Did you know that sending videos in your marketing emails and adding the word ‘video’ to the subject line can increase email open rates by 19%? In fact, video can also improve the number of conversions overall by increasing the click-through rate of your emails.
In order to take advantage of that, however, you first need to know how you can start to send videos for email marketing. Unfortunately, that isn’t as easy as it may appear – and there are several issues you’ll need to work around.
That being said there are few very effective ways to send videos via email which is popular among marketers.
Adding Videos for Email Marketing
There are basically 4 major ways in which marketers add videos to their emails. These include-
1. Link to the Video
Instead of actually sending videos as part of the email, the most popular option is to link to them – either to your website or landing page or to video sharing platforms such as YouTube.
Rather than just adding a normal text link, you can spruce it up a little and draw more attention to the video by adding the link to a:
One of the most frequent ways in which videos are linked in email marketing is by adding a static image that resembles a video player – complete with a ‘play’ icon in the middle. The image will act as a visual cue, so recipients will immediately identify it as video content.
In place of a static image, you could use an animated GIF to draw more attention to the video link. While it could be any GIF, one of the more interesting options is to make it resemble a preview snippet such as the ones found on YouTube.
The drawback of using an animated GIF is the fact that high quality animated GIFs can be quite large – which will add to your overall email size.
It should be noted that while ‘autoplaying’ videos are normally frowned upon in most cases – linking to a video from an email is the exception to that rule. The recipients who click on the link expecting to see a video, and so setting it to autoplay will be in line with their expectations.
Overall this method of sending videos is preferred because it has the fewest issues – and has proven to be effective. However, there are other methods that you can consider as well.
2. Embed Videos within Emails
If you embed a video within an email, it will be displayed in a player within the email itself. Although that may sound more appealing than an external link, the fact of the matter is that not all email clients can view embedded videos.
Essentially if you want to embed videos within emails you will need to use HTML5 – more specifically, the <video> tag. Not all email clients support HTML5, and a significant number of users (about 50%) are currently using clients that do not support it.
In other words, if you embed a video, there is no guarantee that all the email recipients will see it. As you can imagine that makes it unsuitable for email marketing – which is why most marketers avoid it.
3. Add a Fallback to Embedded Videos
One workaround that you could use if you really want to embed videos is to add a fallback. That way if the video cannot be played – the fallback will be displayed instead.
Although that may sound easy, in practice it is a lot more complicated. The fact of the matter is that different email clients operate in different ways, and each handles fallbacks slightly differently.
Some email clients may render a fallback image of their own if the video cannot be played, which will be displayed alongside your fallback and likely cause confusion. Others may require the code to be structured in a certain way and may display exposed code if it is not.
In short, adding a fallback image is not a ‘perfect’ solution. That being said with a bit of HTML and CSS wizardry you can make it work, but it is not recommended if you aren’t experienced with either.
4. Include Video Files as Attachments
Technically it is possible to include video files as attachments in your emails – just like you would with any other type of file. However in practice that is normally not very feasible for one reason in particular: Emails have file size limitations.
The exact file size limitation for emails varies from client to client. However, it applies to both sending and receiving emails, which is why typically it is inadvisable to attach any file that is larger than 10MB for email marketing.
Considering videos can have very large file sizes – sending them as attachments can be challenging to say the least. In order for it to be a feasible option, you will need to compress your videos down to 10MB or less.
For short videos that may be possible as you can reduce the bitrate using Movavi Video Converter for Mac (www.movavi.com/videoconvertermac/) for example. However reducing the bitrate will affect the video quality as well, and for longer videos, by the time you reduce it enough, they may very well be unwatchable.
At the end of the day, it is best to avoid this option in most cases – unless it is for very short videos and you want the recipient to have a copy of the file.
However keep in mind that if you do want the recipients to have a copy of the video file, you could just upload the original high-quality version to cloud storage such as Google Drive – and send the download link to them.
So, which method to choose?
To sum it up, the most effective ways to send video files are either by:
- Linking to the video using a static image or GIF which is by far the safest option, and will ensure that recipients have no issues viewing the video.
- Embedding the video and using a fallback which can work, but will require additional code that caters to the requirements of different email clients.
Ultimately the question you need to ask yourself is: How do you want your video to appear in the email? If you feel you want it to play within the email itself, you may want to try embedding it – however, if you do not it is safer to link to it instead.
In terms of effectiveness, both options are relatively similar and will let you take advantage of videos alongside your email marketing. Just be sure that you track the performance of your emails, so you can nip any issues in the bud should they arise! Let us know in the comments which method are you going to use to embed videos in your email, and why?!