Video in Email Marketing

It can’t have escaped your notice that the use of video in email marketing campaigns is on the rise; according to a new report co-sponsored by ReelSEO, The Web Video Marketing Council and Flimp Media, 93% of marketing professionals now use video technology in their campaigns. While video has gradually become more popular as a medium for online marketing campaigns, using video in email marketing campaigns has long been questioned. Testing of content has proven that motion within marketing messages can increase engagement and conversion rates, and what better way to do that than through the use of video? We hope to change your mind on the use of video, or at least offer up some alternatives.

Why Marketers Believe Video in Email Marketing Won’t Work

3rd Party Plug-ins

Email clients are built to help protect their users’ computers against viruses that can sneak in through the use of plug-ins. As a result, most email clients block content that requires the use of plug-ins, including video. Worse, most would re-route that email to the junk mailbox, if it made it past the spam filter at all, so your marketing messages would never see the inside of its recipients inbox. Those that did manage to get delivered would often have little to no support for video, meaning that your customers’ experience was often disappointing or frustrating.

File Size

Just two seconds worth of good quality video will create a file size of around 10MB. For an email that is rather large, and could cause problems when downloading. Quicker download speeds are dependent on smaller file sizes, but video just can’t be compressed enough without dramatic loss in quality. No customer, however loyal, is going to wait minutes at a time to download a single marketing email, especially when images that link to video works just as well.

Lack of Video Support

With so many different devices and operating systems, not to mention email clients, available to your customers, creating content that’s deliverable to all of them can be a logistical nightmare. Which client can support which file types, including video, and which will be left with a hole in the email where something that should be displayed isn’t supported? Video files, for a long time, weren’t (and still aren’t) supported in a large number of email clients, neither could you guarantee what experience your customer would receive.

Why Video in Email Marketing Can Work

While all of the arguments above are compelling, there is actually a way around all of them. HTML5 is the latest programming language in use by the Internet, and is supported by around 62% of email clients. Better yet, it allows you to incorporate video through the simple use of a <video> tag, so you can incorporate deliverable video content in your emails without the need for a 3rd party plug-in. HTML5 also allows marketers to specify what media is displayed to a customer should the video tag fail. This gives the email client the opportunity to decide whether it can support the video, or offer up a failsafe alternative as specified by you. A failsafe could be something simple like a static image linking to the video on a remote host, or an animated GIF to still provide motion within the email. For those clients that allow the use of the video tag, a shockingly large number across a variety of different platforms, file size can be controlled by remote hosting the video and creating a progressive download. Users can begin watching the video before the entire file has been downloaded by their computer or mobile 3G+ device, creating a smooth playback experience. By removing the need for plug-ins and video support, you can guarantee that a significant number of your customers will be able to playback the video you choose to incorporate into your newsletters, without requiring a five minute download time beforehand.

Alternatives to Video

Before you go rushing off to grab the camera, it’s worth noting that good quality video campaigns are expensive to produce, and that cost isn’t going to be delivered to every customer you have, just around 62% of them. Delivering poorer quality video should be avoided, it could have a negative impact on your brand’s perception, so being cautious and doing your research would be wise. In the meantime, why not consider some alternatives to jumping in to video with both feet? Animated GIFs are a great way to incorporate motion into your email marketing campaigns, without the need for support, large file sizes or 3rd party plug-ins. Essentially a series of static images that automatically replace each other, one after the other, to create motion, they are easy to create and quick to load. As they are formed of up to 256 colours in the RGB scale only, they have incredibly small file sizes making them incredibly deliverable. A quick glance at Tumblr will show you a variety of different uses for animated GIFs that marketers are only just beginning to utilise in their campaigns, and on a significantly smaller budget than video, giving you no excuse not to incorporate motion into your email campaigns.

Video in Email Marketing