysis to produce current, reliable insights, so we used data ranging from late 2020 into early 2021.
For each time frame, we examined approximately 35,000 Unbounce customer landing pages that included a mix of:
- Pages without video, pages with embedded videos (i.e., iframe videos), and pages with background videos
- Pages broken down by industry as well as conversion type (e.g., form-fill and click-through pages)
- Pages with traffic from different ad channels (e.g., social, paid search, organic search)
- Pages with traffic from different devices (e.g. mobile and desktop)
Some bonus info for the real data-heads. Conversion rates can vary widely, and it’s therefore necessary to remove any extreme outliers to avoid skewed data. Throughout the analysis, outliers are trimmed by removing all rates > Q3 + 1.5*IQR and rates < Q1 - 1.5*IQR. Any small cohorts are also excluded from the analysis using a lower limit of 100 pages.
Video Doesn’t Improve Performance—No Matter Your Conversion Goal
Overall, videos are used on only a fraction of Unbounce customers’ pages—and, out of those, embedded videos are significantly more popular than background videos. YouTube is the most common hosting platform, accounting for a far greater percentage of videos than Wistia or Vimeo.
The plot below shows the median conversion rates for pages not using video, pages with embedded videos, and pages with background videos. The plots are separated based on the conversion goal of the page: form-fill or click-through.
At first glance, when we compare pages without video to those containing embedded or background videos, we see very little difference in conversion rates for form-fill pages. While background video seems to perform slightly better, embedded videos don’t. (The number of pages using background video is also much smaller.) And, as you’ll see, the negative difference on click-through pages is even more striking.
This tells us that, overall, video appears to have a minimal or negative impact on the performance of a landing page—regardless of the conversion goal.
Note that the cohort size for background videos on click-through pages was below the minimum threshold and has therefore been removed.
In Almost Every Industry, Videos Do More Harm Than Good
Let’s dig a little deeper and look at the impact of video on landing pages for different industries.
Here we examined 10 industries ranging from business services to real estate and travel. Across the board, it appears that videos generally correlate with neutral or even negative page performance.
You’ll see from the graph that, in most cases, the median conversion rates between the pages with and without videos are quite similar. However, some industries (like real estate) show a strongly negative effect when a video is present. This tells us that, for these particular sectors, the inclusion of a video could significantly reduce page performance.
You might’ve noticed that some industries appear to have higher rates for landing pages with videos than without. Good news, right? Eh, not so fast.
Looking at just the medians (as we are in the graph above) can be a little misleading. To have an accurate picture, we need to look at the distribution of conversion rates across the pages. And for that, we need to use a box plot.
In this graph, the colored boxes represent where most pages sit. (We’ll note that the median isn’t in the middle, as pages’ conversion rates are rarely distributed evenly.) The vertical lines represent the range of the remaining pages, excluding extreme outliers. Essentially, this shows us how most pages are performing.
Take a look at the finance and insurance industry. Our earlier graph showed that the median conversion rate for finance pages with a video is higher than those without. However, the box plot reveals that the vast majority of pages—with or without a video—actually have similar rates.
That means there’s no apparent significant change to page performance when including a video or not.
Think Video’s Good For Social? Think Again
Let’s examine whether certain traffic channels respond more positively to video than others.
For example, we might hypothesize (given the increased use of video on social media) that video landing pages would perform better with visitors arriving from social platforms. But our analysis shows that people coming to your page from Facebook or LinkedIn generally convert on video landing pages as often as those coming from organic search or referral channels.
If we break it down further (using another box plot) to compare how pages with and without a video stack up by traffic source, we get the full, ugly picture. The distribution of conversion rates is significantly lower on video pages than non-video pages across every channel.
Yep, that goes for social media as well.
Video Doesn’t Stack Up for Mobile
Finally, let’s take a look at how video performs on mobile and desktop devices.
Considering the number of videos viewed on mobile, we might guess that landing pages with videos would be favored by users on those devices. In reality, video appears to have a negative impact on conversion rates for both mobile and desktop visitors.
Looking at the box plot below, we can see that the distribution of conversion rates for video pages—from either mobile or desktop traffic—is significantly lower than for non-video pages.
To Get the Best Results with Video, Use It Intentionally
This data analysis shows that video landing pages perform roughly as well or slightly worse than pages without video. But does that mean adding a video to your page is always bad?
No, not always.
Our recommendation is for marketers to think critically before committing to a video landing page. (Especially if you have limited resources that could instead be used to improve other aspects of your campaign.) What will the video help you achieve that you couldn’t otherwise? What value will it provide to your visitors?
If you’ve already got a video page that works, we certainly wouldn’t suggest you undo all your hard work. Instead, you can create landing page variants with and without video, then lean on tools like Smart Traffic to automatically route visitors to the variant they will most likely convert on.