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Definitive Guide: Video in Email Marketing

Some things were just made to go together – peanut butter and jelly, action movies and popcorn, video and email marketing…well, maybe not! 

On the surface, video and email should work well together, but there are a lot of technical challenges that get in the way.

In this definitive guide, we’re going to overcome those challenges together as we take a look at everything you need to know about video in email marketing. 

We’re going to cover the reasons why you should use video and email together, some outstanding use cases, the benefits, and, perhaps most importantly, exactly HOW you can successfully merge your video and email marketing efforts.

Why use video in your email marketing?

Email marketing has been around for over 40 years – and a lot has happened in the digital marketing world in that time. But email continues to go strong. According to Statista, the current number of email users worldwide stands at a steady 4 billion, and that is set to increase to around 4.5 billion by 2024.

Video is also a powerful marketing tool because it’s popular. According to a recent Wyzowl study, 86% of people would like to see more video from brands in 2020

With inboxes becoming more crowded, and people wanting to see more video from brands, pairing video with your email marketing could help you stand out from the crowd and increase your open and click-through rates. 

5 Use cases of video in email

So we know that video and email should be a match made in heaven. But what kind of videos work well in email? 

Here are some examples…

1. Teasers

One of the best ways to increase your click-through rate (CTR) is to whet your recipients’ appetites with a great video that will leave them wanting to find out more about whatever it is you’re promoting.

Take a look at this example:

This email from Ubisoft gets fans excited for the upcoming release of Ghost Recon Breakpoint by including a live action teaser trailer for the game.

2. Announcements

If you have an important announcement to make, then sending an announcement video out to your email list could be a great way to gain more traction. 

Here’s an example from Earth Day Network:

The introductory text along with a powerful thumbnail showing a little girl with her fist raised really entices people to want to find out more. 

To date, the video has around 4,000 views on Youtube. 

3. Learning series

Including a video in your email doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. If you have a lot to say to your customers, then why not create a series of videos to get your message across in snappy, engaging bites?

Platforma 2 has done exactly that: 

Depending on your skill level, website wireframes can be difficult to get your head around. But this learning series does a great job of taking customers, step-by-step, through everything they need to know.

4. Product demos

Email is a great way to spread the word about new products, but text isn’t the best way to show customers the benefits of these new products. 

A video, like this one by Project.co, will get the message across a lot quicker and easier:

According to one of our recent surveys, when asked how they’d most like to learn about a product or service, two-thirds of people said they’d prefer to watch a short video

5. Onboarding

When you get a new customer, after sending your ‘Welcome’ email what else do you do to encourage people to use your product or service?

An onboarding video could be a great way to elevate that warm welcome and give new customers all of the tools they need to get the most out of what your company has to offer. 

This onboarding tutorial from Shopify is a great example. It tells users how long the video is and also what they’ll learn by watching.

5 Benefits of using video in email marketing

Aside from the many use cases of video in email, there are also some great benefits to be had. Let’s take a look at some… 

1. Videos are more eye-catching and memorable

It’s safe to say that most emails look the same. The format is usually: a header image, some body copy, maybe an image or two to break up the text, and a call-to-action. 

By breaking that mould and including a video in your emails, you can stand out to your customers. 

Videos are engaging, eye-catching, and memorable! According to our Power of Visual Communication infographic, people only remember 20% of what they read, but 80% of what they see and do! 

2. Videos boost SEO

According to SEMrush, two of the most important ranking factors when it comes to search engine optimisation are time on page and bounce rate.

And video can improve both of those factors! According to Insivia, people spend 2.6x longer on pages that have video on them – which directly improves time on page and decreases bounce rates. 

So…what’s all of this got to do with email?

Well, emails are a great way to get people to your site, watching your videos. A Hubspot study found that adding videos to your emails can increase click-through rates by up to 300%!

3. People enjoy watching videos

Give the people what they want! People watch an average of 16 hours of online video content every week, and they are also twice as likely to share video content with friends than any other type of content. 

These benefits are huge and can have a great impact on the power of your email marketing campaigns! 

4. You can get your message across (quicker and easier)

Not only do people enjoy watching videos, but they actually work to get messages across quicker and easier. 

Think about it: does it take longer to read a 150 word email or watch a 60 second video?

There’s some science behind it, too. Visuals are processed by the brain an incredible 60,000x faster than text. 

