The power of videos in emails is indisputable. Almost half of all global businesses use videos in emails to convert more recipients. Even including the word ‘video’ in the subject line increases the open rate by 19% and reduces the unsubscribe rate by 26%.
But here’s the catch: very few email clients support embedded videos, forcing you to learn to circumvent the drawback. In a nutshell, you will have to choose between embedding a video (rarely) or adding a link to it (most of the time), preferably within an intriguing thumbnail.
Read on to learn more about the difference between both methods.
Technicalities to Know Before Using Video in Emails
Unfortunately, most email clients — including Gmail — won’t play embedded videos but will display a fallback image instead. Therefore, rule number one is to have a compelling image for non-compatible browsers.
|Email Clients Supporting Embedded Videos||Email Clients Displaying a Fallback Image Instead|
|Apple Mail, Outlook for Mac, iOS 10+ Native Client, Samsung Galaxy Native Client, Thunderbird||Android, AOL Mail, Gmail Android, Gmail iOS, Gmail Webmail, Lotus Notes, Outlook 2003-2016, Outlook.com, Outlook Android, Outlook iOS, iOS 9 Native Client, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Mail Android, Yahoo! Mail iOS|
If you send videos as attachments, ensure your ESP’s email attachment size is big enough to support the video. Here you can find email-sending limits for the most popular ESPs.
Finally, ensure the subject line and CTA are spruced up for your specific email campaigns. Mention the attached video in the subject line and place your CTA in the most advantageous location — the end of the video for embedded videos and the most visible place in your email for videos displayed in a different window.
Part 1. How To Embed Video in Email
Although embedded videos are rarely viable, they may work if most subscribers use compatible email service providers.
To embed an HTML5 video in an email, you can use <object> or <video> tags.
Here’s an example when using <object>:
Source: Email on Acid
Here’s an example when using <video>, where“poster=” is your thumbnail, “src=” is your video, and “a href=” is your fallback image for browsers unable to support embedded videos:
Source: Email on Acid
This is another example of an HTML5 code you can use in your email:
<video width=”300″ height=”200″ controls>
<source src=”movie.mp4″ type=”video/mp4″>
<source src=”movie.ogg” type=”video/ogg”>
But then again, embedding a video will likely require multiple adjustments so all your subscribers can get an equally pleasurable experience when viewing your email. You can move forward if you are tech-savvy and have a particular audience. Otherwise, inserting a link to the video is likely a better choice.
Part 2. How To Imitate Embedding While Only Linking to the Video
1. Create an Intriguing Thumbnail
The first thing the recipient sees after opening your email is a thumbnail, so make it count.
- Use a screenshot from your video: Informative thumbnails attract more users, especially with persuasive overlain text.
- Make your video look embedded even if it’s not: A play button on the image generates more clicks, even though some may wrongly expect the video to play directly in the email.
- Create templates for a series of emails: Tailor-made templates will increase brand awareness, making recipients recognize you faster.
Lastly, avoid clickbait thumbnails that can potentially damage your reputation.
2. Link the Thumbnail to Your Video
Once you’ve designed the thumbnail, insert it into your email and add the link to where your video is stored (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).
Voila, you’re ready to send compelling emails!
Why Are Links Better Than Embedding?
Although embedded videos provide a more natural experience, they are also disadvantageous in many regards.
- First, only a few browsers support them, whereas most users still have to contend with a static fallback image.
- Second, embedded videos are not insightful. Conversely, trackable links can bring you tons of valuable data.
- Finally, embedded videos may cause deliverability issues since spam filters block non-standard email content.
How To Make More Recipients Open Your Videos?
- Use the word ‘video’ in the subject line: Let your subscribers know what’s inside without opening the email.
- Persuade the recipients to watch the video: The ever-shortening attention span gives you only a few seconds to inform your readers about the content of the email before they switch to something else. Having the video in the subject line will likely persuade your subscribers to proceed with opening the email.
- Explain what will happen when they click the thumbnail: Recipients don’t want to be caught off-guard with Autoplay – when a video starts playing without consent – or an unexpected transition to a third-party website. Using language like ‘Click to Play’ will alleviate any tension from unsuspecting viewers.
- Avoid clickbait and SPAM triggers: As tempting as it may be to use clickbait subject lines and thumbnails, make sure to live up to your recipient’s expectations. Clickbait can increase the open rate, but CTR and conversions will plummet. Also, avoid spammy uppercase symbols like “$$$$!!!!” or “GET PAID NOW” to ensure the deliverability of your emails.
- Bet on shorter videos: No one has time to watch a 20-minute promo. Instead, strip the content down to around 30 easily digestible seconds.
Best Tool To Embed Videos in Emails
One of the oldest and most reliable email marketing solutions, EyeMail allows you to embed ultra-high-definition (UHD) automatic-playing 60+ second videos in email, webmail, and mobile platforms with 15k capacity. EyeMail can also work with all ESPs, delivering equally great experiences for all email recipients.
TailoredMail is one of the few automated tools for embedding videos in email.
Here’s how it works:
- As the recipient opens the email, the software detects what device, operating system, and ESP they are using. TailoredMail then delivers one of the 25 combinations of HTML5 video and coding formats and dynamic CSS to grant a seamless one-click-to-play video experience while keeping the recipient within your email.
The software also tracks the email subscriber’s behavior – how much of the video was viewed and how many times – allowing for performance-based improvements (for example, you can follow up with a sales email for recipients who watched the video in its entirety).
MailChimp pulls a linked-to-the-video thumbnail image from your YouTube or Vimeo video and overlays it with a play button icon that redirects subscribers to a new window.
For videos from sources other than YouTube and Vimeo, you will need to upload an image to MailChimp’s content studio first.
Biteable provides hundreds of animated templates across 15 categories, allowing users to create low-budget on-brand videos in a matter of minutes. Aside from email videos, you can create animated videos for Instagram ads, Facebook, presentations, commercials, cartoons, and more with basic editing. The unique link you get after creating a video can be used to embed the tape in your email or post it on your website or social media.
BombBomb is an excellent service for sending video emails quickly. The Quick Send function, Google Chrome extension, and iOS and Android apps allow you to shoot and send videos instantly. You can activate your web camera, record the video, and compose your email, including the subject line and message.
Likewise, you can use AWeber, Constant Contact, Keap, eLink, HubSpot, and many other email marketing solutions to insert links to videos in your email letters while pulling the thumbnail previews from where the video is hosted.
Are GIFs a Viable Alternative To Embedded Videos?
GIFs may work for short and funny messages or specific audiences.
To attach a GIF to your email letter in Gmail (steps may differ for other providers),
- Copy the link to the GIF (you cannot copy-paste the GIF, as it will only display the first frame).
- Click ‘Insert Photo->Web Address (URL)’ in your email letter.
- Paste the GIF address: ‘Paste an Image URL here ->Insert.’
Voila, your GIF image is in the body of your email letter! Now you can change its location and size.
For ESPs that don’t support GIFs, you can use this code to display a fallback image:
/* Gif to be shown on all clients */
/* Static image specifically for Outlook */
<!–[if gte mso 9]>
(Source: Campaign Monitor)
Last but not least, you can create GIFs yourself – for example, by using this guide and one of these tools – or even use a static image with a static or animated Play button put on top of it. This will entice viewers to click, giving you complete control when driving clicks and views.
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