Video in Email – Do or Don’t?

Video in Email – Do or Don’t?

There’s a bit of buzz that you can embed videos inside emails now. That buzz may be driven partially by software marketers who promote that they can offer video in email for a price.

The real story is you don’t need special software to put video in an email, you can do it with html5 coding. Campaign Monitor reports video in email can increase click through up to 50 percent.

So why isn’t video in email prevalent? It’s because some of the largest email programs and electronic devices, like Gmail and Android, do not support video within email. If you are a B2B company and most of your clients are on Outlook for Windows, it won't work for them. So if you do the code work and put a video in your email…a lot of your list won’t ever see it.

So Do You Try Video in Email or Don’t You?

Do: If video supports your business goals, you have a large list and you know enough about your contacts to segment your list to find a good-sized segment who can see video, plus you have the resources for video coding then try it. Do a version for people who can see it and a version for people who you know cannot, or are not sure if they can see it. You can also do one version coded to detect whether or not the recipient can see it with a fallback image. Do invest in a service that shows how your email will render across different providers for thorough testing before sending. 

Don’t: If you don’t have a good-sized segment who can view it and the resources to code variations, hold off on a trend that (for now) leaves much of your list in the dark. Video for email on a widespread basis will happen. I’m predicting by holiday season 2018 it will be more widely, but not completely supported.

For now, there are plenty of compromises you can try that are also proven to raise click through rates for your emails.

Video screenshots with a play button: Include a static screenshot of the video you’d like to share with a play button in the center of the shot.  Recipients will assume they can click play. When they do, link the image to a landing page where the video auto plays.

Animated GIFs: Most email providers and devices do support an animated GIFshowing movement between a couple image frames.  Windows Phone 7 and several versions of Outlook do not support GIFs. Contacts using those systems will see only the first frame of your GIF, so plan your GIF design accordingly to ensure that first frame includes the information they need.

Cinemagraphs:  A cinemagraph is like a GIF, but only one part of the image moves.

Experian reports 72% of clients using animate GIFs or cinemagraphs in emails see higher transaction to click rates. 

Blend the above methods: Make a GIF or Cinemagraph from your video, so that it looks like the video moves or starts to play.  You can also animate the play button. Contacts will still have to click through to a page with the video. That little bit of movement on the video draws their eye to it and encourages a click.