If a picture is worth a thousand words then… what’s a video worth? 

Video has been a fast-growing marketing trend for years and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, embedding video in email will help you increase open and conversion rates as well as brand awareness.


“No other marketing medium can communicate as quickly and effectively as video.”  – Neil Patel 

Nowadays, people are bombarded with tons of marketing emails – all of which closely resembling each other and lacking uniqueness. Yet, if planned and managed effectively, embedding video in email can be a powerful tool in your email marketing strategy.

This article covers the following topics on embedding video in email:

  1. Why should you embed video in emails?
  2. 4 tips on how to embed video in email
  3. Email client support for video

Ready to dive in?

What is a video worth? According to James McQuivey, a video is worth 1.8 million words. Right now you are probably scratching your head thinking “how did he get such a ludicrous figure? and I know it might seem random but the math checks out. All you have to do is consider all variables. Take a look – 

1 picture = 1,000 words
Video = 30 frames per second
1 second of video = 30,000 words
A common video length = 60 seconds

Formula: 30,000 words x 60 seconds = 1.8 million

Pro tip: The rule of thumb is to keep videos under two minutes

The Benefits Of Embedding Video In Email

Embedding video in email will make you stand out from the competition. It will give your email campaign uniqueness and the best possible opportunity to break through to your audience.

Once you master how to embed video in email, you will be able to – 

  • foster long-term loyal relationships with your subscribers/customers
  • significantly improve your email marketing KPIs
  • boost sales

Still wondering why you should embed video in email? Maybe these stats will convince you – 

  • 90% of consumers say videos (especially product videos) are vital to their purchase decision-making process
  • 60% of businesses use video as a marketing tool
  • 32% of brands use video in email to boost sales
  • 61% of marketers see video as “an essential and extremely important” part of their marketing strategy
  • 74% of marketers state video has a better ROI than static imagery
  • adding “video” to your email subject line will boost open rates by up to 19%
  • embedding video in email will increase click-through rates by over 64%
  • adding video in email will decrease unsubscribe rates by over 25%

Are you ready to take advantage of video and make it do wonders for your email campaigns?

How To Embed Video In Email

While it is possible to embed a video directly into your email with HTML5, some email clients can’t handle – and do not support – videos embedded in email. Thus, email marketers might face a bit of a challenge. However, you CAN make the most of video in email without directly adding video to your email. 

Feeling lost? Don’t worry, I have a few tips & tricks that will help you add motion (and uniqueness) to your emails in no time.

Static Images + Play Button

Adding a play button ▶️ to a static image is the fastest – and easiest – way to incorporate “video” elements into your email campaign. All you need to do is link the image to where your video is hosted so your target audience can watch it.

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

This approach is universally supported across email clients and as long as the images are not blocked, every single one of your recipients will have the same experience. If you are looking for an online tool to help you I can recommend fbutube.

Pro tip: If you want the video to play the second the play button is clicked, add “?play” at the end of the video URL.

In addition to adding a static play button to your images, you can also add an animated play button just like Harley Davidson did. Furthermore, the full circle around the play button on the first frame, ensures the image will look good on email clients that only support static images.

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

GIFs

Considering some email clients do not support embedded video in email, another easy workaround on how to embed video in email is to take advantage of the ever-popular GIFs.

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

GIFs have good support across email clients, however, it’s worth noting that Outlook 2007/10/13 and Windows 10 do not support GIFs and will only display the first frame.

If you prefer creating your own GIF instead of downloading generic ones from the internet, I recommend EZ GIF – a great online tool that also allows you to convert video to GIF for free.

Pro tip: You can add a play button to your GIF to inspire more click-throughs.

Cinemagraphs

What is a cinemagraph? It is not quite a photo. Nor is it a video. But, it has an alluring quality that dazzles the readers the second they lay eyes on it. I won’t keep you in suspense. Cinemagraphs are the magical hybrid baby of photography and video. They have a subtle motion that plays in a short, never-ending loop while the rest of the image remains static. Basically, a cinemagraph is a video without the hassle. 

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

Cinemagraphs tell a story and capture the readers’ attention immediately the way static images (even those with a play button) cannot. The best part? They are easy to create and cost less than creating a whole video (even if it’s 1-2 min. long) AND have the same result!

Pro tip: If you are not interested in mastering the art of creating cinemagraphs with animation software like Adobe After Effects or Photoshop, you can find an ocean of choices with Flixel.

A Fallback: Faux Video

Real video in email might not be supported by all email clients but that does not mean you have to give up on the idea of adding motion to your email campaigns. Cue, faux video.

Feeling perplexed? Never heard of faux video? I’m here to help.

Faux video mimics video-like movements with an interaction that makes your subscribers feel like they are playing the video in their inbox. There are various faux video tactics you can use. However, the most popular one is using CSS animation to re-create the effect of a video or GIF.

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

Simply put, a faux video displays one static image frame after another so quickly it mimics movement. The tech behind it all is combining a comic strip of static images with background image and CSS keyframes and voila – motion.

Adding a faux video to your email requires an advanced level of CSS and HTML knowledge. But, once mastered, it can help you really enhance the use of video in email.

How to use CSS to set up faux video for your email campaign?

The code below goes between the <head> and </head> tags at the top of your email.

.showvideo:hover{
  opacity: 0 !important;
  transition: 0.3s !important;
}
.showvideo { transition: 0.3s !important; }

Fax video is supported by the following email clients – 

  • Gmail & Gmail app
  • Apple Mail
  • iOS Mail for iPhone & iPad
  • Samsung Mail
  • Outlook for Mac

Email Client Support For Video

Video in email maybe a hot, entertaining and engaging trend that drives better results but… not all email clients support it. However, the email clients that do support video represent over half of the market share. 

Email apps such as Apple Mail, Samsung Email and the native iOS client will allow recipients to play video within the email client itself. Other email clients like Gmail and Android devices will display a fallback image so make sure you always have a backup plan.

To get a better idea of which email clients support video embedded in email, our dear friends at EmailOnAcid made a list – 

How To Embed Video In Email: A Quick Guide | EmailOut.com

Pro tip: When embedding video in email, always, always have a fallback option that will show on unsupported email clients.

Final Thoughts

If you are a technical genius comfortable with CSS and HTML, embedding video in email will be a child’s play for you. But before you rush into coding, consider that most email clients do not support the option to play video directly in the inbox.

Not so savvy with coding? Well, it’s a good thing you just wrapped up an article that gives you a few workarounds on how to embed video in email.

Whether you decide to bust out some code, use static images with a play button, GIFs or cinemagraphs, adding motion to your email campaign(s) will add a WoW factor to your emails, boost your open, engagement and conversion rates, decrease unsubscribe rates and increase brand awareness.

Are you ready to start experimenting with video in email?

Highly recommended further reading – 

1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
2) 27 Awesome Subject Line Ideas
3) 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails
4) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)

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