Video has huge benefits for email marketing, it increases your click through rates (Forrester, 2010) and decreases your subscriber opt outs (Eloqua, 2010). But just how do you go about including video into your email campaigns?
Well, there are 2 main ways to do this: Embed or link. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each below as well as telling you how you can give each of these methods a go.
We won’t discuss attaching a video file to your email. We’ll just trust you not to do that 🙂
No one likes large files in emails
Linking to a Video
By far the easiest and simplest way of enhancing your emails with video is linking to it.
There is a better way to do this than a simple text link, though, if a text link fits well with your email format then there is no harm in doing it.
But to make it more likely that someone will click through to your video you should link with the image of your video as it would look were it playable.
Like this example below
You can do this by just taking a screenshot of the video player and making this a link to your video, however, some email marketing providers such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Aweber have simple ways of creating this image.
That’s it, it really is that simple because essentially all you are doing is creating an image link from your email to your video. You just have to make sure that you create a good alt tag with a call to action for the image for those people who have images blocked in their emails.
The other option is a little trickier to implement.
Embedding a Video
Having your video be able to play directly from your email has some benefits, it provides a less distracting user experience as the user doesn’t have to leave the email to travel to another site, and there is also some evidence that it is better for conversion rates.
Back in the dark ages of the internet hackers could exploit video embeds in emails to spread viruses and malware this is because previously you had to use some third party program.
As a result email clients stopped allowing people to embed video and any emails with a video embedded would be marked as spam or the code would be stripped out meaning that the email no longer contained the embedded video.
With the advent of HTML5 it is becoming possible to embed a video without a third party program, unfortunately the majority of email clients still don’t support this. So, if you want to embed video you have to make sure that you have something as an alternative for the ones that don’t support it.
In other words, when you are embedding a video you add in both the code for your embed and a back up.
Here’s The Code to Do it:
<video width=”x” height=”y” poster=”http://www.example.com/placeholder-image.jpg” controls=”controls”>
<source src=”http://www.example.com/video.mp4″ type=”video/mp4″ />
“width=”x” height=”y” /></a>
A short explanation of the code:
Poster – the placeholder image that will be displayed before the video plays.
Source – the location of the video
a href – where the fallback image links to
img src – the location of the image for the fallback image link.
But Wait, There’s More…
As you can see this method is a lot more effort, and it’s not over yet, there is some trouble viewing videos through this method if you are using hotmail/outlook.com clients, Campaign Master has a good guide for how to get past this, though it will still not be perfect.
Personally, I think just linking to the video is the best method of the two, it is much, much simpler and will work fine with all email clients.
I look forward to the future when HTML5 is more widely supported and we will be able to enjoy the benefits of embedded video in email, but we’re not there yet.