While Zoom initially launched in 2013, it wasn’t until the 2020 pandemic that everyone knew its name.
By the end of February, the video conferencing software company brought in more active users than they did in the whole of 2019 and their shares rose by 40% due to a monthly 21% increase in active users since the year end. By early April, it was reported that Zoom’s daily users reached more than 200 million during the month of March, jumping from 10 million in just three months.
It’s therefore clear–corporations, organizations, school districts, political parties, and everyone in between has jumped on the Zoom train.
If you’ve joined the latest Zoom movement, you may be wondering how you can take things up a notch–particularly in terms of your visual approach. Luckily, it’s easy to leave a lasting impression with just a bit of personalization. All you really need is one thing: a new background!
Why change your zoom background?
If you’re mainly using Zoom for work-related purposes, it can often be challenging to find the perfect spot to conduct video meetings. Clutter, lack of natural light and more can detract from your aesthetic.
A new Zoom background–one that matches the tone of the meeting. When you add a background, you can have video meetings without any unnecessary distractions.
Even if you are working from home and have a fairly private setting, you may opt to change your background in order to spice things up. Depending on who you’re chatting with, the background you choose can be incredibly telling in terms of your personality and overall approach.
Think of your Zoom background as an opportunity to strengthen your personal or company branding. This is your chance to make a purposeful impression on your clients, peers, and colleagues. When you have the choice to select a background, what you choose can tell the other person a lot about what you have to say, and how you view that meeting.
What are your options?
For a professional meeting, opt for a photo of an office (or your real office if you have one) and add key details, such as your name, title, and company logo.
There are plenty of options in terms of backgrounds, including:
- A range of serene office, home and architectural photos
- Personalizable backgrounds, from tropical beaches to animated conference call bingo
- Pop culture spaces, like Queer Eye’s Fab 5 loft
If you have a good read on your audience and the tone of the meeting, though, you can also go for a more laid-back approach. Some of the more fun backgrounds available include:
- DC Comics backgrounds, including Gotham City, Cosmic, and Batcave options
- FOX backgrounds, featuring shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons
- HBO backgrounds, including those from Silicon Valley, Game of Thrones, and Westworld
The impact of thoughtful design
The concept of creative Zoom backgrounds is appealing for many reasons. For many, it’s a way to hide their messy apartment with minimal effort. For others, changing their background is a fun way to jazz up their workday. Why opt for a boring white wall when you can pitch to a customer or chat with a colleague in front of outer space?
While these reasons provide more than enough motivation to change their Zoom background, it’s also important to consider the impact that design has on your interactions and overall impression. Just like when creating a webinar, it’s important to engage your audience–design has a lot to do with the overall effectiveness of your strategy.
The backgrounds you choose are a direct reflection of who you are and what you have to say. Here is what designers are saying about their favorite backgrounds, whether conversation starters or backdrops that are fresh and clean!
Ready to get started? Here’s how to change your Zoom background
In order to achieve the best background effect:
- Zoom recommends that you invest in a green screen. If this makes sense from a business investment point-of-view, you can source green screens from Amazon or other online retailers.
- It’s best to use uniform color and lighting.
- Avoid clothing that will clash with your background.
For background images and videos:
- While there are no size restrictions, it’s recommended that you crop your desired image to match your camera’s aspect ratio. If you’re unsure what that ratio is, Zoom recommends that you use an image with a minimum resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels.
- To use your own images, you can find royalty-free images on sites like Pixabay or Unsplash. For more sites, check out this list of 10 stock photo sites you need to know about.
- When uploading an MP4 or MOV file, using videos with a minimum resolution of 480 by 360 pixels (360p) and a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p) is recommended.
To change your background:
- Step one: Begin by downloading the Zoom Desktop client on your Windows or Mac computer.
- Step two: Log into your Zoom account and click the gear icon found in the top right-hand corner to access Settings.
- Step three: Click on Virtual Background, found on the left menu.
- Step four: Select one of Zoom’s provided background images, such as a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge–or if you’d like to upload your own, simply click the + icon.
- Step five: While you’re in a Zoom meeting, simply click the ^ arrow next to Stop Video. You can then click Choose Virtual Background to change your background or remove it.
Here are more great resources to support you during virtual meetings:
- How to pitch investors on Zoom
- Can virtual events be as helpful for your business as in-person ones?
- How to host efficient meetings
- How to have brand impact at virtual events