5. Increase open rates

Did you know that just using the word ‘video’ in the subject line of your emails can increase open rates?

It’s true! As stated above, people actually enjoy watching videos and seek them out on a daily basis. So if you can include the word ‘video’ in your subject line, you have a greater chance of piquing the interest of your customers and encouraging them to click. 

How to use video in email marketing

Now that we know the various use cases and benefits of using video in your email marketing, let’s take a look at exactly HOW you can do that…

1. Static image with play button

This is arguably the easiest and most common method. Everyone is pretty familiar with thumbnail images that have play buttons overlaid. It’s the universal symbol for: This is a video! 

There’s no magic way to do this. You simply include the thumbnail as you would any image in your email – and link to your video landing page. 

Users who open your email and click on the thumbnail will be taken to a third-party site to watch the content. Minimal fuss – maximum impact! 

2. Animated GIF

Who doesn’t love GIFs? 

Including an animated GIF that represents your video is a great ‘middle ground’ between a thumbnail image and going the whole hog and embedding your video into your email.

Animated GIFs, like this one, are a great way to capture your recipients’ attention with a bit of movement. And GIFs are widely supported by most email clients (whereas video embeds are not – more on that below!)

To create a GIF, all you need to do is head to Giphy’s GIF maker and upload your video. You’ll then be able to trim it down into a GIF and add any captions or stickers that you wish. 

After doing this, you can add your GIF to your email in the same way that you would any other image – simple! 

3. Embed

You would think that simply embedding your videos into your emails would be the most effective way to combine the two marketing strategies. And, in a way, you’d be correct. 

However, embedding videos directly into emails comes with challenges. For starters, not all email clients will support playback. As of 2019, video compatibility within email platforms was as follows: 

  • Apple Mail: Plays video within email
  • Outlook for Mac: Plays video within email
  • Samsung Galaxy (mail app): Plays video within email
  • iOS 10+ (mail app): Plays video within email
  • Gmail on desktop, Android, and iOS devices: Shows a fallback image
  • Outlook 2016 and earlier: Shows a fallback image
  • All Android devices besides the Samsung Galaxy: Shows a fallback image

With big names – like Gmail and Outlook – only offering fallback images, it makes sense to just include a clickable thumbnail in your emails. 

If you’re really set on embedding videos into your emails then take a look at this article that includes two methods (and some bonus tips!). 

7 Top tips

Here are some top tips that you can use to really elevate your video in email marketing game! 

1. Use ‘video’ in your subject line

Let people know before they open your emails that you have a video to show them. As stated above, using the word video in your subject lines can really get people excited and increase your open rates. 

2. Pick a great thumbnail

It’s not enough to include videos in your emails, you need people to watch them. And the only way they’re going to do that is if you choose an amazing thumbnail that sparks their interest. 

Don’t just choose a random still from your video. Select an image that will appeal to viewers. You could even add text, like the image above. 

3. Use personalisation 

Personalised videos will take your email marketing to the next level. According to Econsultancy, 74% of marketers agree that targeted personalisation increases customer engagement. 

There are several different use cases for personalised videos in emails, such as a car insurance quote, birthday offers, or item replenishment offers. 

4. Always include a CTA

This goes for all marketing – both video and email, separate or together. A call-to-action will tell your potential customers what you want them to do next – giving your marketing efforts a clear goal.

5. Say no to autoplay

You probably know from personal experience that autoplay is frustrating. Let your email recipients check out your video in their own time – say no to autoplay! 

6. Reduce the number of ‘taps to play’

While it’s important to say no to autoplay, you also want to make sure that you’re not making it too difficult for viewers to watch your videos. 

For example, if you include a thumbnail in your email with a play button overlay, users will click this to play the video. But, if this click doesn’t actually trigger the playing of the video and users need to click play again when the video tab is open, this could cause frustration. Try to aim for a single tap instead of a double tap.

7. Test and improve

Despite all of the tips and tricks we’ve given you in this article, different techniques work better for different audiences. 

Be sure to continuously test and improve your marketing efforts to ensure that you’re always getting the best possible results that you can. 

Final Thoughts

Video and email definitely have the potential to go together like peanut butter and jelly or action movies and popcorn. In fact, they have the potential to go together even better than those things! It just takes a little bit of effort, a little bit of know-how, and a lot of perseverance. 
For more video marketing tips, visit our blog.