Video 'killed the radio star'. But it also did so much more than that!
Video is everywhere, and loved by marketers and consumers alike. Marketers love video because it's highly engaging; and consumers love it because it allows them to consume information quickly.
Another medium that both marketers and consumers love, is email. Email, despite being around since the 1970s, is still one of the most used features - on mobile devices and otherwise. Email also remains one of the biggest drivers of ROI for marketers.
So why not combine the two?
Video emails have the potential to be as great as they sound. In fact, studies have found that videos with email offer a return 280% higher than traditional email!
So, now you know why you should use videos in your emails. I guess the only question left is: How?
Let's find out...
Originally, when marketers first thought of using video in email, a third party plug in was required to make playback possible.
But there was a problem.
Plug ins flag up as dangerous to email providers because of their high security risk (viruses and malicious code have the ability to sneak in alongside them). Because of this, videos with email used to go straight to the spam folder. Once again, email marketers were defeated by their most dreaded foe:
More recently, HTML5 was thrown into the mix. This meant that users could use the HTML <video> tag to embed videos directly into their emails -- without the use of a risky third party plug in.
The problem with HTML5 is that it isn't accepted by every email provider. However, to rectify this, you can designate a list of media that can be displayed in place of the video, and let the provider choose the best supported format to display. For example, if HTML5 is not supported, the email provider can choose to display a still image with a play hyperlink over it instead.
However, due to some extensive research by EmailOnAcid, it seems that the majority of email providers will not support HTML5, and so will always play your fallback option. Here is just a snippet of their results:
To see the full results page, click here.
So, how do you use video in your email whilst still maximizing your deliverability rate?
The simplest way to include videos in your email campaign is to include a static image (preferably with an engaging frame from the video) with a play button over the top. This ensures that you have no trouble with email providers, and therefore no problems with deliverability.
You can even swap out the static image for an animated GIF thumbnail. This visual cue will further encourage people to click the play button to be redirected to your site to watch the full video, and even consume some more of your content.
Not only does this method maximize your deliverability rate, it also increases the interactivity of your video. Think about it, if you watch a video embedded within an email, what's your next step? Deleting the email? Possibly archiving it?
However, if your video has a more permanent source then people can revisit it and share it with their friends -- increasing the impact of the video. According to Wistia, who prefer to host videos on their site rather than embed them in emails, two thirds of people who watch a video on their site even go on to browse another page.
An important word of advice...
If you do chose to include an image and play button within your emails rather than embedding a video, then you need to make sure that when users click that play button your video will autoplay. Getting click-throughs within emails is hard enough. If you ask viewers to click one play button to be directed to your site, and then another button to play the actual video, you will be reducing your chances of people watching your video. Autoplay is a must when using video in email.
Videos are a great way to engage your customers, and emails are a great way to reach them. Now that you know how to combine the two, you can create amazing email campaigns and gain even more customers.
However, it's always important to remember to include a call-to-action within your video and your emails. You always need to encourage your customers to take the next step, whatever that may be.